As I watched Monday Night Raw a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but get mildly excited when Jim Ross returned, papers in hand, to take his spot at the announcers table. It was great to see good ol' JR back in his familiar position, cowboy hat on straight, calling the action from ringside. The only problem with this was that after about five minutes, I didn't care that Jim Ross was calling the action.
I had grown to liking Michael Cole over the past year or so. I even thought that he was on his way towards becoming a legitimate announcer for the WWE and one who would captain the ship for many years to come. But, as has happened many times before with other characters, they overused Michael Cole and people got tired of the Cole-Lawler feud to the point many people wish they would have fought on Shotgun Saturday Night (for those that remember that show).
The problem with Jim Ross returning is that it adds nothing to the show. Bloggers across the web like the professionalism of Ross and how he makes a bad match seem interesting—a sign of a great announcer. When Jim Ross was at his peak of announcing, he would scream at the top of his lungs, "Oh my God, Oh my God" or very casually say, "Business is about to pick up."
None of those moments happen anymore in the WWE. Business picked up slightly when the CM Punk contract negotiations began to play out on our television screens and across the Internet. But what does Jim Ross bring to the table now that those moments are few and far between?
It reminds me of an athlete that re-signs with the team one last time just so fans can remember him in their uniform. Jim Ross announcing reminds us of the Attitude Era in the WWE (WWF then) and many people think that was the peak of pro wrestling. Having Jim Ross wearing the main headset has done nothing for business, and the closest follower will notice that he does not speak or commentate nearly as much as he used to. He is all business and sometimes is just downright boring.
Announcers are there to tell the story of the match unfolding, not to be in the middle of bantering back and forth with other announcers. It has gotten to the point that Jerry Lawler seems overly excited to have Ross back on television; and Lawler himself hasn't done much in about six years.
Michael Cole is being forced to say these things to Lawler and Ross, but when did the announcers become part of the storyline? When did it become so important that we needed to see announcers feuding with each other just so we can get one more mediocre storyline fed to us each week? If most people listened to Michael Cole when he was just announcing, he wasn't that bad. It is when he goes away from the announcing that he becomes annoying and irritating.
Hey Vince, Triple H or whoever is running the company: let the announcers talk and quit trying to add them to the storyline.