Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2015 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Best Broadcaster. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
(1) Mauro Ranallo (23 percent)
(2) Jim Ross (17 percent)
(3) Corey Graves (14 percent)
(4) Renee Young (12 percent)
(5) Steve Corino (5 percent)
Others: 29 percent
Jason Powell’s Thoughts: Every year at this time I screw up the extremely complicated procedure known as copying and pasting. It’s a highly sophisticated skill for a four year-old, but a grown man shouldn’t make this mistake as frequently as I do. In the process, I inevitably leave out someone from the list of nominees who belonged there. In this case, my annual apology goes to Matt Striker. I don’t think Striker would have won the award, nor do I even care for a lot of the color commentary work that he did. However, I do enjoy his play-by-play work on Lucha Underground and he most certainly belonged on the list of nominees. As for the award, the readers got the right guy in Ranallo, who called taped New Japan Pro Wrestling matches with more emotion than most wrestlers can stir up while calling a great live match. His broadcast partner Josh Barnett deserved a better finish than he received. I’m thrilled to see Steve Corino make the top five because he does tremendous work for Ring of Honor.
Zack Zimmerman’s Thoughts: Mauro Ranallo. The guy brings a sense of investment and passion and excitement that is so sorely lacking from wrestling broadcasters in the modern era. It goes a long way in making me feel comfortable investing myself in the programming because the voice of the product isn’t trying to be cooler than he is nor is he making viewers feel like a dope for watching. I’m already enjoying him on Smackdown and would really like to see his presence increase, particularly on PPV Sundays.
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: The most difficult category. My instinct tells me to go with Jim Ross simply because the one time he was put in a position to call a major show, he managed to make me understand what I needed to know about a product I had never seen before (New Japan) and give me the sports like calls that I crave in wrestling. However, it would be slightly unfair based on the fact it was just one show he had to call despite how good we know he is on a weekly show. For pure consistency of entertaining me, putting over the action in the ring and generally enhancing a product all the way through 2015, it has to be Steve Corino.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: Mauro Ranallo was so good on the AXS NJPW show, WWE ended up signing him. Mauro brought passion, product knowledge, and his classic announcer voice to many of NJPW’s biggest matches over the past two years. He was brilliant and is putting together a great 2016 as well. I will never understand why Jim Ross has received as many votes as he has over the last two to three years. Ross called one event in 2015 and he was merely alright. Vampiro deserves an honorable mention here. He brings something to Lucha Underground no other announcer brings: a cool factor.
John Moore’s Thoughts: I’m going to give this award to someone that had I had to grow to appraciate. My broadcaster of the year is Mr. Ian Hodgkinson, otherwise known as Vampiro. He was a bit shaky at first, but Vampiro essentially became an extension of the fans from the broadcast booth. Vamp didn’t only do a solid job on the headsets, he also hosted these “ringside with Vampiro” interview segments that had this cool vibe to them and were able to progress every story that was integrated into those segments. Here’s another accolade that Vamp gets, Vampiro was the only announcer in 2015 to make Matt Striker tolerable, and not just tolerable, Striker is actually a really good announcer with Vamp keeping him under control. Mauro Ranallo was stuck on tape overdubs so I’m not totally willing to give him the top nod just yet, but he gets my number 2 vote for his solid work on the AXS show. After one month of Smackdown though, I’m almost sure I have my 2016 broadcaster of the year, and M.R. looks like he can run away with that!
Darren Gutteridge’s Thoughts: Steve Corino. For the second year in a row, Corino walks this award. Not being a Smackdown viewer, I have only had the bare minimum exposure to Mauro Ranallo, so in my mind Corino was running unopposed. Not to say that this isn’t well deserved – despite the God awful storyline with BJ Whitmer, every other part of Corino’s game was stepped up this year. On the whole, he became less prone to the constant over the top screaming, and could get serious when the time called for it, all without losing that fun factor that can feel horribly forced in WWE.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: Renee Young continues to impress me as a standout broadcaster for WWE. She has a wit and humor about her that would make her an excellent color commentator, and she’s also very polished at getting good performances out of wrestlers in backstage interviews. She almost seems too good for the WWE, which is why the ESPN’s and Fox Sports’ of the world are interested in her. WWE would be wise to keep her busy with variety of projects internally to keep her talent in house.