The only way the audience could suspend their disbelief with wrestling is if everyone is very into the the matches, promos, and every situation that’s being televised. Since commentators are required to be on the mic throughout the show, they must have the energy and charisma to convince everyone, watching this choreographed sport, to be convinced that this is real. They also should have the knowledge of wrestling to educate its audience by talking about wrestler’s background or strategy, say the move that’s applied, and give off their opinion on everything they see without botching it up. Another important thing about commentators is that they have to be in character so that we can be excited to hear their voice when they speak to differentiate themselves from the regular and boring commentators we see in other sports. These are the commentators that I truly enjoy listening to when watching a match that somehow show how inspirational they are in doing their job.
Number 10. – Paul Heyman
What makes Heyman so great to listen to is the fact that his voice is verbal and aggressive. When he is routing for someone, he makes it passionate and personal. Now I admit he’s low on the list because I want to remember him as the wrestling genius who created Extreme Championship Wrestling, but after that wrestling promotion declared bankruptcy, he has no choice but to go to WWF as Jerry Lawler’s replacement as a heel commentator. His job was to cheer for the Alliance for this invasion storyline against the WWF that was going on in the year 2001. He really did make you want to hate this guy if you weren’t a fan of ECW or for the Alliance. I think the problem with it is because he oversells the shit out of anyone who’s an Alliance member that it doesn’t feel anything but. Heck, even when there are moments where there’s some information that’s needed during the match he still brags about how good the Alliance is (even though that’s his job) At least he took some inspiration from Jerry Lawler to learn how to be hateful and Joey Stylez who displayed that extreme attitude towards the feel of watching wrestling.
Number 9. – Gorilla Monsoon
Who ever can guess that a hideous wrestling monster could be a gentle and mature commentator on the mic. Whenever you think of the golden age of wrestling (other than thinking of Hulk Hogan) you’re probably having his voice in his head. Since the pacing of the wrestling was slower back in the 1980’s, he had the time to say the move and describe how affective it was to witness it. I like to look at him as the straight man of wrestling because since there are so many outrageous characters in this industry he just sits there thinking to himself how ridiculous this guy is. Heck, Monsoon always routes for the fan favorite while he tries to calm down the commentators who opposes his opinion; Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura. I think that’s what keeps me from putting this guy even higher is because he’s always telling heels to stop when they’re just trying to have fun with their jobs making all feel too gray. Talk about a party-pooper.
Number 8. – Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Here’s another individual that retired as a wrestler to move on as a commentator and wouldn’t you know, he did a better job at it. Venutra always had such a distinctive voice and made matches fun to watch. Ventura always sounded like he cared, even when you knew he likely couldn’t. He has that charismatic style and the groove to actually make commentating in a wrestling show to look so fun. I love to have a rockstar character to commentate on the mic to make this industry look like its for fame! I don’t think wrestling would be as popular as it was in the 1980’s because this man’s voice had that appeal for the general public during that era. If you disagree that he has no charisma, then look it up yourself and see that he has had a movie career (Predator & Runningman) and was Governor of Minnesota.
Number 7. – Jerry “The King” Lawler
Jerry isn’t as good today as he was back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. But before this crappy PG-era, Jerry didn’t hold back on his character or his opinion on anything. He was most notorious for being controversial, making funny comments (that’s bound to make you laugh), and get extremely perverted. I laughed so hard when I hear the suggestive in-side jokes he uses like “puppies!” I love seeing him so over-excited with anything outrageous happening and, despite if you like him or not, you’ll get sucked into to his amusement. This guy is without a doubt the funniest commentator wrestling has ever had. He knows great timing and a good punchline to make whoever is listening to at least chuckle while making wrestling look believable at the same time. I think independent commentators need to take note on how Jerry execute his commentating. Too bad that WWE won’t let him do what he used to do for the sake of making the company look like a family program.
Number 6. – Vince McMahon
Ooh, I just love to hear Vince’s voice as commentator. You can tell that he was born for this because of his professionalism as commentator. Vince has been a commentator since he started his career in wrestling and he got better when he came back to the position in the mid-1990’s. I always love how Vince’s calm, relaxed, and very professional when he talks about the wrestlers on the air, but when McMahon’s excited you can hear that classic, “heel” voice of Vince that goes over the freaking top. Nowadays he does that iconic, over-the-top voice to make him that egotistical billionaire to build heat from the audience, but there are some times that I want him to go back on to commentary just because of how fun it was to hear him speak of his creations in his organization (whether if it’s bad or good).
