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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Three Voices Of Professional Wrestling
April 10, 2006 by Stephen Rokitka


If you haven't noticed from my FanJam article on Bradshaw and Tazz, I like the old days of wrestling...and I'm going to look back again for this article. However, it won't be focused on wrestlers - no I'm going to point three men (with brief explanations) that deserve the be called the voices of professional wrestling: Joey Styles, Tony Schiavone, and Jim Ross.

3) Jim Ross - Good ol' J.R. He and "The King" are the greatest commentary team ever. You could hear J.R. tearing his heart out when a monster event's about to unfold, the biggest example being Mankind getting thrown off the Cell against the Undertaker (GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY (2X)! AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, HE'S BEEN BROKEN IN HALF"!"!). However, I find it strange that J.R. (and a few other WWE announcers) started to sound like this after someone else named Joey Styles became famous for screaming his lungs out.

2) Tony Schiavone - The voice of WCW...Whatever happened to Tony Schiavone" He might not have acted out like J.R. or Joey, but I put him above Jim Ross because of the quality of his voice. It was crisp, it was unique, and every time I heard him it seemed like he was made to announce. Sometimes he would drag out a event (And Raven looks like he's setting up for the EvenFlow, and that's exactly what he does.), but Tony was different from the rest. He had a calm demeanour in that voice and I'll always miss that. WHERE ARE YOU"!

1) Joey Styles - I'm going to list the three sounds that will always go through my head when I think wrestling:

a) "ECW! ECW! ECW!"
b) Paul Heyman's reaction to Rhyno goring JBL during ECW's invasion of Smackdown! (GORE!!! GORE!!! GORE!!!)
c) "OH MY GOD, SABU!"

Now, I know some people are going to respond, "He's an ECW fanboy..." and I can see why. However, where did J.R., Michael Cole (Cole needs to stop), Don West, and Mike Tenay get the "OH MY GOD!" or similar reactions from" JOEY STYLES. Imagine the announcers of the 1980s describing a dive from Sabu hitting the table or any other ECW moment (I have never seen someone do that before...WOW!). Joey summed it all up with his famous catch phrase, the only way one could feel after seeing the shit Joey's seen. I'm glad to see him working for WWE, but WWE will never be ECW, so he'll be tamed in this role....

I don't know what else to say. For those that may bring up "The Professor" or Don West...I honestly think they're OVERLY excited when they see the X-Division or the Hardcore moves...like they plan it out. But that's my opinion...

Thanks and Have a Good One!

by Stephen Rokitka


Brad Dykens wrote:
I would have liked to see you go way more in depth with this column and include blurbs about Gordon Solie, Gary Michael Cappetta, Mike Tenay, Lance Russel and a few others. If you scratch the surface you will write an okay column, if you dig deeper you will find gold. That's my constructive critism for the day.
Ryan from Vegas wrote:
I just finished reading this article, which was quite short. I agree that Jim Ross should be included in that list. I just think that he should be number one. I don't really know who Tony Schiavone is because I never really watched WCW that much. Joey Styles is also one of the greats that rank up there with J.R. and them. But he is the Voice of ECW, he will never be the Voice of RAW in my book. That title will always belong to Good Ol' J.R. You could of included a lot more in the article. I do believe that Mike Tenay should be mentioned. He is a great color commentator. And if you give Michael Cole and Tazz some time and some exciting stuff talk about on SmackDown! over the years, I believe they will be great. Thanks for putting in my input.
Jesse Lee wrote:
What about the classic Gorilla Monsoon-Brian Heenan duo" Yes, I know they're not one person like Ross or Styles or Tenay. However, from what I heard of their golden days, they're better than Ross and Lawler. Ross would call the match and storylines while Lawler just said meaningless stuff with "puppies" thrown in it in an attempt to be funny-he wasn't in my opinion. With Gorilla-Henan, you got Gorilla calling the match while Henan threw out hilarities of one-liners. One of my favorites is...

Gorilla Monsoon: He hit him in the external protuberance area!
Bobby Heenan: Why do you always use words no one understands"
Gorilla Monsoon: It's fun. You should try it.
(Jobber gets kicked in the stomach)
Bobby Heenan: He kicked him in the uterus!
Gorilla Monsoon: Would you stop it"

(BTW, cand be found on http://www.armpitwrestling.com/ )
Rick Swift NY wrote:
Great article. I couldn't agree more, but you kind of left out decades of announcers. Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and Jessie Ventura helped the whole industry become what it is. I'd like to see an article about some of the worst voices too.
Rob Scribner wrote:
JR is overrated...Joey Styles was/is good, but the comic relief is what I look for when it comes to announcers. Tony Schiavone isn't even in the top 5...maybe not top 10...I think you rated him overly high and I am not sure why as your column really doesn't explain anything.

