Adnan Virk is set to join the WWE Raw commentary team beginning Monday, April 12.
Virk will replace Tom Phillips as the lead play-by-play announcer on the red brand, working alongside Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Speaking to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Virk discussed his new role and working in a three-man booth.
“The storytelling is really where great match-callers take it to the next level,” Virk said. “So for me in my preparation for the audition, it was to make sure I knew the storylines. It isn’t just a splash off the top rope or a spear here. It’s Shayna Baszler has the ‘Kirifuda Clutch’ and she’s trying to overcome her past nemesis and all the rest of it. That was actually really fun for me, learning and digging into the storylines and trying to convey that storytelling. I think I was able to do a good enough job in the three matches that I called. Three-man booths can be tricky, but I think it actually really helps for WWE because both those guys offer a different perspective. When they told me that was the team, it was really putting me in a position to succeed because both those guys are real stars.”
Virk auditioned for the job in February and learned he got the job in mid-March.
Speaking on WWE fans making their mind up quickly on him, Virk said, “It’s a totally fair point, and I often think of what the great Ernie Harwell said on this which is when you start a new position, everybody hates you. This guy stinks. He’s not as good as the past guy. Whatever it is, they’re going to find issues to critique you just because they prefer what they previously had. Honestly, you’ve got to get to a certain point, and you won’t know what that point is — maybe it is a year, maybe two years, maybe six months — but eventually people will say, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter if they like you or hate you but they are now used to you.’ So the goal is to be as prepped as possible. This fan base is so knowledgeable and so passionate. If I walk in there and start spouting misinformation, they’re going to spot them from a mile away. They’re going to be upset, rightfully so. They’ll be saying who is this interloper coming from mainstream television to try to tell us what our product is when we know better than anyone else. So the key is preparation, head down, ask questions, listen to what people have to say and utilize the resources around you.”
Throughout history, WWE announcers have been used in storylines, often humiliated or tossed around by superstars. Though it doesn't happen as much recently, Virk is ready for whatever WWE tosses at him.
“Whatever WWE wants to do with me, I’m totally fine with,” Virk said. “I’ve been as a broadcaster someone who likes to just fit into the background, fit into the foliage. But this is all about promotion and entertainment. So, absolutely. I don’t care what it is. I’m in. I can’t wait for what could happen. Picture Braun Strowman throwing me around like a rag doll in the ring.”
Along with Virk taking over the lead play-by-play role, Graves will replace Samoa Joe as an analyst on Raw. Joe remains part of the WWE talent roster.
Fightful will have live coverage of WWE Raw beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday.