WWE Hires Mauro Ranallo to be Voice of Smackdown

Mauro Ranallo
According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, WWE will announce on Monday that it has hired Mauro Ranallo to be the play-by-play voice of Smackdown once the show moves to USA Network in January.

Ranallo currently is the lead broadcaster for Showtime’s boxing coverage as well as handling play-by-play for the US broadcasts of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. He has also called Pride, Elite XC and Strikeforce MMA action.

Ranallo told SI in an interview that Michael Cole reached out to him by email only a month ago to gauge his interest in an announcing role with WWE. Ranallo will maintain his role as Showtime’s boxing voice as well as doing some work with GLORY kickboxing, and will also be available for Raw and pay-per-views for WWE.

This is a pretty significant grab for WWE and a good sign that the company is at least looking to shake some things up when Smackdown moves to the USA Network.

(Image via MauroRanallo.com)

Why Should We Care About the Wyatt Family vs. Brothers of Destruction Feud Anymore?

Monday night’s episode of Raw was noteworthy for several reasons. It was the company’s first show since Seth Rollins tore his entire knee up last week working a match with Kane on WWE’s live tour of England. It was also the first night of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament, which will see 16 men whittled down to a new champion at Survivor Series. Alas, it was also noteworthy because we saw the reemergence of Kane and the Undertaker after Bray Wyatt and his minions had supposedly eaten their souls and stolen their cartoon powers.

The Manchester crowd certainly popped for the Brothers of Destruction, who proceeded to clean house of all four members of the Wyatt Family, leaving Bray laid out in the middle of the ring, and leaving to a thunderous ovation, arms raised in victory.

If I didn’t know better, I would think the feud was over.

Why do we need to see these two factions battle again? Clearly four men are no match for Undertaker and Kane, or at least that’s how WWE booked it Monday night. With only one Raw left until Survivor Series and heavy promotion of Undertaker’s 25th anniversary at the event taking place, he clearly has a place on the card and it obviously has to be pairing with his “brother” Kane to take on the Wyatt Family, but what are the stakes?

WWE could add two men to the mix and make it a four-on-four traditional Survivor Series elimination match but that doesn’t really make sense at this point. For one, the story has gone on for several weeks without anyone coming to the add of Taker and Kane. Also, why do they need help when they can easily dispatch of the Wyatt Family, as evidenced last night?

While the four-on-two will be fun, it could have been so much better, and how now become just a match as opposed to Taker and Kane seeking their ultimate revenge.

WWE Confirms Seth Rollins Is Out 6-9 Months with Injury, New Champion Will Be Crowned at Survivor Series

Video emerged last night of Seth Rollins injuring his knee during a match with Kane in Dublin, Ireland. After some speculation, Jonathan Coachman of ESPN broke the news and WWE confirmed that Rollins tore his right ACL, MCL and medial meniscus. The company has also announced that a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion will be determined via a tournament at Survivor Series.

Obviously this is a huge blow to the WWE, losing its champion ahead of one of its four marquee pay-per-view events and during a time when the roster is light on main event-caliber stars. It was recently confirmed that Randy Orton would be out for a long period of time with another shoulder injury and John Cena is currently taking time off to film a reality show. Roman Reigns was the clear eventual champion and I would be shocked if he doesn’t walk out of Survivor Series with the belt, but if there is a silver lining to Rollins’ injury, it’s that we could see some new stars created and/or elevated through this tournament.

Predicting the Survivor Series Card

ssreigns rollins
With less than three weeks to go until the 29th annual Survivor Series pay-per-view, the official card is beginning to slowly take shape. Roman Reigns will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on November 22nd after the Authority announced as much on Monday’s episode of Raw. The show also gave us a women’s fatal fourway to determine the number one contender to Charlotte’s Divas Championship, which was conveniently won by Paige since she turned heel on Charlotte last week.

Those are the only two confirmed matches so far but last night’s Raw gave us an indication for how the rest of the card will most likely play out.

