Adnan Virk, the new lead announcer of Monday Night Raw has discussed his new role and why he won’t be too upset if he ‘gets these hands’ from Braun Strowman.
Virk has taken over from Tom Phillips as the lead announcer on the red brand. He now heads up a revamped three-man announce team including Byron Saxton and Corey Graves, who has taken Samoa Joe’s place at the table.
Prior to joining WWE, Adnan Virk worked for ESPN before moving on to covering baseball DAZN and appearing on the MLB Network. Virk made his WWE debut on the Raw after WrestleMania edition of the flagship show.
Speaking to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Virk discussed his new role and how he aims to be a storyteller:
“The storytelling is really where great match-callers take it to the next level. So for me in my preparation for the audition, it was to make sure I knew the storylines. It isn’t just a splash off the top rope or a spear here. It’s Shayna Baszler has the ‘Kirifuda Clutch’ and she’s trying to overcome her past nemesis and all the rest of it. That was actually really fun for me, learning and digging into the storylines and trying to convey that storytelling.”
“I think I was able to do a good enough job in the three matches that I called. Three-man booths can be tricky, but I think it actually really helps for WWE because both those guys offer a different perspective. When they told me that was the team, it was really putting me in a position to succeed because both those guys are real stars.”
Adnan Virk also discussed wrestling fan’s expectations of the role. In the past, some broadcasters haven’t been given long to make a positive impression.
Virk is sympathetic to that:
“It’s a totally fair point, and I often think of what the great Ernie Harwell said on this which is when you start a new position, everybody hates you. This guy stinks. He’s not as good as the past guy. Whatever it is, they’re going to find issues to critique you just because they prefer what they previously had. Honestly, you’ve got to get to a certain point, and you won’t know what that point is — maybe it is a year, maybe two years, maybe six months — but eventually people will say, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter if they like you or hate you but they are now used to you.’ So the goal is to be as prepped as possible.”
“This fan base is so knowledgeable and so passionate. If I walk in there and start spouting misinformation, they’re going to spot them from a mile away. They’re going to be upset, rightfully so. They’ll be saying who is this interloper coming from mainstream television to try to tell us what our product is when we know better than anyone else. So the key is preparation, head down, ask questions, listen to what people have to say, and utilize the resources around you.”
Of course in WWE, announcers sometimes have gone above and beyond just commentating on matches. Michael Cole faced Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania, Jim Ross even holds a win over Triple H.
As far as the possibility of seeing action goes, Virk is game for anything:
“Whatever WWE wants to do with me, I’m totally fine with. I’ve been as a broadcaster someone who likes to just fit into the background, fit into the foliage. But this is all about promotion and entertainment. So, absolutely. I don’t care what it is. I’m in. I can’t wait for what could happen. Picture Braun Strowman throwing me around like a rag doll in the ring.”