When Jerry "The King" Lawler returned to the announcer's table a couple weeks ago after missing nine weeks due to a heart attack, he was greeted by Michael Cole and Jim Ross. As soon as Lawler assumed his position, however, Ross was nowhere to be found. For the betterment of commentary on both RAW and SmackDown, though, Ross and Lawler should be paired once again.
Most fans consider Ross to be the greatest professional wrestling commentator of all time. While he may not be at the same level he once was, he is still the best in the business. Nobody is as sharp as Ross in terms of history, terminology and the current product, and that knowledge shouldn't go to waste.
Ross is excellent in his role as the NXT Wrestling announcer, but only a small percentage of WWE fans are willing or able to watch it on a regular basis. RAW is unquestionably the flagship show of WWE, so the best commentary team possible should be in place there.
Ross and Lawler provided commentary together for many years and were present for the best run in the company's history. As such they are romanticized to some degree, but there is no doubt that they were excellent as a unit. Some might argue that Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan were better, but Ross and Lawler were an iconic team nonetheless.
Neither Ross nor Lawler are in their primes as announcers, but because they have so much experience working together, they can feed off each other; and the pure nostalgia factor would be exciting for the fans.
Cole has performed much better since dropping the heel character and just becoming a normal announcer, but his chemistry with King is nothing compared to what Ross's. Despite Cole's face character, Lawler continues to make jokes about how he doesn't like him when Cole mentions their awful match at WrestleMania. The back-and-forth ultimately detracts from the commentary.
A little dissension at the announce table is fine, but it has to be done right. Clearly Ross and Lawler were friends during the Attitude Era, but Lawler tended to side with the heels to some degree, so they had some disagreements. But their banter didn't take anything away from calling the action, though, and I would love to see something similar today.
I doubt Lawler will ever go back to that character, especially in the wake of his heart attack, but it would make for the best possible atmosphere, and allow Cole to Move back to SmackDown.
For a while, Cole was the lead announcer on both shows, which was overkill because of his over-the-top heel persona. Cole is much more tolerable now, though, and he would be a great fit on the blue brand along with JBL, especially since they worked together extensively in the past.
I don't necessarily dislike Josh Matthews, but he seems to be in over his head at times on SmackDown. JBL has always been known as a ribber who doesn't make things easy on his colleagues. Perhaps it's all part of the show, but I get the feeling that JBL really isn't a big fan of Matthews and tries to purposely throw him off his game by constantly berating him.
He takes every opportunity to embarrass Matthews, with the latest edition of SmackDown being a perfect example. It emanated from Grand Rapids, Mich., and JBL mentioned that the 38th president of United States hailed from Grand Rapids. He asked Matthews if he even knew who he was talking about, and Matthews clearly had no idea the answer was Gerald Ford as he quickly changed the subject.
I'm not suggesting that Matthews should be removed from commentary because his presidential knowledge is lacking, but I can't help but feel like Cole could have handled the situation much better. He knows what he's going to get from JBL and, whether you like him or not, he's a veteran who is a much better General at the announcer's table than Matthews.
Matthews could still be valuable as a backstage interviewer, as he's much better than Matt Striker in that regard, but he doesn't have the chops necessary to feed off JBL's big personality. JBL makes him look like a little kid and the viewers aren't going to respect the opinion of a person who is as passive as Matthews.
Putting Ross back in the spot he deserves would unquestionably improve the overall quality of RAW, but it would make SmackDown better at the same time.