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The Katz Files
Top 2009 Wrestling Announcers
The Kingfish Arnie Katz picks his favorite WWE and TNA announcers for 2009.

The pro wrestling show depends on the skill of the wrestlers, but the announcers can make an ordinary match seem special or kill the heat for one that’s a genuine main event.

It isn’t easy to call matches or contribute meaningful color commentary. You can tell it’s a hard job; just think of all the people who washed out in recent years.

One thing that makes it harder than it might appear is that the booth sends constant stream of instructions during the card. When you hear the play-by-player-caller obsess about some future match while a perfectly good one is actually in progress, you can be pretty sure that someone has nagged him about hyping the one that seems to have him excited.

My Favorite Announcers of 2009

Michael Cole. RAW’s play-by-play man has emerged from the shadow of the great Jim Ross since taking over WWE’s flagship. His new confidence has translated into strong match-calling. His best years lie ahead, but he is already star.

Jerry Lawler. Although The King isn’t as good as he was a few years ago, he is still capable of a great quip or a telling insight.

Matt Stryker. He’s the new kid on the block, but the former wrestler is extremely articulate and is the color commentator most likely to tell you something that isn’t a straight-out cliché. Stryker is still positioning his on-air character, so he has shown a little inconsistency, but he has ever chance to become dominant in his role, like Jesse Ventura and Jerry Lawler at the height of their announcing powers.

Taz. Taz could step up his game a little, but he remains the most colorful color-man in pro wrestling. He has become the most likely to say something funny.

I’ll tackle another category tomorrow – and check back on New Year’s Day for my “Best of the Year” picks.

I hope everyone is having a terrific holiday season!

— Arnie Katz
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