Jim Ross made his return to the announce table on Raw tonight, something that was long overdue because frankly the duo of Cole and Lawler is not working. We all know that given the past history over the last couple of months, there’s no way you’re going to get those 3 to work together at the same announce table. Hell, you’d have a better chance at Mike Adamle making a WWE return than of that happening. This can be the start of an angle that probably should’ve happened after Wrestlemania in Michael Cole being off of Raw.
We get it, they tried to make a heel character out of the guy, but having him on 2-3 shows a week served only in overdosing the audience with the character to the point where all the viewing public could think was “Just shut the fuck up and call the match, you worthless asshole.” I get that JR at the time had health problems among other things going on, but no fan was ready to see him go and to replace him with Michael Cole was not a step-up. If anything it was a huge downgrade that was so poor of a decision that you’re surprised that Vince Russo didn’t make the decision.
Vince McMahon seemed to always love the idea of a 3-person announce team on the weekly shows, but it’s never worked. All the attempts he’s made for it have really done is just show that he shouldn’t have tried to fix what wasn’t broken in the first place. He wants to use WCW as an example of their attempts at it, you’re trying to compare to the same company that had Eric Bischoff on commentary along with Steve McMichael? The last time they tried to add somebody in the middle of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, it was Jonathan Coachman and it didn’t work.
By adding Jim Ross back to the Raw announce team, it’s hopefully a sign that they’re getting a clue that the announce team needs to be shaken up a little because what they’ve been doing for the last year or two isn’t working. I’ve said this before that announcers need to sell the product that is going on in the ring. It’s part of the process of helping the audience take an interest to the guys in the ring and helps the up and comers start to build some momentum and get over. In the time where you’ve had announce teams bickering, bitching and moaning to each other, what has been accomplished? You have Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase all stuck in the mid-card because for the longest time, some jackass in the WWE thought it’d be a good idea to have announcers fighting with each other outside of the ring, despite that the real fighting and real wrestling was going on in the goddamn ring.
Heel commentators don’t work like they used to anymore. These days, all that people really want is for the guys on the headset and microphone to call the action and describe what is going on to the audience, nothing more. In terms of Michael Cole and his character, it’s tired and stale. It’s been over-used and over-exposed and nobody on that damn creative team has ever been able to figure out how to give proper closure to it, but the truth is that his character has damaged any kind of credibility he had when all he used to do was call the action. Given the guy was not the best at it just as he stinks at it now with messing up moves and belittling some of the people in the ring that leaves the audience to think “If he’s not taking this seriously, why should we?”
I’ve said this topic over and over again despite how some guys in forums keep seeming to go back and forth about topics like the announce team and Michael Cole. Gee, no wonder I retired from participating in the forums on wrestling sites. Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan were heels, but they still did their job as announcers. They didn’t let their biases towards the heel wrestlers distract or ruin the matches going on. As far as confrontations or bickering/arguing with other commentators, the most we got in those days was a “Will you be serious?” from Gorilla Monsoon towards Bobby Heenan or Jesse Ventura. But that was it because after that, they just went back to calling the match and the action taking place.
Announcers are supposed to help move the story along. When you have guys like Michael Cole arguing with Booker T or Jerry Lawler, that’s distracting from the action going on in the ring as opposed to calling the action in the ring. In short, it is not and I repeat NOT DOING THEIR JOB. Jim Ross needed to be brought back because the fans wanted him back and even Jerry Lawler himself preferred to have him back. We’ve seen this change take place, now let’s see something get done with Smackdown because I actually missed when it used to be Grisham & Striker. Booker T & Cole are bickering nonstop with each other and leaving Matthews out in the cold and not getting the practice he ought to be getting. As for Booker T, all his arguments with Cole are making the fans wonder “Whose dumbass idea was it to put him at the announce table?”
For proper pro wrestling to work like it should, the announcers are the one that describe the story while the wrestlers in the ring tell it through actions. That’s always been the formula and that’s always been how it works. To have the announcers not give their undivided attention to the action in the ring or to spend more time hurling insults at each other than calling the match, that’s not a formula but a pure mess. Audiences will only take the matches as seriously as the guys that are calling it. If the guys calling it are not taking it seriously and think it’s crap not worth talking about, than the fans are gonna assume that it’s crap that’s not worth watching. The sooner that the WWE accepts that the announce teams are hurting the product more than helping it/selling it, the closer we’ll get to have something that’s watchable and that won’t require the mute button.