Number 5. – Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Here’s one man that everybody loves to hate… and we love him for it! Heenan is a true color commentator that knows how to make the audience boo’ this guy and go against anyone he routes for. Sure Jesse Ventura did it before Heenan, but Heenan is so hilarious & charming that I have to put him high above the list. He was always so quick on the microphone that you were guaranteed to laugh at least once every night. He played the heel gimmick so well that you never need him to do anything else. It’s always a blast to hear him be negative when his wrestlers loose (and it’s worse if it’s a member of the Heenan family), but he’s over joyful when a wrestler, that he dislikes, looses. I’ll never forget Heenan shouting “YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! He got it!” When Ric Flair won the 1992 Royal Rumble. Part of placing the Royal Rumble 1992 as the best match of the 1990s was because of Heenan’s masterful commentary routing for Flair all the way to his victory. Heel wrestlers needs a guy like Bobby Heenan to look good despite all the hate they have received from fans and face commentators. It’s not everyday that we get to see a commentator to do great job in two wrestling organizations (WWF & WCW).
Number 4. – Don West
He is without a doubt, the most underrated commentator in all of Professional Wrestling. Since his departure as commentator, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling has gotten less exciting to watch. From an ECW body guard to an exciting commentator, that’s one hell of a step of a career. I wonder how did ECW miss this guy’s potential because his style mixed with Joey Styles would of been much more extreme. Anyway, I really find it appealing where Don brings so much excitement and believability towards everything he says on his mic. I can just remind myself of old TNA when the X-Division used to be so exciting and you can just hear Don cheering on with the same interest as the TNA fans. You can’t think of old TNA without hearing West’s excited voice. Shucks, back in the day when the company focused on internet attention, he made videos of himself selling TNA merchandise and convince you to go order it now. So why take a talented commentator like Don West in favor for a former WWE commentator that makes a lot of mistakes when commentating?… cough… cough… Tazz… cough… cough…
Number 3. – Jim Ross
I know that you’re probably shocked that Jim Ross isn’t number 1 on this list, but here’s what holds him back…
- His stupid southern slurs (slobber knocker…*face-palm).
- Kissing McMahon’s ass.
- He hypocritically let the McMahons humiliate him when he complained. that WCW was mocking him
- Apologizing to his own mother when there’s something perverted being aired on the wrestling show.
Other than that, he’s just that talented in making wrestling look and feel real with such professional commentating. Heck, I’ll bet that any sport organization outside of wrestling would want to hire this man as their commentator for their sport because he makes it that epic. When he shouts with excitement, wrestling fans too can feel energy as he does towards this match. Nowadays he only commentates when a match is going to be a classic and it does so very often. Heck, he was rewarded as Best Televison Announcer of the year by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter from 1988 to this very day!
Number 2. – Joey Styles
Nowadays, we have commentators who are over the top when making the sport that they’re commenting to be more exciting than it really is, but Joey Styles is that commentator that did first. I mean you can watch the UFC commentators doing the exact same thing that Joey Styles does whenever he’s for ECW and WWE commentating. Joey just has that gift of showing such professionalism on describing what he see and make it look educational at a wrestling fan stand point, not tedious. And at the same time, he goes really over the top when something really amazing is being witnessed. Who can ever forget hearing him say his iconic “Oh My God!” You can never have an ECW event without Joey being the voice for it because he is the voice of that beloved organization. From 1994 to 1996, his hard work was recognized as Best Television Announcer by Wrestling Observer. He was just the most fun commentator and it’s coming from a guy who just made his own style (no pun intended) and a new generation of commentators imitates that style.
Number 1. – Mike Tenay
He is without a doubt, the best commentator that professional wrestling has ever had and yet, his commentating style doesn’t sound like it’s from wrestling. While Tony Schiavone wanted to be commentating in a different sport back in WCW, Tenay just had a bloody passion for it. This is a man that doesn’t go out in the public and humiliate himself (like Jim Ross) instead he knows where he belongs and still keeps it professional as humanly possible for the sake of professional wrestling. For the fact that he’s so gifted at making wrestling look serious (no matter how ridiculous it is) he never disgraced the industry, no matter how everybody else around him messes it up. Sometimes when I see that best matches, I always wonder how much better that match would have been if Mike Tenay was commentating that match. He makes it so atmospheric, so serious, and so epic that makes him one of a kind in this industry.