There were two announce teams that I personally thought were better than the rest by far...Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura...and Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan....Gorilla would take their nonsense and run with it and I can't count how many times I found myself watching wrestling with my Grandmami (stealing a line from Mickie James but it really is my grandmother so I have to go with the mami) and it was hilarious how Heenan and Jesse would go out of their ways to support the heels and make fun of the faces while Gorilla would take it all in and continue the match without missing a beat. You just know he was laughing inside because Heenan or Ventura would just be off the wall with the things they would say. His response to them was what made the show. I am too young to remmeber Gorilla as a wrestler, but he would bring back the past without showing off that he knew about the history of the business unike JR who seems to have to interject the fact that he knows the history when it has little relevance to what is going on. How many times do we need to hear "shades of the Dynamite Kid" when Benoit performs the diving headbutt or "Triple H with that high knee lift made famous by Harley Race". Also, when Heenan went to WCW, he just wasn't the same. I love Mene Gene, but he could not work with Heenan like Gorilla. It just solidified to me how great he was and he would still be #1 on my list to this day.
Brian Simpson wrote:
I have had enough of this one sided commentary from writers posing as wrestling fans. You have listed three LEAD announcers from the three major brands in wrestling history and this is what bothers me so much about the columnists on this site. It's as if people have blinders on when it comes to wrestling and the history. Now the next comment I make will probably not make me any friends but Jim Ross is not the end all, be all of wrestling announcers. Look back over the years at who he learned from and you will see that Good Ol' J.R. had a so many people to refer to in order to get to where he is today. I start with the south and Lance Russel as the writer above already stated. Also Gordan Solie was someone who could not be touched when it came to wrestling information. Along the same lines I give you someone who topped even Tony Schiavone in W.C.W. and that is the voice of T.N.A. the professor, Mike Tenay. And for all you Kayfabe era fans, I truly do not think I need to remind you of three names left off this list that should simply be a sin. Those men are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and in my opinion a man who can keep up with Good Ol' J.R. on a head set The C.E.O. VINCENT KENNEDY MCMAHON. Don't get me wrong I love Jerry Lawler as a commentator, but he got most of his character from Bobby Heenan and if you know much about wrestling he gets several of his lines fed to him by none other than Mr. Mcmahon. In my own personal opinion the greatest announce team was Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon and Mr. Mcmahon. They set the standard in the 80's and moving into the attitude era. Plus Mr. Mcmahon was one of the first to implement his announce position into a full time character instead of just a story teller. There was always interaction but never on the scale that Vince took it to. From Story teller to greatest Heel ever in the sports entertainment business. Good Ol' J.R. nor anyone else in my opinion could have ever done that, of course it helps to own the company. So in my particular order I give my top 3 to...

1. Vince Mcmahon | 2. Gordan Solie | 3. Jim Ross
Jose Aguirre wrote:
Michael Cole and Tazz do not suck!! They just need some more exciting stuff on SmackDown to happen. I don't watch SmackDown! very much because it is always given second rate crap to showcase, maybe because it's on normal TV or something, I know the head of WWE dosen't care what I think, but they need to be more creative.
Grant Molina wrote:
like your list but I strongly feel that the comedic duo of Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "the brain" Heenan should be added. They feed off each other and who could forget the term," HAM AND EGGER!"
Stephen Rokitka (Original Author) wrote:
Hi! I would like to comment on MY OWN Article (The responses to it anyway) if that's possible, thanks (And Thanks for putting Tony Up Front For the Article!): Thanks for all the inputs. For the majority that mentioned Gorilla and Heenan, you got me! If you're going to dock me because I never saw the duo (except for the Road Warriors DVD), so be it. But, what they commentated on is not what Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Joey Styles commentated on. Maybe I should have made the title "The Three Voices of Wrestling Since [insert 1990 year]", but I didn't. It's a conflict between oldschool and newschool. The fans that have seen the business grow over the last 30-40 years are going to point out Gorilla, Heenan, Ventura, and McMahon. The fans that have been since the early 90s (like me) are going to say J.R. or Joey Styles. I personally feel Tony's been left out and severely overlooked. Again, Thanks for all the Inputs and Have a Good One!
Ernesto Diaz wrote:
I love it when Joey Styles says OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!! He said it at WrestleMania 22 when Edge speared Mick Foley through the flaming table.
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