Every now and then, you come across somebody who says that the WWE is scarce in new talent and that this is detrimental to the overall product.
For the casual wrestling fan this statement may ring true. Gone are the days when the WWE roster read like a who's who in professional wrestling. This, however, does not mean that there is no new talent in the WWE.
If anything, the opposite is true. For those pure wrestling fans out there, the WWE has never before had so many gifted wrestlers. Truth be told, not all these guys are getting pushed and that is down to creative and what the WWE feels is most marketable. That aside, wrestlers have lost the crowd—the ability to manipulate a reaction and the ability to shock us.
CM Punk turned heel on Monday Night Raw's 1000th episode. This was the WWE champion turning his back on the fans, the people who pay each week to support him.
The reaction was rather dull. No epic, collective gasp from the crowd, no "You sold out" chants and, most importantly, the following week he was still cheered! All we got from the turn was Jerry Lawler muttering, "I think CM Punk has turned his back on the WWE Universe."
Herein lies my article. Ultimately, who puts new talent over to the viewers? Creative build the character, the wrestler portrays the character and his opponent goes down for the character.
But who actually sells the character? Simple, the announcer!
The WWE has lacked a strong announcing team for some time. Michael Cole was average before he became arguably one of the strongest heels in the company. Then he became annoying.
Jerry Lawler has never been the same since his days with J.R. and his fantastic heel antics. Josh Matthews doesn't come across as convincing and just can't sell anyone.
The announcer is such an important job in wrestling. It isn't just somebody who calls the action in the ring, it is someone who conveys exactly what the atmosphere in the arena is like and, most importantly, someone who sells talent for a living.
The WWE has that talent but it does not have the tools to sell that talent.
Cue the comeback!
Enter Tazz. When Tazz was at the WWE announce table, he never held back. He called things how he saw them and, most importantly, he sold talent like no other (apart from J.R., who is in his own league).
When Brock Lesnar broke onto the scene on SmackDown, Tazz was instrumental in putting him over. When Brock negotiated the top rope to superplex the Big Show, Tazz blasted out, "Holy Sh*t!" This soundbite is etched in my memory and made me realize the significance of the moment.
Contrast this with the same situation involving Mark Henry and the Big Show. There is no real impact, just Michael Cole blabbering his usual, "Oh My!" This is not the only example of the poor standards at the announce table.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest superstar in WWE history is The Rock. When he comes back, The WWE means business. When his music hits, the crowd erupts and we at home probably mark out!
How can talented guys like Sandow, Cessaro and even Ryback, to an extent, ever expect to get over with poor announcing like this?
No doubt, if Tazz was commenting on a Ryback match, he would address the morons in the crowd who persist in chanting "Goldberg." No doubt, he would also sell Ryback's move set instead of laughing at the local jobber's misfortune.
For me, there are only two announcing combinations that will help the WWE put over its talent to the audience at home. J.R. and a Heel Jerry Lawler or Tazz and Matt Striker.
Striker is another guy who doesn't hold back Just listen to his reaction when Deisel returned at the Rumble. Any of these four could be instrumental in putting over the WWE's new talent.
If we are to be realistic, Vinnie Mac does not want J.R. anywhere near Raw. Jerry Lawler is past his best at the booth and Michael Cole, no matter how well he calls action, will never recover from his heel turn that started so well!
So, I ask the WWE to bring back Tazz from TNA purgatory and take the first step in selling its upcoming talent!