Thought of the Day: When Commentary Sounded Real

Somehow, it’s much more real than in the reality era.

Since we have the WWE Network (still the greatest thing for any wrestling fan), I’ll often throw on an old pay per view just for some background noise while I’m working on something else. The other day I threw on Survivor Series 1988 and heard the following discussion between Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura when Jacques Rougeau was tagged into the match:

Jesse: “Which Rougeau is that? Is that Jacques or Raymond?”

Gorilla: “That is Jacques. He’s a little bit taller than his brother.”

Jesse: “Oh that’s Jacques, ok. I get those two confused.”

And that’s it. No insults, no jokes about how Jesse is stupid, no laughing and ignoring the match and no stupid bickering between the two over some petty feud that only they care about while the match is ignored. This felt like a simple, realistic conversation between two people watching a wrestling match. The Rougeaus may not have been twins but it might have been difficult to remember at times (I couldn’t remember which Hardy was which until about 2001) and it’s not ridiculous for Jesse to be confused, or for Gorilla to say which one it is and give him a way to remember it.

Today, this would set off a minute long argument between Corey Graves and Byron Saxton because they have to fight every chance they get over whatever stupid thing is going on at the moment, all while the match is completely ignored. Then Cole will laugh about something and plug whatever is coming later in the night, ignoring the match even further.

It’s such a different world of commentary and shows just how forced and scripted things have become today. Let these people sound normal and see if it’s not way more effective.

4 comments

  1. MikeCheyne says:

    Having watched a lot of Superstars episodes around this time, I feel like Jesse ALWAYS asks which Rougeau is which (I think he also has trouble identifying which Bushwhacker is which a lot too). I wonder if this was a real memory issue Jesse had or if this was an user friendly way to let the audience know which was which without making the audience feel like they were being talked down to.

    Also, wouldn’t the easiest way to separate the Rougeaus be by saying “Raymond has the mustache”?

    Nevertheless, your point is great.

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    klunderbunker Reply:

    It’s possible that’s the case, though to this day I still have to say to myself “Matt has black hair” when I watch a Young Bucks match.

    And yeah that’s how I remembered which was which.

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  2. Fallout says:

    I’ve got to be honest, as much as he was a great manager, I think Heenan on commentary started this trend of instigating arguments between the other announcers for benign reasons. Another great manager, Paul Heyman, I thought had this issue on commentary too. But this is what led to the absolute worst example of this (in WWE at least, Mark Madden was just on another level of bad): JBL. In his first stint with Michael Cole on Smackdown back in ’06 – ’07, he was fine, he could have a little bit of playful banter with Cole, but they could still work as a unit, and Cole didn’t sound like a robot at that point. But watching a few episodes of Raw back from 2013, good lord, JBL was horrendously awful. Constantly being confrontational, constantly inserting needless conversation into things, I felt sorry for Cole and especially Ranallo listening to him rant about these things.

    I think Ventura and King (post-Attitude era, even if he had his problems) were the best at balancing it out. Graves veers in between being a great heel colour commentator, to really annoying at times.

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  3. Prophet says:

    I watched War Games 92 last night and beyond the match being amazing, the commentary was fantastic. I mean, when you’ve got Jim Ross leading the charge with Jesse backing up it’s hard not to be fantastic.

    [Reply]

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