‘The Game’ Triple H has spoken about how pleased he is with the current state of the three person commentary booth on NXT.
Over the years, WWE’s black and gold brand has seen several names and voices sat at its famous commentary desk with arguably the favourite pairing to date being Nigel McGuinness and Mauro Ranallo who provided a soundtrack to countless unforgettable moments for the company’s third brand.
Following the departure of Ranallo and the COVID-19 pandemic stranding his English cohort and voice of NXT UK on British soil for months, Triple H turned to a different combination to voice his brainchild in the effervescent Vic Joseph – also a NXT UK alumni – Beth Phoenix and former WWE Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett.
Taking to the the post-NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day media call, Triple H praised his current vocal set-up while speaking on the loss of Mauro Ranallo:
“I think they [Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix and Vic Joseph] are doing great. First of all, let me say I think Mauro [Ranallo] is phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of his, continue to be a huge fan of his. Circumstances were just right for both sides given everything that was happening in a pandemic world to go in the directions we did. I wanna say that I’m a huge fan of Mauro across the board and happy that he’s continuing to do the things that he’s doing and have the success that he does. We stay in touch; he’s a good friend.
On the other side of that, Vic is coming into his own. It’s tough, you come in here and you’re kinda shown the WWE way and taught a certain thing and you’re trying to find your voice. Then a pandemic hits and you get into the mode that you get in. For a while he’s here by himself and he’s got people from their homes doing it with him. I don’t know that a lot of people even realise that, that Mauro – when people couldn’t travel – Mauro was home. We were able to arrange it where he could do commentary from home. Beth was from home. They were calling it live seamlessly on the air but it’s hard. It’s very very difficult. Only recently in the last three or four weeks, I don’t know time travels fast, Beth was able to, schedule-wise, be able to be back here in person. I think they had a good rhythm going.”
The one surprising addition to many, however, was Wade Barrett who had been away from the company since 2016 and had been commentating for World of Sport in the United Kingdom and the revival of the NWA when Jim Cornette was forced to step down:
“I can’t say enough good stuff about Wade. I was a big fan of his when he was working with us. I was a big fan of his watching what he did outside of here and his commentary. There was always a part of me that and I said this to him, ‘I always was a fan of it’. I wanted to get him here and the timing wasn’t right, and then timing was right and I was like ‘oh, this is great’. Got him here and he hasn’t disappointed. He’s a pro’s pro, he just has a knack for it and a feel for it.
Vic is really now coming into his own and so is Beth, especially being here. It’s so difficult to do from a distance. Being here, what I love about it is they come across as three people that genuinely like each other. Like they would if it was three friends sitting on a couch, watching the show, having a good time bantering with each other even if one of them is calling play-by-play. But it just comes across as enjoyable and fun. They get into the product, they’re excited, I love it. I think it’s a different vibe from Raw, it’s a different vibe from Smackdown but it’s NXT’s vibe and I’m really enjoying what they’re doing, and think they’ve come a long way and are doing a phenomenal job. Hopefully everybody else does too.”
The commentary trio of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix oversaw the thrilling NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day on February 14 where Finn Balor retained the NXT Championship against Pete Dunne in thriller.
Across the pond, Nigel McGuinness currently occupies the commentary booth with Andy Shepherd on NXT UK. The latter took over from Tom Phillips, who in turn replaced Vic Joseph, leaving his popular role as ring announcer.
Credit for the interview: NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day Media Call