Commenting on the Commentators
A Look At The WWE Announce Teams
August 4, 2003 - by Emer Prevost
Over the years, the WWE has given us some great announce teams. Instantly,
teams like Bobby Heenan & Gorilla Monsoon, or Jesse Ventura & Gorilla Monsoon.
Hell, you can even say that the short lived team of Tony Schiavone & Jesse
Ventura was a good team. Pity that most of the current announce teams can't be
put in that same category. I'm not saying they suck, but some of these pairs
have to be broken up and given better people to work with.
Next, let's look at Tazz and Michael Cole. Cole is a great announcer, but he is
still in need of some assistance. Michael Cole seems to only have two emotions,
those being "watching paint dry" and "I just saw a guy's head explode and the
body is still moving freely." But, Cole's skills have really improved since he
first stepped up to a headset. Michael Cole, if he continues to work hard at
the stick, can and will go places in the commentary department. Hell, if he
continues to hone his skill, we may be talking about him in the same league as
The Brain or Gorilla.
Let's take "The Cat" Ernest Miller and Josh Mathews. Now, The Cat shouldn't be
in a booth, he should be in the ring. The same can be said for Mathews. Both
of these guys have a lot of skill. It befuddles me to see good talent wasted
commentating a show that nobody watches. Maybe one of these two, if the WWE
insists on them being at an announce booth, might find it right to put one of
them (if not both of them) on RAW and replace JR and the King. I'll cover the
RAW team in a bit.
What am I saying? No one will ever be as good as Bobby or Gorilla. Ever. 'Nuff said.
You see, every time Lesnar comes out pretending to be the Ultimate Warrior (you
know, running to the ring, looking constipated, hell, Lesnar looks like he wants
to shake the crap out of the ring ropes every time he climbs into a ring), Tazz
has to scream (in a Joey Styles fashion), 'Here comes the pain!!!'. To me, it
feels like everyone's favorite Red Hook native just doesn't want to say this
retarded catchphrase, but he has to in order to get his paycheck. But, this
isn't all Tazz's fault. If you've read my columns in the past, you know as well
as I do that most of the crap on WWE TV today comes from the writers, and I
think that this stupid line came from one of them.
Tazz, on the other hand, works wonders in the play-by-play department. He has
Mike Tenay's knowledge of moves (makes sense, since Tazz is a technical wizard),
but he actually has a personality. Tazz can easily tell us the name of a suplex
or describe the damage of a submission hold and keep his color commentator
persona intact. In fact, looking at the two main announce teams (the RAW team
and the SmackDown! team), Tazz is the one that I have the least complaints
about. To be honest, the only problem with him comes from Brock Lesnar.
Now, some of you are probably wondering why I'm not tearing into Tazz for
commentating rather than being in the ring. Well, he's paid his due to
wrestling. He's been injured so many times that it isn't even funny, and has
been wrestling for years. The Cat has to finish paying his dues, just like
everyone else involved in that stupid 'Blood Runs Cold' angle. Ernest Miller
still has what it takes to climb into that ring, and he shouldn't have to work a
headset when he could be headlining the very show he works on (Miller could work
on SmackDown!, but the odds are better of him going to Velocity to wrestle.
Yes, everyone. Like the rest of the wrestling world, I feel that The Coach is
the worst commentator in the WWE since Rob Bartlett. Coach seems to have no
real feeling for the sport at all. He doesn't call the matches, he just tries
to hype the main event, nothing more. Why do we need an annoying putz shilling
for the lackluster main event on RAW or on the next PPV and not doing much of
Now, let's take a look at the Heat announce team.
In my opinion, Al Snow is one of the best commentators in the WWE today. His
wrestling experience (like Tazz's) has led to him calling the matches
flawlessly. The funny thing is that Al is supposed to be the color commentator
of the team, but he does both play-by-play and color with near perfection (just
like Tazz). But, most people may not agree with this. The main reason is
because Snow has to work harder to keep the show going because he is placed with
the WWE's own commentating driftwood, Jonathan Coachman.
Since I just got finished with Coach, let's cover the other half of the current
temporary RAW team.
