Introducing Rich Brennan
Last April, NXT loyalists who have grown accustomed to the fast-paced action and exclusive environment where the stars of tomorrow shine were made privy to a new face and voice. Granted, getting a first glimpse at a brand-new prospect is nothing revolutionary to the NXT Universe, but this debut was a little bit different. This NXT Superstar’s inaugural appearance came from behind the announce desk. Equipped with a voice and a dream, NXT Universe, meet NXT’s newest announcer, Rich Brennan.
“The coolest thing for me is the chance to help facilitate moments that people can bond around,” Brennan told WWE.com.
A lifelong fan, Brennan has vivid memories of his initial exposure to sports-entertainment.
“The first time I ever saw wrestling I must have been 6 or 7 years old. It was Captain Lou Albano cutting a promo and stomping on someone,” Brennan recounted.
“I really started watching when I was 9 or 10, and I watched as much as I possibly could. Saturday was the big day as I could catch both WWE shows in the morning, and then would wait anxiously for the NWA at 6:05 p.m. on TBS, and then NWA Worldwide on a Spanish station out of Worcester, Massachusetts, late on Saturday nights,” Brennan recalled. “I was able to watch World Class and the AWA as well, and then Sunday mornings USA Network had All American Wrestling.”
The Rhode Island native began attending live shows with his father at what was then known as the Providence Civic Center.
“I remember being there for Saturday Night's Main Event in 1986. Sometimes we'd go to the old Boston Garden as well. We went to see two NWA shows there in 1987 and 1988, and it was amazing to get to see the Road Warriors, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, etc., in person,” he said.
Brennan’s first step toward his dream job came in 1994 when he worked at the Civic Center as a vendor during the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
“I’ve been trying to spot myself in the crowd on WWE Network,” he joked.
While the WWE Universe is just now learning about Brennan’s broadcasting skills, NXT’s newest play-by-play voice joins the show with an extensive resume behind the microphone. A former TV and radio sports anchor and reporter, Brennan has called the action of minor league hockey, baseball and several seasons of arena football.
“One the most interesting runs I had was spending five seasons calling hockey on the Mexican border for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the McAllen, Texas, area. At the time, we were in the Central Hockey League, which is like Double-A baseball. We drew great crowds, and even had some of our games on TV,” he explained.
“It was interesting, because the TV station was based in Matamoros, Mexico; the production crew spoke Spanish, the commercials were in Spanish, but I called the games in English. It was challenging but a lot of fun,” Brennan continued. “I always wanted to get involved with wrestling, but it was impossible for a long time with the schedule I had.”
Eventually Brennan would assume ring-announcing duties on the Texas independent wrestling circuit while working a 9-to-5 job. Though his other sports play-by-play opportunities had become few and far between, it was a chance run-in with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T that got the ball rolling toward a life-changing future.
“A friend of mine was working with Booker T's promotion, Reality of Wrestling, doing announcing on the YouTube show they produced. He ended up leaving and recommended me to fill his spot. It was a labor of love and I never had any intention of trying to make a career out of it,” Brennan explained.
“One day I had spoken with Marc Vandermeer, who is the play-by-play man for the Houston Texans, and he liked my stuff. Marc encouraged me to take another crack at [play-by-play]. I mentioned to my wife what Marc said to me, and she convinced me to talk to Booker just to see if he thought I had what it takes to work for WWE. I was a little hesitant to do so, but he was very supportive. One thing led to another, and I was invited to the WWE Performance Center for a tryout,” he said.
Inspired by commentary legends Gorilla Monsoon and Jim Ross, Brennan wants to make the most out of the dream job he never thought would become a reality.
“It’s been amazing,” he exclaimed. “To get to do this every day is a dream come true, one that I never imagined would actually happen or was even really possible. I want to continue to get better at what I do and to be as accurate, entertaining and informative as possible. I’d love to be a part of Raw, SmackDown and the pay-per-views. Hopefully, I get to do this for a long time.”