As announced last week ahead of WWE Raw, Renee Young is the show's first ever full-time female color commentator. The call was met with near universal acclaim after her first two runs on the show.
Let's be honest. WWE lucked out that Renee Young fell in love with and married a wrestler in Dean Ambrose. In my estimation, there's her, Gene Okerlund and no one else in that space. Charly Caruso is quickly emerging as a good backstage interviewer, but Renee Young has been able to step so far outside that because of her sunny disposition and attractive personality.
Renee called the action in NXT pretty young into her tenure after she'd excelled in the backstage role. She experienced a few hiccups as many new to the job do when learning WWE's odd tropes that they often sandwich into their programming.
In my line of work, I value versatility to almost the same level that I value talent. Those who work at Fightful are contributing to a rapidly growing crossover site that utilizes text, video, audio, and several sports and entertainment forms. Magnify that, and the subsequent resources by about 3 billion, and you have WWE. Renee Young's versatility has proven key, and she's knocked it out of the park at almost every opportunity.
She worked as a backstage interviewer, an in-ring interviewer, pre-tape interviewer. She worked as a commentator on NXT and Superstars. Co-hosted Tough Enough, Vintage Collection, and became a major part of the JBL and Cole Show web series. Renee Young's WWE Network show "Unfiltered," seemed to be a sure-fire hit, but got cut off at the legs. Total Divas? Sure. Hosting "Talking Smack?" A hit. Voiceover work too. Renee has excelled in wrestling without taking a bump, and has contributed greatly to it.
I don't doubt that Young has her proverbial pick of the litter as it pertains to broadcast jobs. She has the "it" factor that usually translates into wrestling companies forcing someone into the ring. Fortunately, they made the right call and played to her strengths, as they already have a roster full of capable and talented females.
With a growing women's presence on WWE programming, female voices need to be heard both on the broadcast, and behind the broadcast. There are a couple of writers, but on the program, we heard the contempt -- even in a joking manner -- between Raw color commentators Jonathan Coachman and Corey Graves. Renee Young has thus far erased that in her appearances, bringing a more positive vibe to a program that doesn't exactly always compliment the intelligence of its viewers.
Fightful was told that all throughout the day leading to her August WWE Raw commentary debut that she received words of encouragement and congratulations. All accounts we've heard it what you see on the screen is what you get backstage, and she's become a beloved personality accordingly.
Jonathan Coachman is an outstanding broadcaster, who was a really bad fit for WWE Monday Night Raw. It became painfully clear that the level of preparation wasn't there, leading to many speculating that the passion also wasn't there. There were some particularly odd calls on commentary -- notably saying Ronda Rousey was resting while in a bear hug from Nia Jax -- but Coach wasn't without his positives. His years away from WWE led to some common sense calls on the headset that many would typically overlook because they were so accustomed to the "way wrestling does things."
I consider Renee a sure-fire future WWE Hall of Famer. She's already five and a half years into her run, and if all goes well, will continue to add a list of firsts to her resume.
It won't always be smooth sailing for Renee Young. She'll be talking for over 180 hours a year on live television, assuming that she works pay-per-views as well. But so often in pro wrestling and WWE specifically, just getting a nice breath of fresh air and promising progression is a nice way to reinvigorate your show.