Professional wrestling commentating in the WWE has changed drastically over the past two decades. Back when Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were dominating the airwaves on Monday Night Raw, they put a lot of attention into the matches and put over the stars on a regular basis. However, in a recent interview on ESPN, Ross said that things are very different now.
The Difference In WWE Announcing
The biggest thing that old school fans remember about Jim Ross, and before him names like Gorilla Monsoon and Gordon Solie, it is that the announcers were recognizable voices and had characters of their own. They were calling matches and putting over wrestlers and did it in their own style – which is why those three men are WWE Hall of Fame commentators.
Jim Ross admitted in the interview that fans have a very different perspective on the announcing during WWE broadcasts today. He did emphasize that it wasn’t necessarily the talent’s fault but was instead because they are overproduced.
When it comes to the new announcers, Jim Ross said that there are “a lot of different producers” that dictates how a broadcast sounds. People are telling the commentators what to say, what to sell, and what taglines to pound into the fan’s minds. It has always been known that Vince McMahon is always talking in announcer’s ears, but it sounds like there is more than just the one man telling them what to say.
“It’s their skill-set, a lot of them, and it’s what is asked of them to perform and to do… It’s a different mindset, they were raised differently. They have different values and they perceive things [differently].”
The New Breed Of WWE Announcers
While the old-school wrestling commentating teams have many fans throughout the years, the commentating teams today are not as respected. There are those announcers that rise above the rest. The two biggest names are Corey Graves, who works as the color man on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, and Mauro Ranallo, who calls matches on WWE NXT.
However, those are the two exceptions to the rule. The most prominent name that fans like to complain about is Michael Cole, the man who replaced Jim Ross as the voice of Monday Night Raw. However, while Ross called the matches and put over stars, Cole almost seems more willing to talk about hashtags on Twitter and spout out catchphrases.
The other names include Booker T, who uses the same character as an announcer that he did as a wrestler, and names like Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness. Out of those four individuals, Nigel has a distinct personality thanks to his illustrious history as a wrestler. The others are almost interchangeable with the Michael Cole form of announcing.
However, that doesn’t mean that all is lost in the world of WWE commentating as Jim Ross said that all announcers have just one primary job – regardless of the producers talking in their ears.
“The point is, any broadcaster that’s good is a storyteller at heart… They also have a keen sensitivity to their demographic, and their target audience, and they never deviate too far from that target audience and what they believe that target audience is interested in.”
The WWE has changed, and Jim Ross says the commentating has changed along with it.
[Featured Image by WWE]