By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote per day for each of the 2018 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Broadcaster along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
1. Mauro Ranallo (24 percent)
2. Corey Graves (23 percent)
3. Nigel McGuinness (11 percent)
4. Don Callis (9 percent)
5. Renee Young (8 percent)
Others (25 percent)
John Moore’s Thoughts: After getting a chance to closely analyze his work via my Impact Wrestling reviews, my nod for best broadcaster will go to Don Callis. He had that right mix between comedy heel and serious color commentator where he added to every commentary team he was on. As much as Rocky Romero improved during the stints in NJPW when Callis had to miss nights on commentary, the lack of Callis really stood out. I like that he doesn’t undercut the wrestlers. He provides strong reasoning behind the logic of the matches, and he’ll also call out the dumb stuff he sees on TV to protect his credibility. Kevin Kelly didn’t need the boost because he is a solid play-by-play, but Josh Mathews really needed the rehabilitation after a weird “Heel Michael Cole” run on commentary. I would like to throw a nod in there for former House of Hardcore play-by-play voice Vic Joseph for his stellar improvement. Vic and Nigel McGuinness seemed like they were phoning it in on 205 Live in 2017, but that was for good reason – 205 Live sucked. When the show improved, Vic and Nigel’s performance really turned around. Vic, in particular, does a great job of acting really concerned for the babyfaces in peril to the point where he was calling out for people to protect the life of Mustafa Ali.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: I’ll go with the one name on the list to make history: Renee Young. Young found herself thrust into a role on Raw in a one week absence of Jonathan Coachman and she instantly improved the broadcast. Young brings a refreshing voice to commentary which, as every other name in this poll will tell you, has long been male-dominated.
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: A couple of people spring to mind here. Nigel McGuiness has been great especially with the transition into broadcasting NXT UK and has brought a wealth of knowledge to the booth and his ability to transfer that to the viewer. Ian Riccaboni has been great along with Colt Cabana in terms of being a great team who bring different strengths and as a result make a great pair. But, simply because of the hard work he’s clearly done in researching and understanding the British Independent Scene from presumably a cold start, my surprise choice for the vote is Vic Joseph.
Anish V’s Thoughts: Pro wrestling commentary took a big turn up from the state it was in all of 2017. I can’t put my finger on it, it just seems like I’ve had to complain about annoying commentary far less. Mauro Ranallo is someone I didn’t complain about even once. He’s my pick for the best broadcaster not only for his stellar calls of so many NXT Takeovers, but because of the consistent importance and weight that his voice brings to NXT TV.
Powell’s Thoughts: Corey Graves suffered from being overworked on the Raw and Smackdown shows. While he’s still high on my list, I agree with the majority of voters who gave the nod to Ranallo. It certainly helps Mauro’s cause that he gets to call the typically strong NXT brand, but his call also enhances the brand. I love the work of Ian Riccaboni on ROH television. Riccaboni and Colt Cabana are just plain easy to listen to each week. ROH added Caprice Coleman to the mix and I worried the booth would be crowded, but it’s actually worked out just fine thus far. The team of Kevin Kelly and Don Callis is terrific calling the NJPW action, and Callis made Impact Wrestling worth listening to and the pairing with Josh Mathews really clicked once they settled in. It was a good year for pro wrestling broadcasting. And while I won’t disagree with him not making the top five, I felt that Michael Cole had his best year in a long time.
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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...