After the unsettling commentary situation from last week's RAW, which saw Jerry Lawler collapse at ringside and require hospitalization, it was uncertain who would be joining Michael Cole to commentate on Sunday's Night of Champions pay-per-view.
Those questions were answered at the top of the broadcast when former WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield appeared as the color commentator for the night.
JBL and Cole had previously worked together on SmackDown episodes and pay-per-views from June 2006 until December 2007. The chemistry between JBL and Cole, despite not commentating together for nearly five years, was still there. Cole is the only play-by-play commentator that JBL has ever known, but Cole has been very versatile since joining WWE in 1997.
Not to knock the team of Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole, but the chemistry between JBL and Cole was significantly better. Sure, a lot of the thoughts from Night of Champions, especially early on in the night, were full of warm wishes for Lawler. Lawler's recovery has been very promising, but he will need some time relaxing back at home before he even considers going back on the road with WWE.
Until that happens, it will have to be a top priority for WWE to sweeten the pot in whatever way JBL wishes in order to retain him as a regular commentator.
Cole and JBL have undeniable chemistry, but JBL also certainly has style that would probably work very well with just about any play-by-play commentator.
Even if Cole is not the guy to stick with JBL and Cole's workload is going to decrease as well, JBL could even work well with Josh Mathews, who certainly has the seniority in the company to deserve the chance at being a lead commentator on SmackDown. After all, Todd Grisham was given that opportunity just a few years ago on the same show.
JBL seems to be the color-commentary choice for RAW for the time being, but his immediate performance in a snap decision to bring him in looked like a genius choice by WWE. What seemed like little more than a pipe dream a while ago has become a reality, at least for a little while. Time is ticking on this opportunity to retain JBL's commentary services for any period of time.
With all due respect to Lawler, his commentary skills are very flawed nowadays, especially when he cannot be as off-the-wall as he was before the PG era set in. Lawler is a face now, which makes his judgment flawed at times, especially when it forces Cole, who is supposed to be neutral, to make up for the lack of a heel voice at the table.
Now, Cole is supposed to be calling the action and has to be opinionated, while Lawler can crack cheesy jokes and cheer for the good guys.
With JBL next to him, Cole was actually normal. He was able to sit there, call the action down the line and remain mostly impartial.
It was Layfield that was able to bring in the personality instead.
JBL was even able to act heelish and remain on the side of the guys that aren't supposed to be cheered. His brash style was not quite like the smooth, joke-filled words of Bobby Heenan, but was more like a realistic approach, like Paul Heyman or Jonathan Coachman used in the past.
JBL has done this before and has done this job well. If The Miz joining commentary a few weeks ago exposed anything, it was that Lawler's performance is lacking something.
The Miz is a full-time wrestler without intentions of commentating any time soon, barring a serious injury. JBL is not a wrestler anymore and excelled at Night of Champions, making the questions of "Jerry Who?" pop into some minds.
Let's all hope that Lawler is okay, but if we can face facts for a moment, Layfield is the better commentator going forward. Of course, the position seems to be Lawler's until he doesn't want it anymore, but JBL should be considered for a full position, should he wish to take it.
It isn't like Layfield is in need of the money. His background as a stock-market whiz and entrepreneur for business ventures spells trouble for WWE. He doesn't need this job, so make him want this job instead.
SmackDown commentary has been missing something since Booker T left the table to become the general manager. Perhaps entering Layfield in there following a Lawler return will help mellow Cole out a bit and vault Josh Mathews to a more respectable position in commentary.
We will not know for sure until Lawler returns to television, but we can all enjoy the self-proclaimed Wrestling God as a god of commentary.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!