Todd Grisham

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Todd Grisham
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Born (1976-01-09) January 9, 1976 (age 38)[1]
Hattiesburg, Mississippi[1]
Resides Bay Minette, Alabama[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Todd Grisham[2]
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Billed weight 160 lb (73 kg)

Todd Grisham (born January 9, 1976)[1] is an American sports reporter who is currently[when?] employed by ESPN. Among his duties for the network include being the in-studio host for Friday Night Fights as well as a SportsCenter anchor.

Prior to joining ESPN, Grisham worked as a professional wrestling commentator for WWE.

Early life[edit]

Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Grisham was raised in Bay Minette, Alabama and attended Baldwin County High School for his freshman year, where he played on the school's soccer team as a forward. His family relocated several times after his freshman year, and Grisham eventually graduated from Orange Park High School in Orange Park, Florida.[3] Grisham attended Wingate University on a soccer scholarship, later transferring to University of West Georgia where he received his degree in communications.[3] His first professional job in the television industry was with KTVO of Ottumwa, Iowa where he worked for a year and a half. He then went on to work as a sportscaster for KOLD-TV Tucson for approximately five years before signing a two-year contract with WWE as an announcer, officially joining them on January 14, 2004.[4][5]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE (2004–2011)[edit]

Voice of Heat, Byte This and Bottom Line (2004–2008)[edit]

Grisham debuted in WWE in 2004 as the voice of WWE Heat, doing play-by-play alongside Jonathan Coachman, Josh Mathews, and others for just over four years. Grisham also formerly co-hosted The WWE Experience with Ivory, but after her release from WWE, he hosted it alone until mid-2006, when Josh Mathews started hosting the show. Grisham also hosted WWE's premier web show, WWE Byte This!, which was canceled in 2006. In addition, he did backstage interviews for the Raw brand. In 2005 Grisham also began hosting Raw's catch-up program WWE Bottom Line after Marc Lloyd was released from the company, until September 2007 when Jack Korpela started hosting the show.

Grisham also hosted WWE Unlimited segments, a web-only broadcast that allows viewers to witness events during commercial breaks of Raw. On May 1, 2006 Grisham called the main event on Raw, alongside Jerry "The King" Lawler, filling in for Joey Styles, who had just quit, in storyline.[6]

During an episode of WWE.com's Byte This!, Grisham responded to a letter sent in by controversial superstar The Ultimate Warrior where Warrior declined an invitation to come on the show to talk about his DVD The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. In the letter, Warrior insulted recovering cancer patient Bobby Heenan and called Todd Grisham "gay". Grisham responded in good humor by saying he may have experimented in college, but that was no reason to call him that. Grisham also participated in a series of conversations on Byte This! with fans of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) who interrupted the show to both proclaim TNA a superior product, or to insult Grisham directly when he chose to sugarcoat and dodge TNA related questions, Grisham retaliated with his own retorts, some humors, and some hostile (once calling one TNA fan a "retard"). He sometimes did respond to the questions however citing that TNA was not at the level that WWE was.

In 2008, Grisham and Josh Mathews were doing commentary during a match on Heat between Snitsky and Val Venis when Matthews mentioned that a "former" WWE wrestler by the name of Issac Yankem DDS would match up well against Snitsky. Grisham then made a comment that Yankem resembles Kane and suggesting that they might be brothers, thus breaking kayfabe by outing Glenn Jacobs as the man who portrayed Yankem before his more famous gimmick as the younger brother to The Undertaker. Although the commentary was edited out before being uploaded to WWE.com for the United States market, WWE still sent the original, unedited version overseas before it was noticed by company executives. Grisham was reprimanded for the incident.[7]

ECW (2008–2009)[edit]

Grisham became the new play-by-play commentator for the ECW brand on the July 29, 2008 episode of ECW on Syfy.[8] He replaced play-by-play commentator Mike Adamle, who had become the Raw brand General Manager, and was paired with Tazz, who was the color commentator.[9] This announce team was short-lived, however, as Tazz moved over to SmackDown to fill in for Mick Foley (who was injured by Edge and then left the company) and Matt Striker moved back to ECW to take over Tazz's duties as color commentator.

