Seven Candidates To Replace Todd Grisham on Smackdown Commentary
Wrestling needs good commentators, all sports do. They provide a service to the viewer by describing and analysing what we see. They give the matches natural flow and the momentum they provide adds an essential quality to each bout.
From Lord Alfred Hayes to Vince McMahon, from Gorilla Monsoon to Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler to Matt Striker, each have their own distinctive style and approach. Whether we accept what we see is largely reliant on their commentary, try imagining Mick Foley falling off the cell without JR saying 'he's broken in half' and it changes the dynamics of the match.
Rumours coming out of the WWE this week, suggest that Todd Grisham has lost the support of Vince McMahon. And while this does not necessarily mean that he will be replaced, the departure of JR from our airwaves proves that no-one is safe when it comes to the Chairman of the Board.
What follows is therefore a hypothetical examination of some of the candidates that could replace Grisham if he is removed from his position.
1: Jim Ross
It would be wrong, if a slide was not given over to the true voice of wrestling, the Hall of Fame legend that is Jim Ross. Arguably one of the best, if not the best commentator, wrestling has ever had.
From his early days in WCW, to his WWE heel days during the mid 1990s, through to Wrestlemania 25, JR has been heard by millions around the world. Its hard to imagine a match not having his distinctive Oklahoma pitch, which might partly explain much of the opposition to Michael Cole.
It is however unlikely that JR will return. If it was based on a fan vote however, he would never have left.
Pros: Available, Legend, Fan Favourite
Cons: Doesn't suit wearing a toga (Wrestlemania 9), and not seemingly popular with Vince
Some months ago, Shane McMahon relinquished his position with the WWE and set out to make it in his own right. Some have suggested that he will end up in MMA, other have suggested he might even be 'they' in TNA, but it is always likely that Shane O Mac will eventually make his way back to his father's company.
He has experience in the ring and is reasonably popular amongst fans for some of the high diving moves he has performed. The McMahon name is traditional and like his father, the means of learning more about the business, might be to learn it from ringside.
Calling the action, will ensure that he gets a first hand view of what works with fans, whilst at the same time, reintroducing himself to the WWE's newest fans.
Pros: Knows the Business, Popular, Surname - so interview won't be hard
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Perhaps not the first name, fans will think of when it comes to a commentator and yet it would offer quite a lot both to HHH and wrestling. As way of marriage, Triple H is expected to take on a managerial role in the future, possible a division of the WWE. And what way better, whilst he is still injured, than to stay tuned to the wrestling action from ringside.
Triple H, will of course know a great deal about wrestling already but maybe getting a ringside seat, every night, will afford him the opportunity to measure the fans and calculate future WWE plans.
His family and the fact that he is still active will though count against him
Pros: Strong Mic, Excellent training, Keeps him on screen
Cons: Still Active, New Family, Maybe more of a colour commentator
So long the voice of WCW, Tony Schiavone, provided the commentary to many of the company's greatest as well as some of the most infamous moments. When WCW collapsed, Schiavone was never signed by the WWE, and barring one night in TNA, has not been involved in wrestling since.
He remains for some,a high quality commentator who assisted WCW's rise to prominence in the late 1990s. He currently commentates in Georgia on a number of local stations so a return to wrestling might have some appeal.
Whether the voice of WCW would be accepted by WWE fans or Vince is questionable but he would provide Smackdown with a strong figurehead on their commentary team,
Pros: Available, Strong Voice, Wrestling Knowledge
Cons: Oversaw WCW's demise, WCW Voice
Often seen behind the scenes with 'guests at this time', Matthews will no doubt have a claim given his loyalty and his NXT role. Whether he can offer anything more than Grisham is debatable but WWE does tend to give young talent opportunities.
Wrestling commentators in wrestling tend to be too reliant on prompts and standard lines. Matthews in his work on FCW and NXT, falls into this category. However if given the opportunity and some training, maybe by Jerry Lawler or JR, then a future role in the commentator's chair might come to fruition.
Pros: Experienced, Young, New Face
Cons: Too Robotic, Too similar to Grisham, Small Name
Wrestling legend. Not much debate here. However, his current run in the WWE whilst nostalgic needs to be better organised. Given that he cannot wrestle properly and with the loss of GM, Hart needs a proper role if he is to remain with the WWE.
Given his technical upbringing and his sheer popularity, Hart would provide Smackdown with a very credible figurehead. Whether he can be a play-by-play commentator is debatable and there is always a risk he will say WWF, but he is nonetheless a respected wrestler.
Pros: Experience, Popularity, Technical knowledge
Cons: Questionable Mic ability, Constant WWF references, Desire to remain after his current run
The supposed voice of wrestling, the voice of the GM, Miz advocate - the play-by-play commentator of Raw, Michael Cole. Not exactly the most popular of commentators, given who he replaced, but he does seem to be getting over as a heel. He therefore does have experience and so is a ready-made replacement if Smackdown is looking for change.
He does need to stamp his own authority on his commentary whilst toning down his support for the Miz. If changes are made, he could very well return to Friday Nights, although it will then leave an opening on Monday Nights. Could we dream that JR make a return with the King?
Pros: Experience, Popular with Vince, Easily Transferred
Cons: Monday Night Voice, No Miz to cheer
When you lose the support of Vince McMahon, the writing can be on the wall. If Todd Grisham is replaced, it can bring about a great change-up for the commentary teams. We will dream of a return for JR but its unlikely as is expecting Michael Cole to do both shows.
Wrestling needs a reformating and a new commentator can help bring this about. The Voice of wrestling is critical in our enjoyment of a match and how each move is sold. The likes of JR, Jerry Lawler, Gorilla Monsoon and Vince McMahon have all enjoyed periods on the mic and given viewers great pleasure with their insightful opinions.
If a change is to occur, it will happen soon, but the question is who?