NXT is a painful show to watch, but it has some of the best color commentary of anything the WWE broadcasts. It all comes down to one man.
It comes down to William Regal.
He does something that almost no one else does in the WWE anymore. He talks about the moves used in the match and how effective they are.
That isn't to say in between the action he doesn't let his personality shine or that he ignores it. Regal is fine with injecting a little character into his time on the mic and helps progress angles as well.
The second that the action starts in the ring, it changes.
That balance in commentary is something that the WWE lacks and what it sorely needs.
There is nothing wrong with using the commentary crew to push stories and certain characters on the audience, but when it is done for the entire broadcast, it becomes background noise. There needs to be some variation in what viewers hear.
Talking about the moves used in the ring could also play another purpose.
Wrestling is scripted, but fans enjoy it, because just like when they watch movies or play video games, they are able to suspend their disbelief and transport themselves into a colorful world different from the real one.
But part of that world in wrestling is the projected idea that the superstars are actually competing. When Regal makes the moves and the damage that the wrestlers inflict on each other real, it gives the match some measure of reality.
It makes it easier to lose oneself in the illusion.
When a fan hears the name of certain moves and the certain injuries that the wrestlers are accumulating, it makes it more believable that what is being shown is real.
It also injects psychology into the match.
Wrestlers like the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair need no help doing this, and that is why they are the greats, but most wrestlers can't. They need help in getting the audience to understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.
That is where commentators like Regal should come in. Adding the play-by-play into the match highlights what the men are doing and conceals their inability to project it to the audience.
The WWE doesn't need to stop being the theatre that it is. The spectacle is a large part of why people show up. The WWE needs to remember that part of the show is the idea of simulated combat.
For that to really sell, people need to see announcers who put over the action in the ring while it is happening. When it isn't, they can focus on stories.
Words, just like actions, need a balance, and both are used in wrestling. It's about time the WWE did something about it, because they need it.
At least if they want their product to go from great to one-of-a-kind once again.
Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report. He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.
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