Tom Hannifan

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Tom Hannifan
Birth nameThomas Hannifan[1]
Born (1989-05-19) May 19, 1989 (age 34)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materPennsylvania State University
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Tom Hannifan
Tom Phillips
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[2]
Billed fromPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania[2]
Debut2012

Thomas Hannifan (born May 19, 1989) is an American professional wrestling commentator and sports broadcaster. He is currently signed as a play-by-play commentator to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). He was previously an announcer for WWE under the ring name Tom Phillips and served at various points as the play-by-play commentator on NXT, SmackDown, 205 Live, NXT UK and Raw. In 2022, Hannifan joined Impact Wrestling as their lead commentator.[3]

Career[edit]

Early broadcasting career[edit]

Hannifan began his career in his sophomore year of high school as a public address announcer for a football game. His higher education journey started at Penn State Altoona before transferring to Pennsylvania State University’s main campus. He pursued a major in broadcast journalism, with a specific focus on sports broadcasting, and graduated in the year 2011.

During his tenure at Penn State, Hannifan was an active member of CommRadio, a radio station run by the students. Post-graduation, he worked with the Student U branch of the Big Ten Network. He also provided play-by-play commentary for Juniata College's football and basketball teams in central Pennsylvania, earning $50 per game. To supplement his income during the summer of 2012, he took up a job as a waiter.

Approximately a year and a half after graduating from college, Hannifan received a job offer from WWE.[4] This marked a significant milestone in his broadcasting career.

WWE (2012–2021)[edit]

Hannifan conducted backstage interviews for the WWE App on Raw and was the lead announcer on Superstars, Main Event and SmackDown, flanked by color commentators Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton,[2][4][5] until he was replaced by NXT's play-by-play commentator Rich Brennan on the August 27, 2015 episode of SmackDown.[6] He also served as the Social Media Lounge host on all WWE pay-per-view pre-shows until Fastlane (2017), when Charly Caruso took over the Social Media Lounge, and conducted backstage interviews for WWE.com.

In the summer of 2014, Phillips entered into a brief storyline with Alicia Fox, where he was stalked and tormented by her on a number of occasions, both ringside and backstage.[7] Hannifan, as Tom Phillips, served as lead play-by-play announcer for SmackDown Live commentary team.[8] He was the lead commentator for the NXT brand tapings and broadcasts from 2014 until being replaced by Mauro Ranallo in 2017. Phillips acted as lead play-by-play announcer at WrestleMania 33 on April 2, 2017, for the SmackDown brand, becoming the fifth person in the company's history to act as the lead commentator at WrestleMania.[9] Philips also led commentating in 205 Live before Vic Joseph replaced him.

In 2017, a Twitter user named Melissa posted screenshots of explicit conversations she alleges happened between her and Phillips while they were engaged. After the news broke, Phillips set his social media accounts to private.[10]

Phillips filled in for Cole on the October 2, 2017, Raw so that Cole could attend the wedding of his son.[11] On October 5, 2019, WWE announced that a new commentary team would be on NXT UK, including Phillips.[12] On November 1, 2019, due to significant flight delays, Phillips filled in on commentary for Michael Cole and Corey Graves on SmackDown with other substitute announcers Renee Young and Aiden English on first hour and Pat McAfee on second hour.[13]

Phillips also acted as lead play-by-play announcer at the Royal Rumble on January 26, 2020, for the Raw brand; the next day, Phillips announced that he would return for his new play-by-play commentator role on Raw, replacing Vic Joseph and joining existing commentators Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton.[14] On March 12, 2020, Phillips left the announcing team on NXT UK. In April 2021, it was announced that Phillips would be replaced by Adnan Virk in his role as play-by-play commentator for Monday Night RAW.[15]

On May 27, 2021, WWE announced they had released Phillips from his contract, ending his nearly nine-year tenure with the company.[16] In January 2022, Phillips revealed his reaction to his WWE release, stating “It was a shock and it was a surprise. It was an emotional and heart-breaking day, but this is a business. It's budget cuts, and the pandemic has hit a lot of different businesses in a lot of different ways.... It took me a while to separate my personal feelings from what happened to a business standpoint."[17]

Impact Wrestling / Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2022–present)[edit]

On January 8, 2022, Renee Paquette reported that Hannifan had joined Impact Wrestling as the new play-by-play announcer, replacing Matt Striker. Hannifan made his debut with the promotion at Hard to Kill.[3]

Other media[edit]

Hannifan is currently the co-host of STATE OF STATE: A PENN STATE FOOTBALL SHOW, along with former Penn State and NFL cornerback Justin King.

Hannifan was also the host of one of WWE's most popular YouTube series, 5 Things, until October 21, 2015, when Kyle Edwards replaced him.[citation needed] Phillips resumed the position in 2016 after Edwards was released from WWE.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tom Phillips". Penn State University. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Tom Phillips". WWE. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Tom Phillips se une a la mesa de comentaristas de Impact Wrestling". Solowrestling. 9 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b Koller, Broxck (January 22, 2015). "Tom Phillips WWE Journey". WPVI-TV. Disney/ABC. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  5. ^ Trionfo, Richard (September 27, 2013). "WWE Superstars Report: Tag Team Action; Who Replaces Tony Dawson On Commentary?". PWInsider.com. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "Rich Brennan joins SmackDown announce team". WWE.com. WWE. August 27, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "A look back at Alicia Fox tormenting Tom Phillips: WWE App Exclusive". WWE. June 6, 2014.
  8. ^ Medalis, Kara (November 8, 2016). "Phillips to join SmackDown LIVE announce team". WWE. WWE News. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  9. ^ "Tom Phillips makes WrestleMania history". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  10. ^ Cotton, Simon (2017-02-25). "WWE Commentator Tom Phillips allegedly caught cheating on his fiancé on Instagram (NSFW)". www.sportskeeda.com. Retrieved 2024-01-15.
  11. ^ "Michael Cole to miss Raw this Monday night". WWE. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  12. ^ "Tom Phillips Lands New WWE Announcing Role". ProWrestling.com. October 5, 2019.
  13. ^ "Special WWE SmackDown Announce Team Revealed For Tonight, Update On The WWE Travel Situation". Wrestling Inc. November 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Tom Phillips Reportedly Replacing Vic Joseph On WWE Raw Commentary". ProWrestling.com. January 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "ADNAN VIRK JOINS WWE® MONDAY NIGHT RAW®". corporate.wwe.com. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  16. ^ "TOM PHILLIPS RELEASED BY WWE". May 27, 2022. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "Tom Hannifan (Tom Phillips) talks his WWE release, Michael Cole, joining Impact Wrestling". January 20, 2022. Retrieved August 1, 2022.

External links[edit]

Preceded by SmackDown lead announcer
2014–2015
Succeeded by
Michael Cole
Preceded by
Michael Cole
SmackDown lead announcer
2015
Succeeded by
Rich Brennan
Preceded by
Rich Brennan
NXT lead announcer
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mauro Ranallo
SmackDown lead announcer
2017–2019
Succeeded by
Michael Cole
Preceded by NXT UK lead announcer
2019–2020
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vic Joseph
205 Live lead announcer
2019–2020
Succeeded by
Jon Quasto
Preceded by
Vic Joseph
Raw lead announcer
2020–2021
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vic Joseph
205 Live lead announcer
2021
Succeeded by
Vic Joseph
Preceded by TNA Impact lead announcer
2022–present
Succeeded by
current