Watch All Of Mauro Ranallo’s Best Reactions From NXT TakeOver: New Orleans


Mauro Ranallo has really found his groove since becoming the play-by-play man on NXT. After arriving in WWE from the world of boxing more than two years ago, Mauro first did commentary on Smackdown before abruptly leaving last year amid rumors he was being bullied (which Ranallo denies). Since returning on NXT, he’s seemed much more at ease with his place in WWE.

His announcing style, which is an extremely high energy mix of pop culture references and hyperbole, remains controversial with some fans. Personally, I love his style, and in fact he’s probably my favorite play-by-play announcer in WWE. I get how what he does is not for everybody, but there’s an element of camp to his announcing that works for me every time. Fashion writer Simon Doonan once described the camp sensibility as “doing a thing as if you are doing it,” which is absolutely how Ranallo comes at announcing.

Diving into a swimming pool? Throw your arms heavenward and give it the full Greg Louganis/Esther Williams treatment. When you dive into a pool as if you are diving into a pool, as opposed to executing an earnest quotidian plop, the result is magical: That pool is transformed from a grody Band-Aid-strewn chlorine bath into a veritable LAGOON!

My as if theory applies to all actions, great and small. When a camp person enters a room or eats an apple or reads Hello! magazine, the camper performs the action as if he/she is entering a room/eating an apple/reading a copy of Hello! magazine. While the noncamp person always comports her-/himself apologetically and anonymously and sincerely (as Kate Winslet does in the new Mildred Pierce), a camp person, in sharp contrast, purposefully and glamorously and knowingly plays the part (a la Joan Crawford). The results may be less subtle, but the resulting emotions, no matter how drenched in artifice and sentimentality, are always more memorable, emphatic, and communicative.

Mauro Ranallo doesn’t just call matches. He plays the role of a pro wrestling announcer calling matches, and he plays it masterfully. It’s not easy to take him seriously, but wrestling announcers don’t need to seem serious — this is fundamentally a silly enterprise at heart. I understand, of course, that this outlook doesn’t work for all fans, and neither does Ranallo’s over-the-top style. And to those of you who don’t like what Ranallo does, I say don’t watch this video.

WWE has edited together this video of Mauro Ranallo at the announce table during NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. While you can see Percy Watson and sometimes Nigel McGuinness, only Mauro’s audio is included, so basically this is a five minute video of a 48-year-old man repeatedly flipping the hell out. His physical movements are sometimes as big as his vocal reactions, leading to the conclusion that he must be as exhausted as most of the wrestlers at the end of the night. It also leaves you with the impression that Mauro Ranallo really enjoys his job, which makes me for one very happy that he’s found his niche at WWE.