Joe Tessitore Joins WWE as Play-By-Play Announcer 5

The WWE has hired another top ESPN personality for its on-air broadcast team.

The wrestling giant — owned by TKO Group Holdings — says that it has hired Joe Tessitore as a play-by-play broadcaster. Tessitore, a long-time ESPN veteran (he will continue to work at the sports TV giant in addition to the WWE), will join the broadcast booth this summer, where he will work alongside analysts Wade Barrett and Corey Graves.

Tessitore is a 22-year veteran of ESPN, where he has been a fixture on its college football coverage. He has also called Monday Night Football games, Pro Bowl and NFL wild card coverage. He is also one of ESPN’s lead boxing announcers.

The veteran sportscaster is the latest example of the WWE moving in a different direction with its broadcasts under the leadership of chief content officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque. While historically WWE announcers were wrestlers or former wrestlers (like Graves and Barrett), more recently the WWE has been turning to ESPN for its talent, emphasizing the live and unpredictable nature of its (not so unpredictable) events.

Pat McAfee, the former football star turned ESPN commentator, joined the company on a permanent basis earlier this year (again keeping his ESPN day job), where he works alongside the WWE’s lead announcer Michael Cole. McAfee also did some work for the WWE before his ESPN deal. The company also hired veteran ESPN production executive Lee Fitting to run its studio and production division.

“Whether it’s a world title fight that’s got the globe buzzing or a college football rivalry that’s grabbed the nation’s attention, Joe’s voice provides that big event feel each time he is behind the microphone,” said Levesque in a statement. “We’re excited for Joe to join legendary WWE broadcaster Michael Cole and our esteemed announce team, bringing his signature energy and meticulous preparation to our WWE telecasts each week.”

“It’s an honor to be a part of WWE. The recent success and trajectory are undeniable,” added Tessitore. “Being there at WrestleMania XL, one could feel it – from Cody, Seth, Roman and The Rock, to creative and production, these are some of the very best storytellers in TV. Corey and Wade are absolute stars and it is my privilege to join their team. Pat and Cole are just magical together and Cole is the greatest to ever sit in that chair. As a lifelong viewer, I’m humbled to join this team and to serve our fans.”

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