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Sunday, May 28, 2017

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Retrospective: The 12 Greatest Wrestling Commentators

By @DisAppAintFree & @Phranchize19

Commentators in professional wrestling provide insight and  credibility to the matches they call. Not to mention, it's their job to sell what's going on in the ring. Now there's been many commentators that have done extraordinarily well and there's been some who quite stink at their job. Today, me and @Phranchize19 give you some of professional wrestling's best commentators!

12. JBL

-Whether you love him or hate him, he's pretty great at playing the character he's been given, and mainly as a heel is where JBL shines best. As @IOnlySayFacts had recently touched on, John Bradshaw Layfield is one of the best heels in professional wrestling due to his dedication to his heel gimmick and mic work. As a commentator this is no exception, as half of the time he often makes a good job vouching for heel wrestlers and providing necessary comedy for heel wrestlers. He's full of charisma and capable of keeping viewers interested through programmings.

11. Randy Savage

-Savage is without a doubt one of the greatest wrestlers/WWE legends, but many fans feel his commentary gig is underrated. While it is forgotten mainly cause it was overshadowed by Savage's ring accomplishments and the short stint it was, Savage did make the best of it. His voice already being the golden document of how a professional wrestler should cut promos would be beneficial as a commentator. Whether he says "WHAAAT", "OOOOH YEEAAAAH" or any simple line, he carries the insight of every viewer and how they react to what goes in the ring. He had great delivery and timing. He is without a doubt underrated.

10. Tazz

-Probably Smackdown's best color commentator. Opposite of his tough scary demeanor in ECW, Tazz showed a lighthearted side as commentator, as he was always cracking jokes and barely caught not smiling. He was somewhat of a tweener as he would root for faces ("LATINO HEEEAAATT"), but root for heels while justifying their actions most the time. Nevertheless, being the in ring veteran he is, he spewed a lot of in ring knowledge and he was the only broadcast partner of Michael Cole to make him sound good. That's saying something.

9. CM Punk

-Speaking of wrestlers with short stints, CM Punk within 3 damn months proved why he's the best at what he does! His ring career temporarily on hold, Punk filled in as a commentator and despite his inexperience, he nailed it. From his sarcasm, smark comments, and verbal abuse to fellow commentators, CM Punk provides comedic gold on the booth. I wish I could put him higher, but I can't grade consistency due to the short stint. Regardless, it goes without saying, Punk is definitely one of the best wrestlers on commentator duty.

8. Vince McMahon 

-I honestly wished Vince had his heel charisma as color commentator as sometimes he can get bland. However, for the most part, Vince was pretty great at commentator duty as a face. He was often unbiased and called it how it is, whether he commends the likes of Hart or Stone Cold, both who hated him onscreen. While he wasn't Mr. Personality until later on his career, he did have memorable calls to classic matches. His call as Shawn Michaels captured his first title at WM 12 is iconic. He knew his stuff and captured important details of what's going in the ring and kept the viewers well informed. Sometimes we forget how much of a scholar McMahon is on actual wrestling as his smarts is downplayed by his poor booking decisions nowadays.

7. Paul Heyman

-As Paul E. Dangerously, Heyman showed potential as a color commentator. Nearly a decade later, soon after the fall of ECW, Paul filled in for The King who left because of personal reasons. For NINE MONTHS, we the WWE(F) Universe, had the best commentary duo with Ross and Heyman calling it down the line. "HEY JR GUESS WHAT?!", "what..", "WASSSUUUPPPP!" he would say as The Dudleys perform their signature headbutt move on their opponents. Not only did Paul big up his former employees (even when they were jobbing), but he did a helluva job as voice for The Alliance, who were heels. Why didn't he lead the ECW alliance? That's really WWE's dumbass writings, but it doesn't take away from the charisma, comedy, and extra insight he provided to the fans. Unlike average commentators who reach to the viewers, Heyman reached to the FANS!

6. Joey Styles 

-For nearly 7 years, Styles have singlehandedly detailed every aspect of what went on in a fast messy environment that is known as ECW. It's not easy being a one man commentator and announcer, but Styles nailed it. Whether showing off his scholarly knowledge of professional wrestling, "A quick scoop of a slam", "TAZZ LOCKS IN THE KATAHAJIME" or his most famous reaction "OH MY GAWWWDDDDDD", Styles has a knack of displaying every single great aspect that a color commentator should have. He delivered the same magic in WWE though he was downplayed alot and mistreated as he was always replaced by Ross during a PPV. Luckily he was able to call the classic Hardcore match between Edge & Foley at WM22.

5. Gorilla Monsoon

-The epitome of a face color commentator. Though at times he seemed biased towards the faces and outshined by his broadcast partners, Monsoon always had charisma. He provided a great voice and delivered calling classic matches. Whether with Heenan or Ventura, he was the perfect face half of color commentary,  thus benefitting the heel half when calling a match.

4. Jerry "The King" Lawler

-An unfiltered Jerry Lawler is gold. Lawler made commentary so much fun. Whether he was bashing guys such as Stone Cold or Bret Hart or fantasizing over women such as Debra, Sunny or Sable or making some of the greatest jokes ever, Lawler is a mainstay when it comes to announcing. His greatest work was in the 90's where he ranged from a heel, in which he verbally slaughtered the Hart family, to a comedic perv when he lusted over Debra's "puppies".

3. Jesse Ventura

-The man who originally played the heel commentator, Ventura's style of commentating was well received by Vince. He is arguably the greatest heel color commentator as he often would root for the villain and diss the good guys. His gripe against Hogan is one of the reasons
his heel commentary worked because he truly hated him (Hogan snitched on him to the boss about forming a labor union), so he did everything in power to bash him. For the most part it made sense, Hogan used to cheat but never got called out on it but Ventura was always on his ass. WM5, WM6, and Survivor Series 1987 main event are great examples of his commentary work.

2.Bobby Heenan

-Bobby Heenan was arguably wrestling's first comedian. He made a legendary duo with Gorilla Monsoon. Heenan had jokes for days and made commentary fun with disparaging remarks towards all the babyfaces especially Hogan and fans whom he was constantly referring to humanoids. Besides being a legendary manager, he became a legendary commentator and even in his WCW days, where he was more rational, it was great TV. He's one of the best ever and always remember to "be fair to Flair".

1. Jim Ross

-When one thinks of announcing in the wrestling industry, they tend to think of Jim Ross. Many, if not all people consider him the best announcer in the business. His storytelling and antics with Jerry Lawyer made matches so much more enjoyable. Jim Ross has called so many legendary matches and elevated them with his superb play by play. He's the most respected announcer and is looked at as a mentor/inspiration by several on screen employees. He always spoke his mind and never kissed anyone's ass, especially Vince, who fired him a lot. And of course he has quotables for days:
The list goes on.



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