Todd Grisham last night on NXT gave his final play-by-play for WWE as he has left the company to join sports media giant ESPN. The news was broken by fellow NXT commentator, William Regal, on his Twitter when he stated:
"I would like to thank @todd_grisham for all his help get me through NXT.Best wishes for your new career at ESPN."
Things started off brightly for Grisham when he joined WWE in 2004. His first job was to be the play-by-play commentator for WWE's Sunday Night Heat. This was a program that Superstars is very much in the vein of although it was exclusive for RAW wrestlers.
Along with this, he hosted The WWE Experience with former Women's Champion, Ivory until she left the company. Grisham would be trusted to host the show alone until 2006 when he was replaced by Josh Matthews. It was also around this time he began to conduct backstage interviews on RAW, with one famous moment being when Shawn Michael's Superkicked Grisham to sign off a segment.
This also allowed him to present WWE Bottom Line after Marc Lloyd was released. His tenure on this show would be short as he would make way for Jack Korpela in less than a year.
It would be his role in WWE.com's Byte This that would gain him a lot of fan admiration. The show was based around letting fans call in and ask questions about the product. It would have special guests and occasionally it would be used to further actual feuds by having a Superstar ring in and cut a promo.
The show was initially canned because fans of TNA would constantly call in and disrupt the show. Grisham managed to hold his own. His retorts whilst sometimes being aggressive usually focused on the quality difference between the two-show (TNA at that time couldn't get hold of a decent TV deal).
In 2008, he began permanent play-by-play broadcasts for the ECW brand, replacing Mike Adamle. He would later be paired with Matt Striker and the two shared good chemistry and gain further fan support. The partnership was cut short however when a replacement for Tazz was needed on SmackDown.
In an odd choice, Jim Ross was made the color commentator and Grisham became the new play-by-play. Unfortunately for Grisham this was the height of his WWE career. Fans began to feel as if he was part of WWE's plan to remove Jim Ross from commentary.
When Ross was hit with a serious case of Bell's palsy, Matt Striker reunited with Grisham on SmackDown. This only furthered fans beliefs even though Ross was seriously ill.
Unfortunately, with SmackDown pertaining more viewers, a vocal segment of WWE fans felt that Grisham was a bore to listen to as he was extremely deadpan in his response. It did not help with Matt Striker's constant hyper-boiled comments that Grisham would regularly accepted. It would be these complaints that would eventually seem him removed from main TV programming.
It was obvious his time in the company was coming to an end in 2009 when he was replaced by Josh Matthews. For a while, he disappeared from TV, but returned as NXT's play-by-play. This would last for five months before his departure yesterday.
I always liked Todd Grisham, he was a commentator that would actually call his matches. My favourite kind of play-by-play. Unfortunately, unlike Jim Ross or Joey Styles, he was very dry and straight forward. He had no catchphrases and seemingly accepted anything his color commentator's spewed out. This meant he did not live up to the "E" in the company's name.
Hopefully this will mean he will have a successful career at ESPN as he does have the perfect qualities for a commentator on real sports.