Since then, their commentating had been highly praised by fans and Grisham and Striker even won the 2008 Slammy Award for Announce Team of the Year.[10] During his run as ECW commentator he still conducted interviews on Raw and also became the new regular interviewer for SmackDown as Eve Torres took a more in ring role. On April 4, 2009 Grisham would host the 2009 Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

SmackDown, NXT and departure (2009–2011)[edit]

Grisham (left) during his run on SmackDown with fellow commentator Jim Ross.

On April 7, 2009 episode of ECW Grisham and Striker's near 8 month commentary partnership came to an end as Josh Matthews became the new play-by-play commentator for ECW. This was due to Tazz leaving the company. Play-by-play commentator Jim Ross would now switch to color, thus replacing Tazz, and Grisham became the new play-by-play man. Grisham made his SmackDown debut as play-by-play commentator on April 10, 2009.[11] On October 30, 2009, he was reunited with his ECW broadcasting partner Matt Striker, who was moved to SmackDown to replace Jim Ross.

During the December 7, 2010 tapings of Friday Night SmackDown, which aired on December 10, Grisham was replaced as SmackDown's play-by-play commentator by Josh Mathews, thus again ending his commentary partnership with Matt Striker. Despite he being replaced as a Smackdown! commentator, He replaced Michael Cole on NXT as play-by-play commentator and joined with Josh Matthews. After Season 4 of NXT, Josh Matthews was replaced by William Regal.

After becoming the lead play-by-play announcer for WWE NXT for five months, it was announced on the August 23, 2011 edition that Grisham would be leaving WWE to pursue new interests.[12] Grisham's last WWE appearance was on the August 26, 2011 edition of Smackdown when he interviewed Randy Orton backstage.

Sportscasting[edit]

In 2007, Grisham was named the host for Fox Soccer Channel's Major League Soccer broadcasts, working alongside Christopher Sullivan for pre-game and post-game coverage of the network's Saturday night broadcasts until 2010, later picking up announcing duties for WWE NXT.[13]

On August 24, 2011, a day after serving as NXT play-by-play commentator for the final time on the 23rd, it was announced that Grisham would be joining ESPN.[14]

On October 16, 2011, Todd would debut as a co-anchor for ESPNEWS for the overnight hours of "Highlight Express" presenting live from 11p-2a ET and replayed until 7am ET and was joined by Adnan Virk. He would also do the morning sports updates for ABC's early morning program America This Morning and prepackaged reports for ABC O&O stations who do not have a morning sportscaster. He would later present ESPN again on October 18 co-presenting with Sara Walsh and would be named one of the official overnight anchors for ESPNEWS and will alternate to present updates for the ABC Stations and America This Morning [15] On October 22, 2011, Grisham inadvertently caused some minor internet outrage when he referred to the loss suffered by Oklahoma at the hands of Texas Tech as the "Trail of Tears." Grisham would later apologize for the gaffe.[16]

On November 10, 2011 Todd Grisham replaced Jon Anik as the host of MMA Live. On December 28, 2011, Todd made his SportsCenter debut presenting SportsCenter from Bristol, CT until 11:30pm when ESPN's Los Angeles studios resumes SportsCenter.

Personal life[edit]

Grisham has an older brother named Jeff.[3] Grisham became engaged to Alyson DeRenzis in June 2009; they are now married.[3] Grisham also has a daughter, Mia Mae Grisham. Grisham is also a long-time season ticket holder of the Atlanta Falcons.

Job titles[edit]

  • Heat Play-by-Play Commentator (2004–2008)
  • Byte This! host (2004–2006)
  • The Experience Host (2004–2006)
  • The Bottom Line Host (2004–2007)
  • Raw (Substitute) Play-by-Play commentator (2006)
  • Raw (Substitute) Ring Announcer (2006, 2007)
  • Raw Backstage Interviewer (2004–2009)
  • Fox Soccer Channel Host and Play-by-Play commentator (2007-2011)
  • ECW Play-by-Play Commentator (2008–2009)
  • WWE Friday Night SmackDown Backstage Interviewer (2009-2011)
  • Friday Night SmackDown Play-by-Play Commentator (2009–2010) [17]
  • WWE Superstars Play-by-Play Commentator (2009–2010) [18]
  • WWE NXT Play-by-Play Commentator (2010-2011)
  • WWE Pay-Per-View Backstage Interviewer (2009–2011)
  • ESPN employee (host, MMA Live) (presenter, SportsCenter) (2011-present)

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]