Renee Young joins the 'WWE Superstars' commentary booth
It’s impossible to escape Renee Young these days but, then again, why would you ever want to? Over the past year, the captivating Canadian has been seen and heard on WWE Network’s Raw Pre-Show and Backstage Pass, After Total Divas, the 30 Years of WrestleMania podcast series, pay-per-view Kickoffs, the Slammy Award-winning JBL & Cole Show and as a backstage interviewer on all of your favorite WWE shows — not to mention her color commentary gig on WWE NXT.
Now, the always-busy Ms. Young prepares to make the next major leap in her burgeoning WWE career by joining Tom Phillips on the “WWE Superstars” announce team, becoming WWE’s first full-time female commentator in more than a decade.
“I feel there is definitely a certain amount of pressure, not only as a performer and broadcaster but representing women who may not even know this is something that they want to do,” Renee told WWE.com. “I can show other women that if you’re not a Diva and you still want to be involved in WWE, there’s so much you can do. It’s definitely really cool to be in the position to create a bit of a niche for myself and other women.”
Michael Cole, who has served as a key mentor to WWE’s new crop of announcers, recalls being impressed with Renee’s drive from the very beginning.
“When Renee first started in the company and she started working with us, one of the things she told me is she wanted to be a trailblazer,” Cole said. “We started working with Renee in the [announcing] booth at NXT about six months ago and she really showed some promise. And we have the opportunity now to bring her to the ‘big level’ and she becomes one of the only females in history of WWE to be a full-time announcer at ringside. “
Cole continued, “Renee can really tell some unique stories from a female point of view, and we have to remember that in WWE, our audience is forty percent female. I’m a 47-year-old man, and when Randy Orton comes to the ring, you’re getting my perspective on it, but what are women thinking? What’s going through their mind? What are they looking at? Renee is going to be able to give that perspective, which is really, really unique and it’s really never been done before.”
Despite the historical significance of Renee joining the “WWE Superstars” announce team, WWE COO Triple H affirmed that it was Renee’s unparalleled work ethic — not her gender — that fueled the decision to bring her to commentary on a full-time basis.
“It has nothing to do with her being a female or not, it has to do with her being the right person for the job,” The Game said. “She’s got a great voice that cuts through the clutter. She is very knowledgeable about WWE, about its history, about the talent and she is really willing to step up and do her homework.”
It’s that ability to “step up” that has made Renee a fast favorite backstage since being signed by WWE from Canadian sports network The Score in late 2012. Her quirky sense of humor landed her a starring role on The JBL & Cole Show, which airs every Friday on WWE.com and YouTube.
“She’s been a huge hit for us, and she’s fun to work with,” JBL said. “So much of the stuff we do [at the announce booth] unfolds in front of us as it happens, and you need the ability to ad lib. That comes from intelligence. She’s helped make The JBL & Cole Show.”
NEXT: Renee’s lofty aspirations and the secret to her success
Over the past several months, Renee has benefited from the tutelage of such mentors as JBL, Cole and even Paul Heyman, who has shared with Ms. Young some of the most awesomely awkward backstage interviews of all time. Yet, even though she is continuing to learn her craft, she has already imparted on her colleagues — namely her new broadcast partner — some lessons of her own.
“She taught me very early on how important it is to take everything in stride,” said Phillips, who has worked with Renee on other WWE projects in the past. “This is WWE, and it’s all about having fun, which is important for us on camera and on commentary, especially. I’m just excited because I’ve gotten to know her for two years and now on commentary we can open up her personality to the entire WWE Universe. And I think it’s going to be a treat for everybody because now you can see Renee uninterrupted.”
Always thinking of the next opportunity, Renee is already looking ahead to the other opportunities that will manifest once she cements herself as a key member of WWE’s commentary team.
“What I would love to do is do commentary with Michael Cole and JBL on SmackDown,” Renee said. “If we can make that a two-man-and-one-woman team, that would be awesome. Getting on the main shows, being able to do Raw or SmackDown, would absolutely be the next step.”
Lofty aspirations? Sure. But, according to Triple H, such dreams are more attainable than Renee might think.
“I think you’re going to see her grow,” the WWE COO said. “You’re going to see her jump on this challenge to become a regular fixture and a regular voice and, hopefully, maybe one day the voice of WWE.”