Meet NXT announcer Alex Reyes
If you’re a regular viewer of NXT, then you’ve undoubtedly noticed one of the newest additions to the announce team, Alex Reyes. Asking the hard-hitting questions of NXT Superstars, Reyes has discovered firsthand the plethora of personalities competing under the NXT banner. This week, WWE.com takes a special look at NXT’s newest announcer and why his current role is nothing short of a dream come true.
WWE.COM: How did you get your start with WWE NXT?
REYES: I have always wanted to be here in WWE and am honored that I am part of the announce team. I’ve been sending demo materials to WWE since 2004 when I was a student at Boston University. I received callbacks a few times, but they never materialized into an audition. As my career started to blossom in radio and television, I also started working for some independent wrestling promotions in South Texas and in Houston. I ended up visiting WWE announcer Rich Brennan in December 2014 at NXT Takeover: R Evolution. I had a chance meeting with the WWE Live Event producers and we chatted a bit about my background and career, and they told me to keep in touch but there wasn’t an open position available at the time.
I continued to work in sports talk radio and play-by-play in Houston until I got a phone call last summer from WWE asking me to come in for an interview and, later on, a tryout at the WWE Performance Center. I came down to Orlando in June and met with a lot of the coaches and the Live Event staff. I felt good about my tryout but didn’t hear anything until September, when I was offered an announcing position here in WWE. I was beyond excited, and I am so honored to be here every single day. It wasn’t an easy road to get here at all, but the journey was certainly worth it.
WWE.COM: You mentioned fellow announcer Rich Brennan. I understand you two have some history together?
REYES: Yes. I had the opportunity to work with Rich at Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling as a commentator and at another company, called Lone Star Championship Wrestling, as a ring announcer. Coincidentally enough, Rich and I also used to call hockey games together in the Central Hockey League.
WWE.COM: How extensive was your broadcasting career before WWE?
REYES: I always wanted to be versatile, so I did a little of everything in sports and broadcasting early in my career. I am originally from Mission, Texas, which is in the Rio Grande Valley, the same hometown as Tom Landry and WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana. I was lucky to get a lot of sports broadcasting opportunities in the region, with work in minor league baseball and the NBA Development League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. I also worked at the local Fox affiliate as a television sports anchor. I worked as a ring announcer for a local boxing promoter who put on events called “Fists of Fury,” which had local fighters but had a WWE flair for entertainment.
Perhaps my biggest break came in 2011 when I got a phone call from the Harlem Globetrotters, who offered me the chance to come to training camp to audition. I was offered one of their announcing positions and spent a little over two years with them. I was afforded the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and to 26 different countries. With the Globetrotters, I had the chance to announce at Madison Square Garden, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and Wembley Arena in London, among others. It was an amazing time in my career, and as a huge basketball fan, I look on that experience fondly. When I left the Globetrotters, I started working for SportsRadio 610 in Houston until I made it to WWE.
WWE.COM: How would you compare working for the Globetrotters to working for WWE?
REYES: I consider the Globetrotters to be another form of sports-entertainment. There are so many similarities between the two brands. The Globetrotters CEO at the time was Kurt Schneider, who once was an executive here at WWE. He was able to infuse the element of storytelling into our games and increase our visibility in the media. The goal between the two brands is the same, which is to put smiles on the faces of our fans. Both companies travel all over the world and put on an incredible show each and every night. With the Globetrotters, we would be on the road for five months straight, with a lot of the travel by bus, but we also had a short offseason as well. In WWE, we are on 52 weeks a year. I definitely think my time with the Globetrotters and the road lifestyle has prepared me for life with WWE.
WWE.COM: What went through your mind walking in on your first day as a WWE announcer?
REYES: It was certainly intimidating every step of the way. My first meeting was at SmackDown in Houston, and I met a lot of people with the company, from Triple H to Michael Hayes and Kevin Dunn. Being backstage at TV, you see what an amazing production WWE is and how many incredibly talented people are behind the scenes. When I arrived, I was amazed at how much WWE cares about the people who work here, especially in NXT. Every resource that we need to work on our craft is made available to us. The people here at WWE want you to succeed so long as you put in the work and have patience.
WWE.COM: Do you still find it hard to believe that you are finally a part of WWE?
REYES: I keep telling everyone who asks me that question that I am living the dream every single day. I’ve been a WWE fan for over 20 years now, so getting here was always the goal. I still remember the first time I watched Raw — it was the episode when the 1-2-3 Kid beat Razor Ramon and was proof that anything can happen in WWE. When I was 11, I would pretend I was doing the open to Monday Night Raw into a tape recorder. The dream goes beyond just being an announcer here at WWE NXT; I am getting an overall education in the business from chatting with Larry Zbyszko and Terry Taylor backstage at a Live Event, to sitting and learning from Michael Cole and all of our announcers. I am honored to be here, and I am here to learn and improve every single day.
WWE.COM: What’s the fondest or perhaps most embarrassing moment you’ve had thus far?
REYES: [Laughs] I’ll give you one of each. We occasionally do internal Live Events at the WWE Performance Center. It was my second week on the job and Head Coach Matt Bloom said, “Alex, you have to sing the national anthem before you start the show,” and he wasn’t joking. So I made my way into the ring and belted out the anthem to the best of my abilities. Thankfully, there is no video footage of it! My fondest memory is tough to choose, but I was honored to be backstage for the Royal Rumble in Orlando. I had the opportunity to interact and meet even more people with the company. The Royal Rumble Match is one of my favorite events and it was the first one I was able to see live.
WWE.COM: How has your experience been with the NXT audience?
REYES: Incredible! The NXT crowds are the type of crowds I loved to be a part of when I would attend WWE events. They are the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the world. I was a little worried, coming in as the new guy, if they would welcome me, as they are very critical and passionate about all aspects of the brand. However, they welcomed me with open arms, and I am so honored to introduce their favorite NXT Superstars to the ring at our Live Events.
WWE.COM: What are some of your current responsibilities at the WWE Performance Center?
REYES: I try to make myself available for anything our coaching or creative staff may need. One of the things I have taken ownership of is our voiceover room where our commentators work on their craft. I make sure that we’ve updated that room with the most recent NXT and WWE matches so our other announcers like Tom Phillips, Rich Brennan and Corey Graves have what they need. I also stand in as an interviewer in our talent promo classes so they can work on their interview skills and I can work on mine.
WWE.COM: Who are some announcing inspirations that you've had?
REYES: I have quite a few, as I am fan of both sports and sports-entertainment. As far as ring announcers, I always looked up to both Howard Finkel and Gary Michael Cappetta in wrestling and boxing’s Jimmy Lennon Jr. When it comes to sports, I am a huge fan of Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan. Basketball is probably my favorite sport to call outside of WWE, and the energy they bring is the style I hope to have if I get an opportunity at the announce desk. I think it goes without saying I am a huge fan of Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon, but I also listened to a lot of Michael Cole when I was in college and he was the voice of SmackDown. He’s been a great teacher and I can’t mention people I look up to in this business without mentioning him.
WWE.COM: If we hashtagged your goals for the future, what would they be?
REYES: The simple answer is to work WrestleMania one day, but for now I love the fact that I get to host and ring announce at our NXT Live Events and handle backstage interviews for NXT television. My next goal would be to ring announce on NXT TV at some point and eventually sit at the announce desk for NXT. I have actually spent more time as a play-by-play announcer in my career than I have as a live-event announcer and want to try my hand at that here in WWE. I am hoping that preparation will pay off if I am ever afforded the opportunity to sit at the announce desk.
Follow Alex Reyes on Twitter @AlexReyesWWE.