After nearly a decade in the company, Tom Phillips was released by WWE in May. Phillips was the lead voice on multiple brands throughout his tenure in the company, most recently calling the action on WWE Raw during the pandemic era.
Phillips was hired at 23 and during his interview process, had to cut the infamous inanimate object promo.
"They gave me some piece of equipment that went on the back of a computer and were like, 'you have 60 seconds, sell me on this.' I don't have that gene, so I felt good for maybe the first 20-30 seconds and then was repeating myself a lot. There were elements to the audition that I was 50/50 walking out, 'that could have been awful, that could have been great, I have no idea. We'll see what happens,'" he called on the Sports Media podcast with Richard Deitsch.
After joining WWE, Phillips had to learn the ins and outs of the company. He credited Renee Paquette, among others, and his love of video games for increasing his knowledge of the product.
"One of the more helpful things when I first started is that I was working with Renee Paquette and others and they helped me learn the ins and outs. One of the simplest things was, I'm a big video game guy, so I would play the video games and it has a laundry list of moves. You watch that enough and you start to figure it out. Then, you're a fan over the years and you know signature moves. Those will stick with you the easiest, but it's trial and error. I was fortunate enough that the early incarnation of NXT was taped, so I was able to [be edited] and there was forgiveness. The best thing was being around so many talented performers who are current or retired and they hold you to a high standard. If you didn't know moves, they'd help you. I had so many people who knew the history and if you didn't bother to figure it out, you were dead in the water. I got fortunate that in 2014, we created the WWE Network and I spent every waking hour diving into history," he said.
During his time in WWE, Phillips worked with a handful of different announce partners behind the desk including Corey Graves, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe.
Speaking on the competition between announcers, Phillips said, "It depends on what your relationships are like. There were times where I felt competition with other play-by-play announcers over the years. There were times when I felt competition with people who weren't at my position because I could see how good they were. I thought, 'I have to up my game because if they're doing X and I'm doing Y, it's not elevating the product and I have to be at that level.' I can honestly say, when I was there, the comrade among the announce team was fantastic. It always felt like you were in the foxhole with someone who had your back and that was the entire crew and production team. The competition, I found to be healthy. I wanted to be as good as the person sitting next to me. I'm trying to get better every week."
Phillips was replaced by Adnan Virk following WrestleMania 37, which he said was a surprise. You can find his full comments on Virk replacing him by clicking here.
You can also find his statement on his release by clicking here.
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