WWE has hired former Strikeforce MMA and PRIDE FC announcer Mauro Ranallo to be the new lead announcer of SmackDown once the series moves to The USA Network next month.
Ranallo commented about the new opportunity with Sports Illustrated.
“This was an opportunity I did not think I would get at this point of my career and I jumped on it,” Ranallo said. “I have been a lifelong fan of the product. Michael said that when Vince saw the Warren Buffett video, it seemed to cinch it. They believed I could sell the entertainment part.”
Ranallo has recently been calling the action for New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV and he is a lifelong wrestling fan. A little known fact is that he covered All-Star Wrestling in Vancouver, Canada in the mid-1980s when he was just 16 years old.
Ranallo’s hiring is one of the planned changes to the show when it moves to USA. The goal is to get ratings up for USA and attract more big advertisers to WWE.
WWE issued the following:
MAURO RANALLO JOINS WWE® AS THE NEW VOICE OF SMACKDOWN®
STAMFORD, Conn., December 14, 2015 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced that veteran announcer Mauro Ranallo will be the new voice of SmackDown beginning Thursday, January 7 when the show moves to its new home on USA Network at 8 pm ET. Ranallo brings nearly 30 years of broadcasting experience, and is currently the play-by-play announcer for Championship Boxing on Showtime and former lead announcer for the Strikeforce MMA promotion.
Earlier this year, Ranallo called the international feed for the historic Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. Ranallo is the only sports broadcaster to call every major combat sport on national television, including boxing, kickboxing and MMA, as well as helping to launch New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.
“Joining WWE has always been a lifelong dream of mine,” said Ranallo. “I am thrilled to add my voice to the SmackDown broadcasts as the show moves to its new home on USA Network.”
With more than 800 original episodes, SmackDown is the second longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. television history, only behind Monday Night Raw®. Over the past 15 years, SmackDown has been broadcast from 170 different venues, in 148 cities, in seven different countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Iraq, Japan, Italy and Mexico. Now the exclusive cable home to WWE’s flagship programs, USA Network will air SmackDown every Thursday night beginning January 7. USA also airs Monday Night Raw live 52 weeks a year.
Prior to joining Showtime, Ranallo was the voice of the Pride Fighting Championships, and spent six years in Toronto where he hosted Canada’s first TV show dedicated to MMA while also hosting a daily combat sports radio show.
Ranallo lives in Los Angeles where he is a social advocate for mental health, an avid hiker and voice artist for commercials, books and film.