A tell-all about Mace’s time on WWE commentary.
Dating back to the summer of 2016, Brennan Williams a.k.a. Mace/Dio Maddin had been signed with WWE. His seven-year run with the company came to an end when he was released along with a multitude of other talents on 9/21.
In the fall of 2019, Mace transitioned from an in-ring role to commentary on 205 Live. That same month, with Paul Heyman becoming the Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, a new commentary team was introduced for the brand and it consisted of Mace, Vic Joseph and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. While on Twitch with fellow former WWE talent Mansoor, Mace looked back at his stint on commentary.
He said he enjoyed it and it was Vic Joseph who initially contacted him about the opportunity. He got practice reps in with former WWE broadcast team member, Jonny Loquasto. Mace, Loquasto and Mansoor would do three-man booth practice runs. Paul Heyman got a hold of those tapes and then Mace had to learn how do to do commentary in a month.
Looking back at the segment on Raw when Brock Lesnar put Mace through a table with an F-5, he was told that was done to show Lesnar ‘means business’. He thinks it might’ve turned out to be a negative because Mace asserted dominance over Lesnar with the size advantage. He’s grateful for the overall experience and thought he’d be done in the ring because Michael Cole told him and Vic Joseph that they’d have the job for the next 20 years.
Mace: I liked commentary a lot. I didn’t expect to do commentary. I had been in NXT for a while. At the time, we weren’t doing much. So much of WWE is a timing thing because obviously if I came in now or if I came in last year when NXT was NXT 2.0 and they were all focusing on new athletes from another sport, that was the focus. That was not the focus for the entire time that I was in NXT. The focus was on independent guys, experienced guys. They were there to put on a more independent-focused show. So, at the time, I wasn’t doing anything, I hadn’t been doing anything — actually, that’s not true. Me and Swerve (Strickland) were tagging and we were getting momentum. But, I got the call from Vic (Joseph)… He’s like, ‘You can’t tell anybody this.’ It was very secretive at first. He was like, ‘What do you think about doing commentary?’ I was like, ‘Yeah. I’ve got a bunch of kids. I gotta work.’ So it’s not what I wanted to do, but who’s asking? He’s like, ‘Okay. Well, Michael Cole wants you to fly into Raw and start recording for 205 Live and Main Event.’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ I still don’t know why and so I go in and I do it and it’s very difficult.
It’s not just talking over a match. There’s roles, you don’t wanna step on each other. There’s a whole thing about you got to get in advertisements, you gotta count down things, you have somebody counting down in your ear that we’re going to commercial break and you need to line these things up so perfectly and this isn’t what I trained for in any capacity. All I was doing was I was in the recording booth with my friend Jonny Loquasto… Me and Manny, we would just help him because he had nobody to practice with.
Mansoor: Yeah, we practiced with him as a three-man booth. It was a lot of fun.
Mace: It was so much fun. I’d love to find those tapes because those were very funny. Turns out, Paul Heyman got a hold of those tapes. Paul Heyman was taking over as Head of Creative for Raw at the time. He said I want a completely new skin on everything. So, when I got that call for commentary, the machinations were in order because at some point, Vic was like, ‘You’re going to be on the lead commentary team for Monday Night Raw in a month.’ So I had to learn how to do commentary in like a month. All of the minutia, all of that stuff.
In my time on commentary, we had the infamous (match) which actually went a little bit viral on Botchamania recently, of the red Hell in a Cell match between Bray (Wyatt) and Seth (Rollins) and that was the last night before Brock killed me. They told me, ‘Oh yeah, we just wanna show that Brock means business. So we’re gonna have him put you through the table and then you’re gonna look really cool’ and I did. I looked really cool because I mogged him, I mogged Brock Lesnar. That actually might have been the problem because they realized that I mogged Brock Lesnar and they’re like, why is this big ass guy on commentary? Because half of my commentary experience, because they are very particular about their shots and we already had a weirdly tall commentary team because Vic is a giant skeleton. Vic is like a 6’4 Slender Man. So to have me at 6’7 and then have King (Jerry Lawler), they had an issue because… I enjoyed it, it was a new skill. It’s something that I can still do so I’m thankful for the opportunity and they didn’t fire me right after. They fired me several years later so….
