The Eye On Wrestling

by Jeremy Hartley

I am quite sure, that a great majority of the readers of this column find no joy in being sick in bed for a few days. Of course, when one needs rest, and relaxation, not many things can be accomplished. This is where the wrestling video tapes, and all their little imperfections play a major roll in passing time, and adding that all important background noise when we should really be sleeping.

I don't quite know what gave me the idea to do this, but I decided to listen specifically to the many announcing teams on the tapes. After all. Wrestling commentators and color-commentators provide yours truly with what is happening during the course of a wrestling match. I thought it might be fun to rate some of the announcers and analysts, and give you a blind wrestling fan's perspective on those who call the action.

It is probably best to begin this by giving you my definition of what an ideal announcing team should be. It is the job of the play-by-play man to call the action. He should give the fans who are watching a match the correct name of a move, damage done to the opponent, ETC. After all of these steps are met, the color commentator, or analyst adds insight and reasons for why things are taking place.

It is without a doubt that the overall worst commentator has got to be Vince McMahon. I can't tell you how many wrestling events and telecasts I have walked away from, not feeling satisfied with my knowledge of what just took place. To often McMahon will describe a move, no matter what it is as, "unbelieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeviable!, "OOOOOOOOO my! What a move!, and other such descriptions. He seems to forget the fact that he is calling a wrestling match. A point could be made that McMahon is only doing what the television audience wants him to do. After all. That is what the screen is for. Right? Wrong! Whenever McMahon works with a partner, too much emphasis is placed on the argument that goes on between the two partners. When McMahon broadcasted with Jesse the Body Ventura, it was Jesse who provided the fans with the action as well as expert analysis. Now when McMahon works along side of Jerry Lawler, virtually no attention is being payed to the match at all by either man.

I have heard that many people never cared for Gorilla Monsoon's brand of announcing, but I must disagree. Unlike McMahon, Monsoon stuck to the match. His view was hardly clouded by such things as whether the men in the ring were fan favorites or not. Granted, his long pathetic feud with Bobby Heenan made his announcing suffer a little, but he never lost the ability to call a good match.

Before I get into my discussion of the best/worst announcers, let me say a few things regarding today's current crop of action callers. The Monday Nitro broadcast team has made significant improvements since its' debut a few years ago. What once was the farce of wrestling announcing teams, has now evolved into one of the most respected in the business. Tony Schevoni is no slouch when it comes to calling the blow-by-blow action. Larry Zibisco will be a wonderful analyst, but he first needs the experience with the mic to polish his delivery. Most importantly, two overlooked, and I think two of the most efficient commentators, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay, are finally getting their chance to shine in the spotlight.

Below I have compiled a list of announcers whom I consider to be the master commentators. If I failed to include one of your favorite announcers, it is probably because it is a lack of exposure that announcer receives in the national spotlight. It is not possible to rate, and view each announcer completely and accurately, since many are never presented for our critique on a national level. So Just who are these Master commentators anyway?

It is important to note here that all of the above mentioned announcers were and are truly at the top of their field. I have tried to not let personal biases stand in the way, and concentrate on facts as best I could. Depending on your own personal preferences, childhood memories, and other such life shaping events, your opinion may differ. If you really stop and think about it, I think you will begin to realize how important the wrestling announcer is when we consider the overall production of a wrestling program. It is like they say about an official in sports. The less you notice him, the better job he is doing.

And with that, the eye on wrestling is closed until next time.

Note, any questions, comments, criticisms, ETC. can be emailed to: rthunder@cris.com. I enjoy communicating with you, the fans of this great sport, and I do read every email sent to me.

Jeremy Hartley is a regular contributor to Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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