Pro-wrestling play-by-play man Tom Phillips recently Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch to discuss his release from WWE, one of many talents to be cut with the last two weeks. Phillips speaks about a number of different topics, including how he had to learn the business from the ground-up since he came in at such a young age, and what he thought of the limited run of Adnan Virk, who was his replacement on Monday Night Raw.
Phillips begins by reflecting on his run with the WWE, as he was hired at the ripe age of 23.
“I had to learn everything from the ground up. On top of that, no broadcaster at 23 is really that finely polished, so everybody at WWE, it takes a village, did an amazing job helping me get up-to-speed just as a broadcaster. Things as simple as working in a studio, working with a teleprompter. Basics. I need to learn how to walk. They gave me so many opportunities to learn those things.”
Later Phillips would be asked about what he considers to be the toughest part of the job.
“The toughest thing about WWE is that, if you’re coming in, and there’s plenty of people who come in who don’t know wrestling inside out and backwards, you gotta get up to speed quickly. You find the right people who have your back and will support you and teach. I had so may people like that. But it look years for me to get comfortable with it, because that’s how intricate the product is.”
Once Phillips was pulled from Raw commentary news surfaced that he would be replaced by ESPN’s Adnan Virk. Phillips says that he had followed Virk’s work for years, acknowledging that his addition to the team was WWE going for something completely different.
“Adnan Virk was somebody that I had known, not to date him in any way, but he had run on SportsCenter when I was in college, and then just right out of college, so I had watched him for years. So when I hear Adnan Virk is coming in to be the lead announcer of Monday Night Raw, I said, ‘Whoa, that is a shift’ But at the same time, I was like, I have all the respect in the world for this guy’s ability, in terms of what the job requires. I was definitely surprised, but to hear it was somebody like Adnan Virk, I said ok, I get it.”
Phillips added that Virk will be fine following his departure from WWE.
“I’ve seen so many people come and go at different levels on the announce team. I won’t speak necessarily to what he was going through, that’s his experience, but it was fast. That being said, he has so many other things that he does in conventional sportscasting where he is so talented. He is going to do just fine.”
Check out the full interview here.
(Special thanks to Sescoops for the transcription)