When Mauro Ranallo was five years old and living in Canada, he dreamed of being an announcer for WWE. More than 30 years later, on Jan. 7 when the WWE's 'Smackdown' series moves to its new home on the USA Network, his dream will become a reality.
The WWE announced that it had hired Ranallo, who is currently the blow-by-blow man on Showtime's boxing broadcasts, as its new voice of Smackdown. Smackdown is the second longest-running weekly eposodic program in U.S. television history, behind only the WWE's 'Monday Night Raw.'
Ranallo will remain the blow-by-blow man for Showtime's boxing series.
"I have a very supportive family at Showtime and t's unbelievable that WWE is allowing me to continue to call Showtime Championshp Boxing as well as all of my other combat sports duties as it pertains to kickboxing and MMA," Ranallo told Yahoo Sports. "The boyhood dream has come true for me. The fact that I get to do all of my passions in one calendar year, I can't believe it yet."
Michael Cole, the WWE's vice president of on-air talent, reached out to Ranallo, who couldn't believe his fortune. He's been a wrestling fan as long as he can remember.
His enthusiastic style has been often criticized by boxing and mixed martial arts fans who felt he may have been over the top.
"People have called me a pro wrestling announcer and I think at times they weren't intending to be compimentary in calling me that," he said. "But I'd always thank them for that because at the end of the day, I am a pro wrestling announcer in terms of my passion and enthusiasm and telling stories. I love to paint word pictures with the incredible warriors who step into the ring or the cage with boxing, kick boxing and even the New Japan [wrestling show] with Josh Barnett I did. ... Everyone knows my quirky sense of humor, my shtick, and I can be a ham as a performer. WWE said they want me to be who I am with a little tweaking."
Ranallo grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, watching the NWA and was enamored of stars such as Gene Kiniski, Don Leo Jonathan, The Funk brothers, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Rick Martell. Later, he became the voice of Stampede Wrestling, led by the Hart family. He worked with the late Bad News Allen, who was known in the WWE as Bad News Brown, on that gig.
He said he can't believe his good fortune to have landed the WWE gig.
"Pro wrestling was my first love and my first entry into broadcasting," Ranallo said. "And here I am, about to turn 46 with nearly 30 years as a broadcaster and it's come full circle."