After watching the WWE Fast Lane pre-show one thought wouldn’t escape my mind, and it wasn’t about the title match. How good was Mauro Ranallo on commentary?
He was incredible. Calling correctly all of the technical moves that Del Rio and Kalisto were using and adding an exciting, entertaining element to what was a minor pre show affair. Mauro sounded genuinely excited to be on the show and happy to be commentating a wrestling event, he sounded authentic and wasn’t being fed a script. He disappeared once the main show aired and Michael Cole arrived, looking bored, uninterested and very uncomfortable. Cole then proceeded to call every match of the night, making numerous wrong calls, missing out vital parts of storylines and calling incorrect moves. It was almost embarrassing that a guy who has been such a vital part of commentary in the last decade can be so inconsistent on a big show. This continued on the following Raw, as he called a 450 splash a ‘shooting star press’ a move that is completely different.
It had me thinking back to previous commentary teams from other events and eras and whether the commentary really was the glue that held a match together.
Arguably the greatest commentary team of all time, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler would use each other and their contrasting personalities to create magic on the headset, and their speaking and selling would make the superstars hated or cheered. It’s almost impossible to see Stone Cold Steve Austin without hearing JR scream ‘Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!’ or ‘Tyson and Austin!’ or even ‘Oh yeah! Austin got McMahon!’. That’s 3 examples of one of the greatest ever being PUT OVER. All it took was Jim Ross selling Austin as the most exciting, most profitable, most popular star from every organisation ever. How will we ever create the stars of tomorrow if JBL is constantly referencing other mainstream TV shows like The Walking Dead? Or if Michael Cole is so focused on listening to Vince scream orders in the headset that he forgets to call the actual WRESTLING moves that are being performed.
Sure, I understand that it is entertainment. However the entertainment comes from what we see and hear. We see WRESTLING. So why don’t we hear the moves that we can see in front of us? Storytelling comes from the moves and the actions taking place in the ring. We have heard some classic calls from Mick Foley falling from the cell, Brock and Big Show breaking the ring, Hogan slamming Andre, Michaels superkicking Jannetty.
I can’t think of any ‘memorable’ calls in the past few years other than ‘Oh my!’ or ‘Wow!’ which don’t relate to a specific wrestler or performer. Mauro Ranallo was a breath of fresh air and outrage ensued when it was revealed that he was not on the main show. Think of some of the greatest commentators of the generations. Solie, Monsoon, McMahon, Heenan, Ross, Lawler…… Cole?? Maybe it’s time for a switch in the commentary box, because personally, it’s ruining what could potentially be incredible viewing and fun entertainment, along with good wrestling and stars being created.
Let me know opinions in the comments!
Thanks for reading.