NXT announcer Mauro Ranallo appeared on WWE's The Bump livestream to talk about his broadcast career, his experience in NXT, and what he is looking forward to at NXT Takeover tonight. Ranallo also talked about Charlotte Flair and revealed a secret technique of interest to aspiring broadcasters.
The show showed clips of Ranallo's most excited moments, screaming like a maniac while calling various NXT matches, prompting him to say, "I'm tired watching that again." Regarding his enthusiasm, Ranallo said, "I think, like many of us who are in front of the camera, whether it be acting, comedians, announcers, anyone, I'm not a big fan of watching myself again. Actually, I watch it once to pick up all of the mistakes that I made, which can be many. But in terms of watching something like that, I'm actually kinda proud because I think it kinda inspired other sports and other people to do the same thing and give the announcers a little extra rub as it were. You can criticize me for many things, but my authenticity, the passion I have, especially for NXT, cannot be questioned. I try to temper myself, but guys, I'm a fan first and foremost and when you see what's in front of us, the risks that NXT Superstars take, I better react appropriately. Like I say, it's 100% real."
Ranallo also discussed his pop culture references, saying, "I tend to compartmentalize because I have the great pleasure of not only calling NXT events but Bellator MMA, Showtime Championship Boxing, and so I try to compartmentalize and yes, I'm a pop culture junkie. Throughout my career I've always tried to enhance and add a little different flavor, especially for people who may be casual fans. just the repetition and calling thousands of matches of fights, we say the same thing over and over again, which, again, for some works, but for me, I always try to paint a different picture. A lot of it is preparation, but I'll tell you, I think some of my most memorable calls have been in the moment. But there is definitely preparation. Comedians make notes. When I'm watching certain programs, listening to music, I think I wanna pay tribute not only to them but to many of our superstars. Many of them are pop culture junkies like myself and yes, Tegan Nox, I know you're Captain Marvel and not Captain America like a certain announcer may have mistakenly said a few weeks ago. And hey, I'm not even on social media anymore and I heard about it."
As for what Ranallo is looking forward to at the first NXT Takeover In Your House event tonight, he said, "As of right now, I think the women's division, there are so many potential breakout stars. I think Damian Priest, who is facing Finn Balor in the biggest match of his career tonight at Takeover has a chance to break out. I know this is maybe sitting on the fence and a political answer, but honestly, for NXT, it's all about the breakout, all about trying to prove yourself. We've seen the rise of underdogs like Johnny Gargano and even Tomasso Ciampa and see what they were able to do, the magic. Adam Cole, now the longest-reigning NXT Champion has really continued to hold his skills through his year-plus reign. I love Shotzi Blackheart. I love the fact that we're beginning to see a different side even to Candice LaRea who by any stretch of the imagination is not a rookie. She's a veteran of the ring wars, but I think this is an opportunity for her to now also plant her flag. I look up and down the roster to people who are now in the performance center and I don't know if there's ever been the depth of talent that NXT hs now and that's saying something when you see the pipeline of talent that has gone on to Raw and Smackdown."
Asked about his favorite moment as a pro wrestling broadcaster, Mauro Ranallo looked to the present. "Wow. NXT Takeover New Orleans, right up there," he said. "I really believe it may have been the last one but due to the crowd. I know it's something we miss, but the NXT Takeover crowd in Portland was as electric as, you know, bringing back the In Your House theme for this show tonight on the twenty-fifth anniversary and for me, being Canadian, yes I'm biased, but In Your House: Canadian Stampede in 1997, already getting goosebumps. I worked for the legendary Hart Family in Calgary and that crowd, in Cowtown, especially for the Hart Foundation vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and LOD, I don't know if I've ever been a part of a crowd like that. So, Takeover, definitely the crowd is always a main character and I'm just happy to be a part of the first In Your House Takeover tonight where I may just be a sofa spud when it comes to producing the event."
"Charlotte Flair, one of the most decorated, actually the most decorated Women's Champion in WWE history" Ranallo continued. "She has been ubiquitous, she's been omnipresent already on Raw and Smackdown and now on NXT, becoming, next to Shayna Baszler, the only two-time NXT Women's Champion. She won the championship in the finals of the tournament against Natalya on the first NXT Takeover event, and I think with her star power she is elevating what I consider to be the deepest division in all of professional wrestling. Already we've seen her tear it up with Rhea Ripley which for my money was the match of WrestleMania weekend, the first time an NXT title was defended on the show of shows. Her matches with Mia Yim and Io Shirai. I found it interesting that Charlotte Flair had to resort to getting herself disqualified using the kendo stick against Io Shirai which tells me Charlotte Flair knows this isn't the first NXT Women's Division which really signaled the evolution of women's wrestling in WWE. Remember, Charlotte, when she went to Raw, was the last Diva's Champion and the Inaugural Women's Champion, so we have seen the rise of the female talent and Charlotte Flair becoming a two-time NXT Women's Champion just brings the spotlight to the entire division."
"I really am looking forward to Finn Balor and Damian Priest and just an opportunity here for Damian Preist to really cut through," Ranallo added later. "Up and down the card I can pick any of these matches. I think we're all expecting the best out of each and every competitor. But I'm really interested in seeing how Finn Balor and Damian Priest mesh in terms of their clash of styles. And of course, Finn Balor really incensed that Damian Priest not only attacked him prior to his match with Velveteen Dream but he cost Finn Balor a match against Cameron Grimes. I know Damian Priest is the Archer of Infamy and he has the nightstick, but I think we should be calling the nightstick the Arrow of Annihilation in keeping with the Archer of Infamy."
Looking back on his career, Ranallo expressed gratitude to the people he's worked with and praised the staff and wrestling NXT as the best in the company. "I've been fortunate to call some of the biggest events across combat sports throughout my career," he said. "While it was a lifelong dream to make it to WWE, and like I've said many times, the fact that I was hired in my mid-forties I know goes against the grain. I want to thank Michael Cole and Triple H and of course Mr. McMahon for allowing me the opportunity. And while I had an incredible time calling Smackdown, including that incredible match between John Cena and AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble, NXT is in my wheelhouse. It's the hungry competition, the ultimate proving ground as it were, and it has featured some of the best wrestling on the planet. So for me to be part of the broadcast team, it has reinvigorated my love for this industry. I have to thank every single talent that puts their health on the line. I have to thank everyone at the Performance Center. You look at the coaching staff. Incredible names like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Terry Taylor, William Regal, I could go on and on. People who continue to teach me about things about this industry. NXT has been by far the most fun I've had calling professional wrestling. I do have to give a shoutout to my New Japan Pro Wrestling days which of couse I think put me on WWE's radar. But yeah, NXT has been a blessing and I'm so grateful to be calling, as far as I'm concerned, the best action in WWE.
And Mauro Ranallo had a tip for anyone looking to get into the broadcast game. "I want to give aspiring broadcasters a tip if I may," he revealed. "Since I was five years old, I've always read out loud. It's bugged people, it's driven people crazy, but I always read out loud. I truly believe that's helped with my enunciation but it's helped with remembering things, so, if I can give any advice to up and coming broadcasters: read out loud. I think it's a great exercise."