Obviously something is going to happen with the Wyatt Family v. Undertaker and Kane. Since Bray and Company took out Taker following his match with Brock Lesnar at Hell in a Cell, it’s been a foregone conclusion that we would get the payoff in the form of a traditional Survivor Series elimination match between the two factions, with Taker and Kane recruiting help. With less than 20 days to go and no mention of partners for the Brothers of Destruction, it seems like we might be getting a 4-on-2 handicap match instead. That result probably makes the most sense since the other people who have crossed paths with the Wyatt Family recently – Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton – are either tied up in something else or injured.

Speaking of Ambrose, a program with Kevin Owens seems like the next step in the timeline of the Lunatic Fringe. The Intercontinental Champion was eliminated by Ambrose during last night’s 5-on-5 elimination tag team match on Raw and a back-and-forth with Owens is a great hurdle for Ambrose to jump over while he waits for his inevitable program with the winner of the Reigns-Rollins feud.

The Usos made their return in the aforementioned 5-on-5 elimination match, joining forces with their cousin Roman Reigns. With the Dudleys getting plenty of unsuccessful chances at the Tag Team Titles, it would make sense to slide the Usos into the challengers’ position with the New Day.

Tyler Breeze and Dolph Ziggler had some more interaction on Raw, with Breeze “costing” Ziggler the match by standing with his back to the ring which prompted Ziggler to swipe at him for some reason, which was enough of a distraction for Kevin Owens to hit a pop-up powerbomb and defeat the Show Off. Breeze then laid Ziggler out with the Beauty Shot and we’re headed for a showdown of main roster blondes.

We still don’t have a clear direction for the United States Championship but it would seem preposterous to not have the recently-returned (and already losing steam quickly) Alberto Del Rio on the card.

Also with nothing on the show so far: Cesaro, Stardust and the Ascension, Ryback, the Dudley Boyz, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, the Lucha Dragons, and Neville. A thrown-together traditional Survivor Series elimination match consisting of ten of the above wrestlers would make a lot of sense. As friend of the site Nick Gator pointed out, a Cesaro, Lucha Dragons, Ryback and Neville v. Stardust, the Ascension, Sheamus and Wade Barrett match would be really fun.

We’ll probably know a whole lot more after tonight’s Smackdown tapings but if the card shapes up as I expect it to, it should be a really fun Survivor Series.

SummerSlam Will Return to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2016 and 2017

WWE has announced that SummerSlam will return to Barclays Center for 2016 and 2017. There will also be an NXT show on Saturday and a Raw episode on Monday from Barclays Center in ’16 and ’17, just like this year.

This year’s SummerSlam weekend was a huge success for WWE and rolling NXT and Raw into the package and holding them in the same arena gave it more of a “WrestleMania” feel, which is befitting to the company’s second-biggest show of the year. This announcement also lends some more credibility to the rumors that NXT special events will be paired with WWE’s big pay-per-view moving forward.

John Cena v. Seth Rollins at WWE MSG House Show is Now a Steel Cage Match

WWE has updated the card for its October 3rd Madison Square Garden house show that will be broadcast on the WWE Network. The originally scheduled John Cena v. Seth Rollins WWE World Heavyweight Championship match will now take place inside a steel cage.

Here is the whole card, as it currently stands:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
John Cena v. Seth Rollins

Brock Lesnar v. Big Show

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The Dudley Boyz v. New Day

Kevin Owens v. Chris Jericho

Randy Orton v. Sheamus

Dolph Ziggler v. Rusev

Video: Paige Ruins Charlotte’s Celebration, Cuts AJ Lee-esque Promo on Raw

During the celebration for Charlotte’s Divas Championship win on last night episode of Raw, Paige had enough of the theatrics and seemingly turned heel on her PCB-mates. Whether or not you considered it a “pipebomb” promo, it certainly had shades of AJ Lee’s anti-diva rant in it.

My one nitpick with how this all went down was Charlotte’s overreactions while Paige was talking, distracting from the promo. I know in real life that’s how it would go down but in the land of kayfabe the rule is generally to take turns doing the talking.

Either way, it’s nice to see this side of Paige. She plays the brat character so well and hopefully – once Charlotte is done with Nikki Bella – we quickly move into a Paige v. Charlotte program and the excellent matches that will follow.