The news came out earlier this week that longtime member of the WWE broadcast team, Josh Mathews, was released from the company. To me, this came as a pretty big surprise. Mathews had been working as the primary host of the WWE RAW and SmackDown pre-and-post shows on a weekly basis, as well as the pay-per-view “Kickoff Shows” on a monthly basis.
It’s being said that WWE isn’t happy with how the pre-shows and post-shows for RAW and SmackDown have been going, however the key reason Mathews was released is said to be just another budget cut. WWE has been axing members of every department, as key executives, writers, referees, wrestlers and now announcers have been released from the company.
Personally, I always felt Mathews did a good job in his role. After trying out on the initial season of Tough Enough, Mathews ended up settling in as a member of the WWE broadcast team, a decision that at the time didn’t seem to make much sense. After a period of time where he was settling into the role, where it seemed as though he wasn’t going to be a very talented announcer, he turned out to work perfectly in his particular position.
I would assume that Renee Young will be taking over Mathews role on the panel for pre-and-post shows, as well as the “Kickoff Shows,” as she will be replacing Mathews in his role as the host of the panel for this Sunday’s WWE Money In The Bank pay-per-view. With Young already rumored to be possibly leaving WWE for a gig at ESPN, it seems interesting to me that they would release the guy who is fully dedicated to his job. That’s not to say that Young isn’t, by the way, it’s just that Mathews had such a long run with the company, while Young is fresh on the scene.
In most companies, that would be a positive. In WWE, however, that always seems to be a negative. They like to keep the young, good looking people in the key on-camera roles. Jim Ross fell victim to this a number of times, and now it appears as though Mathews has as well.
It will be interesting to see just how in love TNA is with recognizable WWE faces, as Mathews already turned up at the recent Impact Wrestling television tapings in New York City. He didn’t work the show, but he was in attendance.
With “Big” John Gaburick, who was one of the key executives of Tough Enough when Mathews was a contestant on the show, being in charge of TNA’s talent department, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see the former WWE announcer pop-up on TNA television in some capacity.
In a time where TNA is asking high-profile talents to take pay cuts, and are letting key performers leave instead of paying them to stay, it would seem to me that Mathews, while talented, would be an expense that isn’t really worth it. I’m not sure what Mathews brings to the table that TNA needs, or doesn’t have already, but my gut tells me he’ll end up with a gig in the company.
Regardless, Mathews should be able to look back on his time with WWE and be proud of himself. I think he did a great job in his role, and I was actually thinking that one day he would graduate to the Michael Cole role on SmackDown, or at least NXT. Instead, he was “wished well on his future endeavors.”
I’m not sure if he’ll be someone that WWE re-hires in the future, and if TNA doesn’t snatch him up in some capacity, than I guess it’s possible he could pop up on the independent scene as an in-ring performer, as he has the ability to wrestle matches. That was his initial goal, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise for the former Tough Enough contestant. Only time will tell.
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