Speak to me. Commentary is such an important part of a wrestling show. The commentary team tells the fans where the stories are supposed to go while guiding them through everything that is going on. A good commentator can be such a help in wrestling, but sometimes even the best of them slip up in a pretty big way. When they screw up badly, it can be legendary.
Wrestling fans have an amazing memory when it comes to commentary. A Reddit user recently asked What Are The Worst Commentary Calls Of All Time? Commentors weighed in and thousands of fans upvoted their favorite of the worst ideas from around the wrestling world.
That’ll Put Some Bad Commentary On The Air
For all of the great calls, there are some that are far more infamous for the wrong reasons. These are the lines that are not only remembered in a bad way, but often brought up as punchlines down the road. If it was something that made the commentator look like a pinhead, it can be even worse. That was the case over twenty years ago in one of the most important nights in the history of our sport.
In a line I’m sure you’ve probably heard at least 183 times, KimF29 brought up Tony Schiavone’s near legendary call of
“If you even think of changing channels, don’t. We understand that Mick Foley is going to win their world title. Ugh that’ll put butts in seats…that’s going to be their world champion”
The line came as Foley was about to win the WWF Title on the January 4, 1999 edition of Monday Night Raw, which had been taped in advance. It turns out that something close to half a million homes changed the channel right around the time of Schiavone’s call, meaning fans weren’t around to see WCW’s huge main event that night. To make it worse, Schiavone even repeated it later in the show.
That’ll put some WCW people in seats. Like the seats at home, because they were out of business a little over two years later.
It’s A Vital Statistic!
Like many other things in wrestling, heights and weights are a bit exaggerated. It makes sense as it plays into the larger than life feel that wrestling shoots for, but sometimes it raises a few questions. Longtime fans understand that things might not be on the up and up, but outsiders can be a little confused. Unfortunately, that was the case with an infamous guest commentator.
At King of the Ring 1994, former NFL star Art Donovan was brought in as a guest commentator, despite not knowing much about wrestling. Donovan spent most of the show asking various questions about wrestling, but the most famous, as suggested by majungo, was “how much does this guy weigh?” Donovan asked it over and over, with Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage sounding more than a bit annoyed more than once.
And he asked it so many times:
That’s a good question, but a better one might be “how did he get this job?”
What’s In A Name?
There are not many wrestlers as over the top as Bray Wyatt. During his time in WWE, Wyatt did one out there thing after another, ranging from evil puppets to the Firefly Funhouse to having his own cult. His antics left you wondering what you might be seeing next, which often confused the commentary team as well. That was on full display on the grandest stage of them all.
During Wrestlemania 37, Wyatt faced Randy Orton but was nowhere to be seen when the bell rang. Instead, Alexa Bliss brought a box to the ring, with Wyatt eventually popping out of it. As Fun-Abbreviation29 remembers, commentator Michael Cole infamously referred to the box as a “box like structure.” The name didn’t seem to matter, as Orton went on to beat Wyatt in Wyatt’s last WWE match.
Notice the structure. The box like one:
Maybe Wyatt would have done better if he had popped out of a structure like a box rather than a box like structure?
Call It A Sequel?
Some wrestling calls are legendary, to the point where you can hear them playing in your head. The most famous ones have stood the test of time for many years and will stick around forever. Those are great for a reason but sometimes they inspire some lesser known imitations. That was the case a few years ago, but it was made worse by something that wasn’t supposed to be seen.
Perhaps the most famous call of all time is Mankind flying off of Hell in a Cell at King of the Ring 1998. The moment has aired countless times on WWE television over the years and Jim Ross’ call is almost as iconic as the clip itself. It is so famous that it has its imitators, including, as selected by QuimLiquor, Michael Cole’s
“For the love of Mankind, Shane just exploded through our table!”
From WrestleMania 32. The line itself was cheesy enough, but Michael Cole being seen reading it off a script made things even worse.
The sequel’s never quite as good:
I guess the “hide the script” part didn’t make it into Cole’s script.
Did The T-Shirts Not Give It Away?
WWE has a big enough roster to split them into multiple brands. Two of those brands go head to head every year at Survivor Series in the Battle For Brand Supremacy. This meant a series of matches between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, which often includes the team members wearing colored t-shirts to signify their respective shows. Apparently that wasn’t enough for one commentator.
In 2016, SmackDown defeated Monday Night Raw, but JBL didn’t seem to get the message. Once SmackDown’s Bray Wyatt pinned Monday Night Raw’s Roman Reigns to win the match, JBL got by a bit confused, as remembered by y2jericoholic, JBL shouted “RAW WINS!” It actually got even worse as David Otunga pointed out that SmackDown won, leaving JBL to say
“RAW WINS IS WHAT EVERYONE WANTED TO SAY BUT SMACKDOWN LIVE WINS!”
They’re color coordinated:
Monday Night Raw/SmackDown. Right/Wrong. Win/Loss. Unlike JBL, you might get the difference.
It’s Part Of Being PG
WWE has been a PG company for over ten years now, having shifted away from the more adult content. This has been done in a variety of areas, with the changes causing some issues in storytelling. There are certain things that cannot be said or done, meaning that some substitutions have been needed. One of these was rather notable as it sounded a bit silly.
One of the places that has gone out of its way to clean up is commentary, including down in NXT. This as on display back in 2018 at Takeover: Philadelphia during a match between Adam Cole and Aleister Black. Following a huge crash that sent Black through a table, “Grown Adult Mauro Ranallo”, as SocialableHermit91 dubbed him, quipped “HOLY BLEEP INDEED!”
Is Mama Mia censored too?
This wouldn’t be as much of a problem today, as all the fans would be chanting “AEW” instead.
And Then What?
Commentators are supposed to tell stories during their broadcasts, but some of them might not quite know how to wrap them up. Sometimes a story might not exactly be fleshed out, which can leave more questions than answers. It doesn’t make things any better when fans might not know what the commentator is talking about, which was the case a few years back.
Back on the September 20, 2016 SmackDown, commentator David Otunga tried to tell a story about meeting WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi. That’s a fine start, but as LesnarsBattleScream points out, Otunga never got to finish the story. What started off as some version of
“”So I ran into Rikishi on the movie set and I asked him about the kids and he said…””
was cut off time after time, to the point where Otunga referenced it on Twitter after the show.
It'll have to wait… https://t.co/vBAKOuprmA
— David Otunga (@DavidOtunga) September 21, 2016
Get to the point:
Sometimes there’s nothing better than to leave fans…..
That’s A Bad Message
There are certain stigmas associated with wrestling and several of them are not positive. The biggest and most often repeated is that it is not a legitimate sport. While wrestling is pre-determined, the wrestlers are certainly athletes, often with very impressive athletic backgrounds. That was not exactly enough for a certain Monday Night Raw commentator though.
Enickma007 recalls a match from Monday Night Raw, which included an exchange between Jonathan Coachman and Corey Graves that went something like this:
“the athleticism these two have is off the charts. I would love to see them compete in an actual athletic competition,” which prompted Graves to respond “What do you think you’re watching, Coach?!”
While the dates might not be exact and the participants aren’t clear, the match would have taken place between January and September 2018, when Coachman was back on Monday Night Raw as a commentator.
He didn’t have too many moments:
Maybe he could have used some coaching on what not to say on commentary.