Announce Team Overhaul in the WWE

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.


The 7/25 Edition of Raw: Was That So Hard?

There is so much that can be said about Tonight’s Monday Night Raw.  Many were looking at this as a new beginning with Triple H now taking the wheel and running things.  You can’t go into talking about Raw without first talking about how they started off with the WWE Championship match.  The second that Rey won it, I just had a feeling that either Alberto Del Rio was gonna cash in or that Rey would lose the belt at the end of the night.  Unfortunately I was proven right and Rey lost the belt later on in a match with John Cena, but more on that part later.

The moment that everybody seemed to be waiting on was to see the so-called “State of the WWE” done by Triple H.  He gave a speech and gave little tribute to Vince, announced that Cena would face Rey Mysterio, like we didn’t know where that was heading, and he talks about a named that he “re-signed” and brought back to Raw.  Everybody thought it was CM Punk until Good Ol’ JR himself Jim Ross made his return and the crowd loved it, myself included. Then Michael Cole has to get up on the table, microphone in hand to throw his little temper tantrum about JR being back.  Then Triple H tells him that while he’s not gonna fire him, that Cole can quit but will lose everything.  He then went as far as to force Cole into a match and said he had til Smackdown to make a decision.  So bottom line is Cole can either choose his pride and quit but lose everything or he can keep his mouth shut, do as he’s told and keep his job. I think we’re starting to see a transition of Michael Cole disappearing from the broadcast table or at least on Raw. Face facts that there is no way given the history that you’re gonna have those 3 at the same table.  The people have been practically BEGGING to have Jim Ross back with Jerry Lawler on Raw and to be honest, listening to those two do commentary again on Raw was the first time in a long time where I watched Raw and the announce team wasn’t giving me a headache.

Just when we thought that was it, out comes R-Truth with his whole psycho-ghetto gimmick complete with banter about Little Jimmy.  This was of course met with Triple H making fun of him and just when Truth is leaving all pissed, Triple H announces another return to Raw. Out comes John Morrison who beats the crap out of Truth, even hits him with the Starship Pain.  So, in the span of 10-20 minutes, two big returns took place on Raw.  So far, just from this part alone I’m loving the new Triple H regime.

Then you have Cole coming out to Triple H’s music, wearing his gear, trying to act like The Game and I do mean “trying” and badly I might add, and gets in the ring for his match against an opponent that Triple H picked out.  Out comes the lord of the Internet himself and I’m talking about the man, the myth, the legend, Long Island Iced Z himself Zack Ryder.  He beats Cole in seconds with the Rough Rider, getting TV time and winning his first match back on Raw. And Michael Cole is left blubbering in the ring almost worse than he did after Lawler shoved his foot into his mouth.  I have a feeling that even if Cole says he’s not quitting, the humiliation marathon is gonna continue for him because I just have this feeling that Triple H is gonna make his life a living hell until Cole breaks down and actually quits. Cause Triple H wouldn’t have brought JR back without the intention of getting rid of Michael Cole.

Now, the match with John Cena and Rey Mysterio which was actually not bad.  To cut a long story short, John Cena wins the belt back.  He even helps up Rey, shakes his hand and raises his arm to the crowd.  Then, we all hear some different music and are left wondering who it is until CM Punk returns with the belt and the crowd going ballistic for him.  The show ends with both men holding up the titles, leaving the question as to who is the real WWE Champion? John Cena or CM Punk?  And in turn, setting up for a match at Summerslam with a score to be settled between the two.

I’ll be as perfectly honest as I can when I say this: I fricking LOVED tonight’s Raw.  This was the best Raw that I’ve seen in a while.  I said that if Triple H was going to take over, he needed to make an impact and he didn’t disappoint.  Zack Ryder gets a match and some TV time, Michael Cole is humiliated, Jim Ross returns to the announce table where he belongs, John Morrison makes his return and CM Punk returns to Raw.  What more could anyone ask for than this?  So many returns happening and honestly with all that happened tonight, the ratings have gotta be up for this edition of Raw.  Old faces returning and for once, we saw the announce team doing what has seldom been done for over the last year or so: Calling The FUCKING Action Going On in the Ring!!!!!

And this is just on Raw, can you imagine what the hell is going to happen on Smackdown? They already advertised that Triple H was gonna be on it, so that has to mean some changes or things to happen on that show as well.  Bottom line is that things right now look like they’re about to get interesting in the WWE.  And really, I can’t help but think “What took you guys so long?”  Seriously, the problems were there but the solutions were plain as day and yet they didn’t start to be used until now. By no means am I cursing them for what transpired on Raw, I’m simply saying that it’s about time that the WWE started to put some effort into their own product.  First night of the new regime and new era, so far so good. Let’s see if the WWE can keep this up to and past Summerslam.