Well, okay. Coach doesn't just shill the main event or PPV. He actually does
try to call the matches. But, he is dismal at it. He sounds like he came in in
the middle of the match and has no clue what the hell is going on. Mind you, he
sounds like this for THE WHOLE DAMN MATCH!!! Who the hell can sound and act
that clueless? I don't really think that the Coach has a gimmick of being a
retard, do you?
But, the Coach isn't all bad. He is still able to do the backstage interviews.
Even though he still sucks at it, it isn't as bad as when he has to commentate
with someone with some competence, like Al Snow.
What do you get when you have a wrestler with 33 years of experience step up and
throw on a headset? You get the second worst announcer currently with the WWE,
Jerry "The King" Lawler. I'm not saying that Lawler isn't good, but his on air
character is sickening. All he does is gawk at the divas and shill for the
bigger events (just like the Coach).
Now, I ask you, the intelligent reader, this: Can you have a good announce team
with two guys shilling the main event/upcoming PPV and not even calling the
match? The answer there is a big no. So, knowing this, why does the WWE want
to replace JR with the Coach? That question puzzles even me. I can see JR
being replaced because it's time for him to step down. I understand that. But,
why the [censored] would you want to replace him with the Coach?!
Overall, the announce team of The King and The Coach is disastrous at best.
Neither man is entertaining enough to carry the show. Hell, JR has a tough
enough time carrying Jerry on RAW and Al Snow has an even tougher time carrying
The Coach on Heat. When the weak links of two different announce teams work
together, it can only lead to failure. Plain and simple.
Back to the King. You would expect 33 years of wrestling to mean something in
the WWE when it comes to commentary. Jerry could do what Tazz and Al Snow do
and use his experience to better enhance the viewers take on the match. Have we
ever heard Lawler talk about how painful a piledriver is (which Jerry should
know, since it was his finisher)? No. Has Lawler ever talked about the lasting
effects of injuries? Hell no! The only thing Jerry is good for in the booth is
ogling the babes and nothing more.
Well, now that we've covered the current temporary RAW announce team. Let's
look at Good Ol' JR.
Again, I can't say that there is anything wrong with JR. But, his skills as a
play-by-play man have diminished greatly since his bouts of Belle's Palsy.
Once, we could understand everything Jim Ross said with perfect clarity, but
now, everything is garbled and sometimes even slurred. For this reason, JR
should have stepped down in 1998. Before I get any nasty mail, I'm not saying
that he shouldn't be announcing because he's a palsy victim. No. I think that
he shouldn't be putting on the headset again because we can't totally understand
him. It's almost like having Vito Corleone (Brando's Vito, not De Niro's) in
the booth every Monday. I'm a fan of "The Godfather", but not that big of a
Another problem, and this might be a character "quirk", is that JR seems to get
too excited too fast. If you look back at my comments on Michael Cole, you'll
see what I mean (look for "I just saw a guy's head explode..."). This leads into
him spouting one of his many tired catchphrases. The only positive side of JR
not being on RAW lately is that I don't have to hear about slobberknockers or
JR's weekly Triple H whine (you know, most cases end with JR calling Trips a son
of a bitch) . But, most people would know about it if I said one word...
Yes, I'm talking about JR shouting one word or phrase up to four times (but,
it's usually three, thus the term triplicate). The first memorable moment like
this happened at WrestleMania XIV. That night, JR did it twice within five
minutes (those being a chant of "Austin!", the other a chant of "Tyson!") after
the main event.
But, in all honesty, with the only replacement option being The Coach, I will be
the first to say that I want that tired old Okie on that headset. Without
someone to actually do play-by-play, RAW would suck even more than it does now.
If Vince and his crew (which JR is a part of) can't see this, then they will see
as RAW's ratings drop because people can't stand Jonathan Coachman.
Overall, I have to say this much about the WWE announce teams of today... They're
better than Vince McMahon was doing it. Yes, everyone, I feel that the
commentating "skills" of the Coach surpass Vince's announcing "acumen", but not
Don't worry. Tonight I looked at the current announcers. But, my Wayback
Machine is primed and ready for my next article. In it, I'll look at the
previous announcers in the WWF, as well as a look at a few WCW announcers, and
maybe even the commentators of ECW. So, keep looking here for my next
by Emer Prevost
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