Word is that new Raw play-by-play voice Adnan Virk is good people. While opinions will vary on how good he is, anyone familiar with his work from ESPN and MLB Network will attest to the fact he’s a capable announcer.
Unfortunately, neither is helping him a whole lot since he debuted last Monday night (April 12). After his second outing with Corey Graves & Byron Saxton was just as rocky as the first, fans have started to compare him to another WWE crossover hire, former football player and broadcaster Mike Adamle.
Adamle’s frequent mistakes as an interviewer and announcer became a storyline as he was shifted to a kayfabe authority role before his 2008 run ended less than a year after it started (Adamle was a frequent fan punchline, but when it was later revealed he suffers from severe CTE symptoms from his football career, his WWE run wasn’t a joking matter - or important in comparison to his work educating people about concussion safety).
As Virk continues to reveal he doesn’t know the name of moves, and just isn’t terribly current on WWE’s product, some are wondering if he’ll even last as long as Adamle did. It’s a valid question. You can find those who will explain how hard it is to call wrestling, or questioning whether WWE gave him any training for the job, or asking viewers to give him more time before making a final judgement. But you’re not going to find anyone arguing he’s making Raw better.
Perhaps WWE should look at what happened with Adamle? After a few rough months of Mondays, Adamle was moved to the ECW brand. That didn’t pan out either, and his brief stint as Raw General Manager started a few weeks later. But it was a good idea.
Who knows if Virk will ever be a good wrestling play-by-play person. But he should start to find that out in a less high profile gig than front-and-center on what many think of as the pro wrestling show. Let him call a few weeks of Main Event, or send him to movez school by putting him on 205 Live. If that goes well, let him work some NXTs. Then, and only then, should he be handed the reins on Raw.
Virk doesn’t have any of the benefits his fellow post-WrestleMania hire Pat McAfee has on SmackDown. As a color commentator, McAfee only has to worry about reacting and channeling his gift of gab while Michael Cole steers the ship. And even then, Pat’s debut wasn’t a grand slam! Adnan’s struggling to even reach base.
WWE made a lot of noise about hiring Virk, and they’re going to be reticent to admit it was a mistake. That likely means they’re going to give him a few weeks to figure things out. I’m not optimistic, but I hope he does and proves me wrong.
Unfortunately, I know I’m not wrong when I say that Adnan Virk isn’t ready for Raw.