THE MAT POTATO
When I watch a wrestling match, the last thing in the world I want to hear is the announcers babbling on about things that have absolutely no bearing on what is going on in the ring.
How many times have you been watching some exciting match, like Ernest Miller v. Konan, or something equally scintillating, only to have the announcers drone on about Hogan and his ingrown hair, or Kevin Nash and is overblown ego, or some match that is going to happen at the PPV in two weeks.
I'm not saying that this ought to be radio with pictures. However at least give us the impression that you are a) aware of what is going on in the ring, and b) that it is important. How can I get excited about what is going on, and want to stay tuned if I am watching Chris Benoit going up against Y2J in an exciting technical matchup only to hear "Good ol' JR" discussing Austin?
I have heard very few outstanding announcers in my day. However, there are some that stick in my mind as being exceptional.
Lord James Blears - He was the announcer for the independent fed in Hawaii. He called the match pretty much move for move. I learned quite a lot from listening to him, such as where the trapezius muscle is. I can still hear him calling "kick to the heart" with that british accent that came out more like "kick to the haht".
Gordon Solie - Considered by many to be the dean of wrestling announcers. I remember him well, and for those who never got a chance to listen to him call a match really have no idea how good it can be. Not only skilled technically, he could make the biggest squash interesting. I sorely miss him, and for aspiring announcers, watch tapes of matches he called. The lessons are well worth it.
Jesse "The Body" Ventura - Absolutely the best color man going. He was absolutely hysterical. Who can forget his verbal sparring matches with Gorilla Monsoon? He was magic on the stick. Jesse was opinionated, stubborn, and obnoxious, but he was that damned good.
Gorilla Monsoon - when teamed with "The Body" he was unbelievable. Later teamed with another of the great color men in the business, Bobby Heenan. I loved how he would torment Heenan about how cheap he was, but he never let it get in the way of calling the match. He knew how to work it all in, but keep the flow of the match going.
Bobby Heenan - At his best he is almost as good at Ventura. With websites prominently displaying "Heenanisms", and some of the greatest nicknames ever coined (Who can forget "Chico" Santana or "Chump" Hogan?), he is at his best when allowed to rant. Recently it's as if he has a muzzle. Heenan needs the room to expand and just really cut loose.
As I said, this list is small, and I have purposely left off some who are considered "great". "Good Ol' JR" used to be damned good, but he's become a shrieking shill for Austin. I haven't heard enough of "OHMYGOD" Joey Styles to really form an opinion there, either.
If we're to remain interested in the product, then the announcers need to make it interesting for us, and at least pretend that it's of interest to them. Otherwise, there isn't anything to keep us coming back. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Then again, so is apathy.