Every time Jim Ross gets behind a commentating table, he brings back the lost art of old-school match-calling. Being one of the most respected commentators in the business, Ross is spending more time settling down his career after over 40 years. Recently, Ross signed a two-year deal with WWE, after calling the Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns match. The deal for Ross is that he had an expected amount of dates to call matches throughout this period of time. While it seemed as if Ross was going to be back in a more frequent position, he made it very clear that he has no interest in traveling much anymore, as his career is winding down.
“At this stage of my career, I am much more interested in the quality of my work rather then the frequency of travel of it which translates to; I am not interested in going back on the road every week as I did for so many years. Working on events such as the U.K. special, the occasional NXT booking, etc are right down my alley and are projects that I get to work with new partners and new talents which is always fun. As I mentioned on a recent Ross Report, I love ‘coming out of the bullpen’ and trying to throw a few strikes whenever WWE deems I’m needed.”
The old-school vs. new-school debate continues to be a hot topic in the professional wrestling community. From the numerous tweets over the past few weeks defending either side, respective proponents are not willing to soften their stance on which type of wrestling is the best and most audience-supported style. For the old-school supporters, characters and storylines are at the forefront. Engaging fans based on what happens outside of the ring was the vital component, since arenas were sold out based on who headlined the show. Although a solid wrestling match is a very important factor, the strong character covered up any performance flaws in the ring.
One of the most popular examples of this is the “irresistible force” vs. “immovable object” match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Although the quality of the match from an athletic standpoint was not impressive, it will go down as one of the most memorable matches in WrestleMania history based on the narrative heading into the event, giving it a massive “larger than life” feel.
From the standpoint of new school, characters still matter, but the story is told more in the ring. Oftentimes, matches are booked with little to no build, but the fans remember bouts based on the amazing level of athleticism inside the ring. The overall perception of a face or heel turn is not as big, but some crowds who are known for putting themselves over make the process much more difficult anyway.
The new-school feel was illustrated by the WWE UK Championship match between Tyler Bate and Pete Dunn at NXT TakeOver: Chicago on the eve of Backlash. The match was so well-received by old-school and new-school proponents, even names such as Steve Austin had to publicly express praise for the job well done.
What made the match even more successful was the commentating team that called the contest, Jim Ross and Nigel McGuiness. While many were skeptical of how WWE would replace the successful duo of Tom Phillips and Corey Graves, McGuiness has used his time behind the Ring of Honor broadcasting booth, along with his pro wrestling career that lasted over a dozen years, to provide an expert form of commentary. Percy Watson adds a sense of flavor to the team, making the trio very pleasing to hear.
During the match, Ross and McGuiness worked very well together, and Ross wrote about his positive experience in his latest blog. Ross stated that McGuiness was a tremendous broadcast partner, and they did a solid job together. He also is confident that they will get even better with more “reps.” Ross also praised the match, stating that both competitors have a bright future if they continue to steer the course.
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