Let me say straight off the bat that I was never a huge fan of the original ECW. It is nothing personal, I was just not old enough to watch it in the early days and later on it was hard to find a channel that would bother to continually air it in the UK. Thus I have no nostalgic feelings for the promotion. Yet from watching archived matches, I can say without any doubt that Joey Styles was one of ECW's best talents.
Styles' career is probably best recognised from his early work in ECW where he would call many shows as the play-by-play and colour commentator. To this very day, he still is the only man to call a wrestling PPV solo.
Everything about his commentary is of the highest quality. His composure was calm and collected unless the situation demanded for it. He would raise his voice and talk at a faster pace when an action deserving of the extra attention played out.
Anyway, the answer to the question in my title is simple. What I miss most about Joey Styles is that he commentated on the matches at hand. He was humble enough and had the respect to realise the real attention of a wrestling show should be placed on those who are in the ring giving it their all for the audience.
So far, all the WWE Raws of 2011 have shown what is wrong with their commentary team.
On the Jan. 4 episode, John Cena was injured and Michael Cole felt compelled almost every 10 minutes to make sure we knew this fact in case someone unaware had just tuned in. The next week it was all about John Cena making a satellite appearance.
Should Commentary Focus More On In-Ring Action?
The latest episode of Raw (Jan. 31) saw Michael Cole constantly make remarks about Jerry Lawler's appearance in the main event. During the match, he would constantly bash King in an attempt to play up his heel character and completely neglected the match. I agree with one thing he has said over the past few weeks. They are commentators and shouldn't be the main attraction.
This was Joey Styles all over. He was there to purely do a job and did it. WWE want their commentators to be recognised names and to keep reminding the crowd of their biggest story of the night. This is why Styles never was favoured by Vince McMahon during his tenure at the announcement table from 2005-08. The ironic thing was that although he didn't fit the WWE format, I thought he was still superior to every other commentator in WWE since then.
Then again Joey Styles was always a wrestling commentator and not a Sports Entertainment journalist. WWE commentary was much more tolerable when the likes of Jim Ross could find a balance between the two styles.
Today's WWE commentary is like an obnoxious child constantly crying out for attention, over reacting at every slightest move. It is so desperate to be noticed and to get its own points over that it forgets what it is actually meant to achieve. Action in the ring is ignored and not only is that an insult to the wrestlers in the ring, it insults the viewers at home.
The WWE audience is treated as if their minds cannot remember anything beyond the advert break. So in the end, not only did Joey Styles show his respect for the men in the ring but to the millions that listened to his voice.
The problem is unlikely to be solved anytime soon. With Michael Cole being played as a heel, most will argue he is effectively doing his job, even if he is annoying me. The problem is that he is not annoying me in the areas a heel should. I dislike him for the very same reasons I did back in 2001 when I started to regularly watch SmackDown. Unlike commentary from Joey Styles that flowed and felt natural, the words from Cole's mouth sound forced, fake and have no momentum to them. The heel character merely is to give an acceptable face to the annoyance.
It's a shame commentators like Joey Style are never given a chance anymore because overall good commentary makes a huge contribution to the show being enjoyable.