The thing is when I started doing commentary, I had to come to terms with the fact that I thought that was gonna be the rest of my career. After my first night on Raw, Cole pulled me and Vic aside and said, ‘You guys are gonna have this job for the next 20 years.’ He said it straight up and I was like, oh! Okay. This is what I’m gonna do now. I had moved on from having to give up wrestling before. So I was like, okay, I guess this is what I’m doing now. Obviously, that didn’t work.
Before the physical segment with Lesnar, they had a chat with one another backstage to go over plans. Lesnar explained to Mace what the F-5 was because he assumed Mace may not have known what the move was. When it came time for action, Mace recalled Lesnar protecting his on-screen character because he realized how big Mace was, so he gave him a shot to the back before hitting the F-5.
Mace: (Brock) Lesnar was very cool. Funny thing about Lesnar was I don’t know if he didn’t know that I worked at all. I assume he didn’t know. I assume he doesn’t know anything outside of his farm. He walked up to me and says, ‘So we got a little business tonight.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, what do you wanna do?’ And he was like, ‘Well, I got a move called the F-5. It’s I get you in a fireman’s carry and I basically toss you over my head and I put you on your belly for a belly bump’ and I was like, ‘Yeah Brock, I’m familiar with the very popular, very famous finishing maneuver, the F-5. How do you want me to take it?’ And the funny thing on top of all that is if you watch that back, I’m getting ready to go up but Brock, maybe realizing that I’m huge, felt the need to protect me by giving me a silly little club to the back (he laughed). When I got up, he grabbed me and gives me a little club to the back and then picks me up and then gives me the F-5. Very kind of him to protect me.
Further discussing his time on commentary, he spoke about the first production meeting he was a part of. Vince McMahon randomly walked up behind him and gave Mace a forearm to the back. McMahon started laughing and then Mace started laughing because he did not know what to do in the moment.
Mace: My first production meeting on commentary, I’m sitting, as you do, if you’re a good student, and good students know this so I know none of you (in the Twitch chat) know this is you sit in the ‘front T’ so you either sit in the front row or in the middle and because I didn’t wanna step on anybody’s toes, I decided to sit in the back middle. Okay, you’ll see me if you look up. But I won’t be in Michael Cole’s seat or something like that. I don’t wanna be taking anyone’s seat, be out of the way. So, everybody’s sitting there because everybody shows up to the meeting on time. Vince (McMahon) was getting his steak and so he walks in, everybody gets quiet. It’s my first production meeting so I’m kinda shooketh. I didn’t really know what to think, but it gets quiet and when Vince walks in, I’m like, is this an all rise thing? Is the judge coming in? And so he comes in and I’m sitting there. I got my little notepad which was an iPad, I’m ready to take notes on everything that I need to do and Vince walks in, quiet, quiet, walks behind me and then just gives me a (forearm) in the back and I’m like, in my head, in that moment I’m like, was I in the way? In my head, I’m sitting at the table. Was I out in the middle of the hall? Was I in the way? Did I mess up my first interaction? And no, he just got behind me and he just forearmed me and he turned around, he walks past me and turns around and he goes, ‘Hehehehehe!’ And I just laughed because I didn’t know what to do. I was completely baffled. I was baffled by what just happened (Mace said in a sarcastic tone).
His time on commentary came to an end in November 2019. The next time Mace appeared on-screen on the main roster was when he was a part of RETRIBUTION.
NXT’s Dijak f.k.a. T-BAR gave a detailed recount of how that faction came to be, why it ended and their moments along the way. To read more, click here.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the original source with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.