WWE names Renee Young the first full-time female member of its Raw announce team
Young replaces Jonathan Coachman, who had a short tenure in the third chair on Raw
WWE announcer and personality Renee Young will make history when she becomes the first female to join the Raw broadcast on a full-time basis beginning Monday night. Young sat in the third chair as a fill-in capacity twice in the last month.
The announcement was made public by WWE hours before the show went live at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The company also announced that Jonathan Coachman, whom Young will replace on the three-person announce team alongside Michael Cole and Corey Graves, will slide over to become the new host of WWE's pay-per-view kickoff shows.
Coachman, 43, originally worked for WWE as an announcer and part-time wrestler from 1999 to 2008. He returned to Raw in 2018 following a nine-year run at ESPN as a popular SportsCenter host. He will make his debut as the PPV kickoff show anchor on Sunday alongside Booker T, David Otunga, Sam Roberts and Peter Rosenberg prior to Hell in a Cell in San Antonio, Texas.
Young, 32, real name Renee Paquette, originally made Raw history on Aug. 13 when she filled in for Coachman and became the first female in the announce booth for a major WWE TV show. The native of Toronto continued to fill in while Coachman took side work as an announcer with the Golf Channel until WWE announced the full-time switch.
The move is seen as a positive for WWE from a critical standpoint as Coachman never quite meshed as a babyface announcer alongside the quick-witted and sarcastic Graves. In some ways, it was WWE's ill-fated casting decision that most deserved blame considering Coachman's prior success as a broadcasting heel which is the role Graves now plays.
Young, who is married in real life to WWE superstar Dean Ambrose, quickly rose to become a popular personality since joining the company in 2012. Along with prior experience as a color commentator with NXT, Young has grown to become a premier interviewer and host of several WWE Network shows including the short-lived and popular Talking Smack. Over the past year, she also introduced a short-lived live show on her Instagram account (Backstage Pass).
The reality of Young's off-screen relationship finally crossed over into a storyline during Ambrose's late 2016 feud with The Miz. Young and Ambrose have also appeared as a couple on the E! reality series "Total Divas."
Young received plenty of public support from her WWE colleagues on Twitter once the decision was announced.
The move to add Young to Raw comes during a particularly historic era for women in WWE as the past two years have seen the first female Hell in a Cell, Money in the Bank and Royal Rumble matches WWE has promoted. The first WWE all-women's pay-per-view, Evolution, has also been scheduled for Oct. 28 in Uniondale, New York.
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