This thought hit me as I was writing up an NXT Nutshell recently. As anyone who reads my Nutshells should know, I’ve basically retired the “Commentary of the Night” section from RAW-partly because I added some others, partly because they were not giving me much to work with on a regular basis. But in the NXT version? The section is still there. So I wondered: Is this because NXT is still fresh to me (having only regularly been watching/doing Nutshells since last month), or is this because I’ve been watching RAW for years and, in spite of some shuffling here and there, it’s the same old same old? But what also had this going is the new SmackDown team of Jerry Lawler and Mauro Ranallo.
Now, I fully admit I do not habitually watch SmackDown (but who knows, that could get¬† a Nutshell too, if the interest is there!). But I do follow Lawler on Twitter, and when he went back to heel announcer, along with his pairing with Ranallo, and most of what I see on Twitter is fans loving the announce team. Some comments have been so positive, that the comments alone have almost inspired me to watch the show.
So, is the RAW team the worst crew? Or are they just stale to me?
I have nothing against Cole or JBL, but Byron adds little to the mix. If they decided to eliminate the third seat entirely, I’d be perfectly fine with that. I think most fans would be. My beef with JBL is that he’s not 100 percent a heel commentator. And I think there needs to be that balance. He’s more heel than not, but he still wavers. On the other two shows, you have effectively a fully dedicated heel announcer, and I think that makes a big difference. And yes, part of me does miss Lawler on RAW, but even that had gotten stale, and he was not playing much of a heel role like he is now.
Now, my big thing is if I see an issue, to not just complain about it, but to offer some potential fixes. Since 2 of the 3 seem to be working well, I wouldn’t change them. I’ve seen fans lobbying for Lawler and Ranallo to take over RAW duties, and that could be interesting, but I say leave them where they are for now. Assuming you want to keep JBL and Cole on RAW, who could be a new third (again, if we aren’t eliminating a superfluous seat). The popular choice would be someone like Daniel Bryan, but I have a feeling he is going to be a Superstar who assimilates well to the retired life, and won’t much miss the grind of the life on the road. If he’s on the announce team, he’s not fully escaping that grind.
Thinking outside the box-and recognizing that someone, somewhere, might give WWE grief if they removed Saxton and replaced him with Bryan-why not a retired Diva? Or, a mainstream broadcaster with an interest in sports, and perhaps a fondness of, or a willingness to learn, wrestling? Not saying Erin Andrews, but someone in that mold perhaps. Why must the female non-wrestling talent be relegated to ring announcing and backstage interviews? I don’t know if there’s anyone out there right now that would fit that bill, but I think I’d enjoy watching WWE explore that as a possibility-because it would be, if nothing else, new and fresh.
So, I ask you, WNZ readers: is the RAW announce team the worst of the three? And how would you fix that (if you would even bother fixing it)?