With the shock release of long time WWE host and commentator Josh Mathews, Renee Young has received a big promotion, giving her numerous WWE Network responsibilities as well as a commentator slot on Superstars with Tom Phillips.
First Female Commentator In Forever
Young is the first female WWE commentator of the modern era, though Lita and Ivory did have a brief run on Sunday Night Heat in 2005. The closest comparison is perhaps Mike McGuirk who worked for the then WWF from the late 80s until 1993. She filled a range on backstage interviewer and host roles, as well as commentating on the All-American Wrestling show, among others.
She left the company in 1993 because WWE’s growing schedule did not suit her family life. Rumors at the time published by Penthouse magazine were that she quit because Vince McMahon made a sexual pass at her, but McGuirk would later claim Penthouse made the story up because she refused to pose for them.
Before the recent promotion Renee Young had been honing her commentary skills down in NXT and was angling for a job as a commentator before Josh Mathews was released. She revealed this in a January interview with WWE.com suggesting they’ve been grooming her for the position for several months.
In a new interview the 28 year old Canadian gave some comments on her move up the ranks, and what it means as a woman:
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. 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.
What I would love to do is do commentary with Michael Cole and JBL on SmackDown. 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.
Veteran commentator Michael Cole also gave his thoughts:
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, 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.
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.
Why Was Josh Mathews Canned?
There has been nothing to suggest that Josh Mathews had any heat backstage with WWE. He had almost single handedly been holding much of the live Network discussion shows together, something Renee Young is adjusting to well. The 33 year old also couldn’t be described as too old, especially when Jerry Lawler is still babbling away on RAW.
The most logical reason for his departure is budgetary cuts. Out of all of the lower level commentators Mathews had the most tenure, which most likely means the highest pay check. WWE’s stock recently plummeted following what shareholders saw as mediocre Network subscriber numbers and much lower TV rights fees than WWE were projecting for their recent renewal with USA Network. This is why they trimmed the wrestler roster last month.
It may be that Renee Young can simply do what Mathews did, at a similar level, but for less money.
Although Mathews did turn up backstage at the recent TNA tapings in NYC, so far there’s no word on if he was interested, or if they were interested. They themselves have been tightening their belt over the last few months, and despite Taz being criticized by a portion of the fan-base, he still has more star power than that guy from Tough Enough.
Renee Young made her Superstars commentary debut on yesterday’s episode.