With IMPACT being shorthanded for its Rebellion event, they turned to married couple Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne to do commentary for the event. Mathews is the longtime announcer for IMPACT but Rayne usually does her work in the ring.
Speaking to Scott Fishman of TV Insider, the couple discussed working together in the commentary booth.
"It certainly wasn’t my idea (to try commentary). I always had an appreciation for what the team does but never really thought it would be something I would excel at. I thought my area of expertise was in the ring. It was actually not our idea. It was suggested to us by John Gaburick, Billy Corgan or someone from management asked what we thought. I’m never one to say no to a challenge. I would try my hand at a knockouts match here and there," said Rayne. "Those were the storylines I was most connected to, and at the time, helping write some of them. It was an easy introduction. I had a great team of people between John and Josh and Pope, Josh’s broadcast partner at the time. Helping me along, giving me great feedback. When I was starting to find my comfort zone there, things changed. But at that point it was a bullet on my resume. So when we come to the current time, it was something I’d like to think I jumped back into relatively well."
IMPACT Rebellion is airing as a two-night event from the empty Skyway Studios in Nashville, TN. The event was changed due to the coronavirus pandemic and marked the first event for IMPACT without fans as they had previously taped all footage leading to Rebellion.
"It’s challenging for sure," said Mathews about calling empty arena shows. "Doing what I have been doing for a living for the last 17, 18 years now. In WWE, you get the opportunity to lay out a lot. There are tens of thousands of fans in an arena, so you have to let that breathe. The challenge now is you don’t have people in the arena. You don’t have that to rely on. At Impact, we have some of the most die-hard, unique fans in wrestling. They’re always chanting things and are engaged. Not having that and constantly having to fill the gap. I’m not one to talk wall-to-wall during a show. You have to do that during these unique times. It’s different, challenging. But I think we’re doing a great job. I always say to anyone I work with that the hardest thing to learn in commentary is when your partner wants to talk and when he or she isn’t going to talk. I think she [Madison] is starting to pick up when I don’t need to or feel the need to speak, and she is filling in those gaps nicely. Obviously, the longer you work with someone the more you get to know their cadences. Once you get past that hurdle, I think it’s smooth sailing."
IMPACT Rebellion night two airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on AXS. Mathews & Rayne are set to call the action once again.
Fightful will have live coverage of the show beginning at that time.