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PDP’s Ten Best Wrestling Announcers of All-Time

This is a new feature here at PDP that will help the readers get to know a little about the site. Every so often, we will put our collective brains together and formulate lists of who (and what) we consider the best at in different subjects of professional wrestling. The great thing about professional wrestling? It’s a subjective art form so if you disagree, let us know who you would have put on the list. Our first effort was with tag-team wrestling. If you missed that, you can check it out here.

Today we take a look at one of the underrated things that really makes good wrestling great…the announcing. Pair the right announcer with the right talent- like Steve Austin with Jim Ross- and it really helps take the wrestling and the wrestler to the next level.

Without further adieu, here’s

PDP’s Ten Best Announcers of All-Time:

#10 Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Jesse was a great foil to Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon during his run in WWF as an announcer. Jesse’s quick wit and willingness to insult everybody and anybody made him somebody that you always wanted to listen to, just to hear what he was going to say next. (Kevin)

 

#9 “Mean” Gene Okerlund

Mean Gene was a fixture in the WWF. Most on this list made their bones calling matches, Gene made his as an interviewer. Gene is a character that even those who don’t follow wrestling are likely to know. (Kevin)

 

#8 Jerry “the King” Lawler

Lawler will go down as one of the best wrestlers of all-time due to his work in Memphis but many will remember him more for his color commentary during the Monday Night Wars. When he was on his game, Lawler had some of the best one-liners in the business. (Kevin)

 

#7 Joey Styles

Styles called almost all of his ECW matches by himself. That’s a ton of work. He was the color guy, play-by-play guy, the heel AND the face announcer. He knew all the names of all the moves, gave some of them nicknames that went to specific wrestlers, and there aren’t many things cooler than Joey doing his patented “OH…MY…GOD!” during huge spots of matches. He was as much of ECW as was Paul Heyman, Tommy Dreamer, Raven and other, more traditionally known ECW talents — which is a testament to how awesome he was. His work might not have transferred over to the WWE when he was given a shot there, but I say that’s more on the WWE shifting away from PG-13 to PG and not understanding the greatness that is Joey Styles. (Joseph)

 

#6 Lance Russell

Back in the territory days, wrestlers were often associated with the promotion they called and no one was as tied to a territory as Lance Russell. When I think of Memphis wrestling, I think of Jerry Lawler and Lance Russell. Russell was a consummate professional while still being passionate about the product he was calling. Russell never made it to the “big time” but he was one of the best of all-time. (Kevin)

 

#5 Tony Schiavone

Schiavone is unfairly remembered for the last 3 or so years of his career, but who wouldn’t have WCW and Eric Bischoff suck the life from? Schiavone in the late ’80s and early ’90s was terrific. (Kyle)

 

#4 Gorilla Monsoon

Gorilla is pretty underrated and his ability to completely make up words and phrases has been lost over time. This could be, admittedly, just nostalgia kicking in for me, but there were few things better than Monsoon taking about a guy getting kicked in the solar-plexus or other types of stuff that I had no idea what he was actually talking about. He made up for his lack of knowing wrestling-moves’ names by just inventing new ones — and it was all glorious. (Joseph)

 

#3 Gordon Solie

Gordon Solie is the Vin Scully of wrestling. He’s an icon everyone admires and no one tries to emulate, because frankly, both are too unique to ever duplicate.
Solie called wrestling like a true athletic competition, but added enough subtle witticisms to be entertaining. He also knew how to get over performers without bashing the audience over the head with it. (Kyle)

#2 Bobby Heenan

While Jim Ross is the best play-by-play guy in the biz, Bobby Heenan is easily the best color commentator. Not only one of the best managers in history, Bobby Heenan was one of the best heel commentators ever. He replaced Jesse Ventura in both WWE and WCW but it was his pairing with Gorilla Monsoon that really put him on the map. He loved and praised heels at every opportunity and his sharp wit and natural humor was on full display each and every week, continually exasperating Gorilla Monsoon. (Jeff)

 

#1 Jim Ross

Good God, Almighty! There truly is no other viable name for the top of this list. Jim Ross is the true voice of the WWE (sorry Michael Cole) and is the epitome of what a wrestling play-by-play guy should be. Good Ol’ JR was universally loved and was the voice of the WWE during one of the most popular eras of professional wrestling – The Attitude Era. Jim Ross knew how to sell the carnage of a wrestling match and always made you believe that what we were watching was real. When your calls are often dubbed over non-wrestling highlight videos, you know you haveve reached a level of crossover success unparalleled in WWE history. (Jeff)

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