The newly appointed Raw commentator Renee Young recently spoke with NewsWeek ahead of Sunday’s pay-per-view Hell in a Cell.
Young talked about her relationship with fellow commentators Corey Graves and Michael Cole, preparing for a pay-per-views, and the reactions she received from fans. Below are some of the highlights from that interview.
It’s been a few days since the announcement. Has it sunk in that you’re on commentary full time?
It goes in waves. I’ll read a cool article or reflect mentally on how the week has gone and get that moment of “oh my god, this actually happened.”
I’m just so excited about it. And it’s starting to sink in, but I’m just trying to mentally prepare for Hell in a Cell this Sunday. Thinking about how different it is to call a pay-per-view to doing Monday Night RAW. It’s so brand new to me, so my brain is in overload right now.
Speaking of Hell in a Cell, do you have to prepare differently for a pay-per-view?
I talked to Michael Cole a little bit about it last week. I’m still figuring out how I prepared to do commentary, which is different than how I would prepare for a Kickoff panel which I have down to a science. With commentary it’s so different because you want to be prepared with information on the guys and girls and some of the stories I want to tell. But I also want to react to what I’m seeing. I haven’t got my preparing down to an art just yet.
I talked to Cole about it and he told me to go back, watch some old Hell in a Cells. Just watching any ppv to hear how the commentary is different, how your remarks are going to be different.
How did your past experiences on commentary help?
For me, it’s been doing the panels for a couple of years that’s helped. I’m so much more confident and familiar with what my role is within WWE and how I am able to talk about our product and our content in a better way for the WWE Universe to enjoy. For anyone who works in the company to enjoy.
I’m at different point of my career, personally. Where I’m at in WWE, I feel so much more comfortable even though I’m still trying to find my footing and my own take on things. I think a lot of it has to do with the panels and the time I spent backstage and the relationships I have with all the superstars that has definitely helped me get a second go at doing commentary now.
Welcome to the full-time gig, @ReneeYoungWWE!
A HISTORIC way to kick off #RAW LIVE on @USA_Network… pic.twitter.com/kYX40bb8vJ
— WWE (@WWE) September 11, 2018
Being the first female commentator, what’s the best reactions you’ve received?
I can’t believe how cool and supportive they’ve been, from my family, my peers and the WWE. Everyone’s been really great. Of course, there are going to be people who are going to have different opinions to that and I’m hoping over time I can prove them wrong.
Hearing from JBL, he gave me some great advice. To stay off social media, do my own thing, listen to Cole, listen to Vince, Kevin Dunn. Hearing from him, getting notes from Dino Curlander or Booker T. It’s so funny to me that these guys I grew up watching are giving me nuggets and advice. It blows my mind.
How do you feel being a part of the Women’s Evolution going on in the WWE?
I definitely didn’t think it would be at this point when I got to WWE. I know that I’ve been asking for more— I always want to do more, I want to learn this skill. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to put in the work and make everybody proud and live up to these expectations of what everyone wants, and what I want.
Sitting back and watching the Women’s Evolution, I wanted to be a part of it. Trying to find a way, and I feel so honored and to be able to use this platform and this voice to show everyone that women can do anything in the realms of the WWE. So many doors are being blasted open. For me to sit at the table on Monday nights and a little girl can watch on TV and feel she wants to do that in the future whether it’s in the WWE, the NFL or MLB. There are different avenues for women to be involved in sports and broadcasting, and as an entertainer and performer. I’m just happy to be a part of it.
The Evolution pay-per-view happens in October, will you be a part of the commentary team?
I know I’m going to be there! As more matches are revealed and announced, the fact that we’re going to see Mickie James vs Lita and Alexa Bliss vs Trish, I would love nothing more than to call those matches. I guess only time will tell how everything shakes out in the next couple of weeks.
The EVOLUTION comes to @NYCBLive on Sunday, October 28, and tickets are available NOW! Don't miss out on @WWE's first-ever ALL-WOMEN'S pay-per-view event: https://t.co/6Q04dDaxfT #WWEEvolution pic.twitter.com/73U4YTSBls
— WWE (@WWE) August 24, 2018
Do you see yourself doing play-by-play?
[Laughs] I don’t think so. And it’s funny because I feel like so many people have asked me that even before this opportunity. “You should do play-by-play” and I don’t think I can do that!
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far on commentary?
The biggest one for me, was when Undertaker returned. That blew my mind. If you’ve ever been to a WWE show and were lucky enough to have Undertaker there and you get to hear the gong and he’s coming out and the smoke is taking over the set, it’s unbelievable to see but to be there on commentary and not to have a full-blown meltdown while it’s happening. That’s what I learned.
You’re being praised by having great chemistry with Cole and Graves. How did that come about?
Corey Graves is one of my best friends in the whole world. We’ve been friends since we met at NXT. We’ve been on a bit of a journey together,from him stepping down from wrestling to doing the panels on NXT with me. I can remember that day when he told me that he would no longer be wrestling and will be joining me on the panels. That was such an emotional day for him, and for anyone who has been passionate about something and having to step away. So we’re good friends.
And Michael Cole, from the day that I started in WWE I used to travel with Cole and JBL. They really were my introductions to the WWE. They showed me how life in WWE worked, life on the road, and he’s been such a great champion ofs me from the beginning. And now I get to share this moment with him and Graves, and it means the world to me and it feels very comfortable.
If you could be on commentary with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
Oooo wow. I would love to work with JBL. He’s so smart and brilliant as a human being and in the world of the WWE, he knows it all. And of course, the greats like Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon any of those guys I would love to sit and learn from.
How do you think Renee is doing so far? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter. Don’t forget to check out our Discord chat, where you can talk to all of your favorites from WrestleTalk.
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