wrestling / News

Josh Mathews & Madison Rayne Discuss Broadcasting During the Pandemic, Calling Empty Arena Shows

April 28, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Josh Mathews

TV Insider and Scott Fishman recently interviewed Impact Wrestling announcers Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne. They discussed doing broadcasting work for the empty arena shows during the coronavirus pandemic and more. Below are some highlights.

Josh Mathews on broadcasting during the coronavirus pandemic: “We’re in such a unique world right now. Calling these shows from home without an audio engineer or producer. Literally sitting down with a laptop going segment by segment. We’ve been watching the shows as we’ve been going along, playing it out before we hit record. I think it helps taking the time to go through it. Then I’m constantly on the phone with Scott D’Amore or Jimmy Jacobs or Don Callis from creative and communicating. It really is a collaboration, which is awesome.”

Madison Rayne on joining the commentary team: “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. 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.”

Josh Mathews on calling Rebellion without a crowd: “It’s challenging for sure. 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.”

Rayne on possibly continuing commentary work after her in-ring career is over: “The better you get at something and the more comfortable you are, the more you get excited to do it. The nerves subside a little bit and excitement takes over. I would like to think that I’m getting to that point. Working for Impact is so neat and different. I’ve done so much just inside those four walls of the wrestling ring. I don’t know how much I have to show or to prove. I’m at this point in my career where I don’t want to overstay my welcome, but I also feel like there is something still within the wrestling space I can do. Whether that’s the things I used to do with producing and helping with storylines. I really liked doing that. I really like doing commentary. In these unprecedented times, I’m trying to do what I can the best I can.”