With Kevin Kelly now the Lead Announcer for AEW Collision, his replacement in NJPW has been announced.
Kelly has been the English voice of New Japan Pro Wrestling since 2015, but his time with the company will come to an end following Wrestle Kingdom 18 in January. After that, he will focus on his new role at the Collision commentary table alongside Nigel McGuiness.
Now, Walker Stewart has announced that he will be the man to take up Kelly’s headset as the Lead English Broadcast Commentator.
The 21-year-old, who has been nicknamed ‘The Velvet Voice,’ began his announcing career on the indy scene in 2021 and has been heard in various promotions including GCW and Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling.
Walker Stewart issues statement on taking over from Kevin Kelly
Stewart announced the move on social media, where he thanked Kevin Kelly for his guidance during his career so far.
“I am beyond honored, blessed, and excited to announce that I have officially signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling to serve as the Lead English Broadcast Commentator across all NJPW events.
“Many who enter the world of professional wrestling do so with the intention of working in front of sold-out arenas all across the world, meeting incredible fans who share the same passion for the sport, and supporting a family and a lifestyle doing the thing they love to do the most. This is the same goal I entered with as well, and tonight I can announce that this dream has become a reality.
It took 26 months. 802 days. 19,230 hours. 15 states. 63 promotions. 212 events. Producing. Commentating. Announcing. Setting up rings. Popping popcorn. Driving states away just for an opportunity to showcase what I can do.
“All of it to become the youngest signed international broadcast commentator in professional wrestling at 21 years old.
“I feel a profound sense of honor, an overwhelming wave of emotion, and an immense gratitude that words can hardly convey. So many people have played pivotal roles in shaping my path, recognizing my unwavering dedication, and propelling me forward in ways I could never have imagined, let alone asked for. To those tagged in this post, both within and beyond the wrestling world, you have been my guiding light and mentors, and I am deeply grateful for your unwavering support. A special thank you goes out to Kevin Kelly and Bob Evans, whose guidance has been invaluable on this journey.
“I’ve never failed to express my love for professional wrestling and those who are in it, and it’s a very kind feeling to find that professional wrestling can and will love you back.
Stewart says his broadcast debut for NJPW will come on October 28th at Fighting Spirit Unleashed in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“On July 24, 2021, the journey began. On October 28, 2023, the journey evolves as I make my NJPW broadcast debut in Las Vegas, Nevada for New Japan Pro Wrestling: Fighting Spirit Unleashed, airing LIVE on FITE TV.
“Let it be known that this journey is far from over; it’s a path that stretches on indefinitely. The goalposts have shifted, and my vision is clearer than ever before. This achievement stands as a testament to the undeniable truth that hard work pays off. I am living proof of that.
“I’ve never been more ready for uncharted territory. NJPW and the independent wrestling world at large will continue to get the best of me every single night, and I’m motivated to serve the NJPW audience well. Thank you.”
It’s official, and here’s my statement.
I’m excited to connect further with NJPW fanatics across the world as we dive deeper into our loves for professional wrestling.
See you soon @njpwglobal 👋
— Walker Stewart (@VelvetVoiceWS) October 4, 2023