Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the WWE announcing team SUCKS!!! I know, I know, old news right, but allow me to lend my unique voice to this growing situation of how much these guys continuously fail every week and why the WWE fans would rather suffer through electric shock therapy than listen to Michael Cole’s whiny voice, JBL’s ass kissing or Booker T’s “jive” talk. This has been a consistent problem for years but this is not something the WWE really cares about. They have had a strict code for all of their announcers to follow over the last few years…..none of which have anything to do with actual wrestling. No, because in recent years, it has been about whoring out to advertisers, shilling the WWE Network (which I do have), taking selfies, using catchphrases and trying their hardest to steal the show away from the ACTUAL wrestlers in the ring. This whole thing revolves around one man: Vince McMahon. Vince has never tried to find the next Jim Ross…….he wanted to find the next Vince McMahon on commentary. Vince had his strengths on commentary: that booming voice of his was perfect for commentary, he could sell his bullshit strongly and he came up with some very good calls in his career. He also had his faults: he didn’t know jack shit about actual wrestling, he didn’t know about the wrestlers’ past or how they got to the WWE, he tried WAY too hard to put his stupid gimmicks instead of giving respect to the wrestlers and he sounded like that annoying family member that you try to avoid at the family reunion.
So, over the past few years, Vince McMahon has been looking for the person to follow in HIS footsteps, not JR’s. Vince never liked JR, he always wanted to replace him with someone who was younger, hipper, wasn’t a Southerner and had a fully functional face. This leads us to Michael Cole: the top whore himself. I can’t sit here and tell you that Cole actually sucks at his job. His job, according to the WWE, is to shill merchandise, talk about social media, the WWE network, talk about the top stars and that’s about it. So from that perspective, Cole does his job quite well. It’s just that, you know, WRESTLING STUFF that he has a hard time in calling. On commentary, I hate Michael Cole, always have. I could never stand his whiny voice, he was constantly a condescending little asshole and all he does is say exactly what Vince McMahon says through his earpiece (not everything but a good portion of it).
Plus, there have been huge and unforgivable blunders that Cole has committed that other people would be fired for already! Remember Mike Adamle and his “Jeff Harvey” screw up? Yea, Cole has about 20 of those a night! Here are some examples: remember the time when he said the Hell in a Cell was so dangerous that you could “get your finger caught in the Cell?” How about when he said that the steel flooring of the Elimination Chamber felt like “concrete?” How about how he and Coach damn near ruined the main event of Wrestlemania 24 by throwing out catchphrases instead of calling the match? These are just a few of the examples that has plagued Michael Cole but not all of it is his fault though. From 2002-2004 with Tazz, Cole was actually good…..not great but good. He and Tazz had a great rapport between the two of them and they were getting better with every broadcast. However, once they started lining Cole up as the next #1 announcer, he basically stopped trying to call wrestling and just focused on throwing out his catchphrases, making up new ones and losing a general interest in the wrestling stuff just to do what Vince McMahon wanted him to do…..without any arguments whatsoever.
Cole wasn’t the only one either. Jonathan Coachman was blandness personified as a babyface announcer and over the top “everybody needs to listen to me” as a heel announcer. Todd Grisham constantly had this “deer in the headlights” look on his face and wasn’t emotional enough on commentary to sell the product to me……when a person is trying their hardest to fake emotions instead of letting them naturally happen, you’re doing a horrible job. At the very least, Vince was emotional and you could hear it. Booker T…..what more can I say about Booker T? He’s not an announcer, he’s a fucking character playing an announcer, that’s it! JBL was awesome back in 2006-2007 but he’s pretty much fallen into a line of repetitiveness that he refuses to escape from; unlike Mick Foley and Tazz, JBL can deal with Vince in his ear to do his job. Josh Matthews never captured my interest as an announcer and Matt Striker had a good mind for wrestling but I couldn’t take him splooging himself every night about all of the wonderful details and facts he picked up about Wrestler A.
And then there’s Jerry Lawler……my how the mighty have fallen. King used to be funny, King used to rile up his co-announcers, King used to have energy and life to him……..now he’s just a guy working a 9 to 5 job and it’s because repetitive to him. He does the job because it’s second nature by now. All he has to do is sit there, give his insight every now and then and eat junk food that the WWE wants him to eat to please the advertisers (no wonder he had a heart attack). King hasn’t been himself since he returned in 2001……the time he spent away from JR and allowing Paul Heyman to take his spot (and outshine him) was something King could never combat. He was a relic of the past but yet he constantly stayed in his spot. JR often came and went….King always stayed. Remember the good ol’ days when King would threaten to punch Michael Cole for saying something stupid? Those days are long gone……now King agrees with everything Michael says, not just out of professionalism but because people in his ear are telling him to do it.
Vince’s perfect example of an announcer are the ones we see on RAW and Smackdown. The less they know about wrestling, the better. The more they can advertise the WWE’s bullshit, the better. The more they can listen and do what Vince says, the better. It’s not hard to do the job the way the company wants them to do it, it’s hard to do the job right, as in what it actually is supposed. These announcers have no authority over me because when they talk, I don’t listen……but if I do listen, I don’t listen for the right reasons. If Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are disgusted with the actions of a wrestler, I don’t listen. If Jerry Lawler is eating a Subway sandwich with Michael Cole shilling it, I might listen and go get me a Subway sandwich…….but I won’t be watching RAW when I come back. None of them have that voice of authority, none of them make me want to listen (they make me want to blow my brains out sometimes) and all of them are doing this because Vince McMahon is telling them to be like that. They are his whores, he is their pimp, they do what he tells them to do and they don’t argue (if they do, they get smacked). They definitely aren’t quality whores but they are cheap and affordable and most people would be willing to listen.
To end this, I believe real wrestling commentary is a dying art. I can’t think of any promotion that is actually trying to do it the right way (sure, some promotions have good commentators but they aren’t treating it like it was treated back in the day). Call me an old soul who longs for the good ol’ days but I prefer listening to Gorilla and Brain bickering, Gorilla and Jesse bickering, JR and King bickering and Gordon Solie taking things seriously over “$9.99!!!!!” any day.
Tags: Douces Wild, jbl, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, VInce McMahon