By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote per day for each of the 2019 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 (32 percent)
2. Nigel McGuinness (14 percent)
3. Jim Ross (10 percent)
4. Corey Graves (8 percent)
5. Excalibur (7 percent)
Others (29 percent)
Anish V’s Thoughts: Throughout this whole year, I don’t think I’ve had a single bad thing to say about Vic Joseph on 205 Live and then Monday Night Raw, a promotion which he thoroughly deserved. Joseph made 205 Live more watchable than it was a lot of the time, and I can’t help but shudder when thinking of the detriment that would have been brought to 205 had someone like Michael Cole, Corey Graves, or Tom Phillips been calling 205. Not to discredit any of them, but at some point or another I have found myself muting Raw and Smackdown, I never saw a reason to mute 205.
Jeff Lutz’s Thoughts: Tony Schiavone has solidified the three-man AEW booth by providing levity and a welcome contrast to Jim Ross’s more serious style and Excalibur’s inexperience. Schiavone seems to be enjoying broadcasting wrestling again, and he exudes that weekly on AEW Dynamite.
John’s Moore’s Thoughts: There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to give this award to him due to being African American and knowing that his slip-up did sabotage NWA for a stretch in terms of negative social media press. That said, I don’t think there was malicious intent intended and it was a bad choice of words. I’m giving my best broadcaster award to Jim Cornette. Reason being, this guy really enhanced the matches he called. Some of the criticism Jim Ross and others get when they call multiple promotions is that “they don’t do their homework” on the talent. That’s not a question you can give Cornette because was very prepared to call a plethora of new and old talent. What put him over for me was his run in MLW. Tony Schiavone was horrible on MLW, sounding very out of it, uninformed, and had terrible chemistry with Rich Bocchini. Ironically, I can make a “Best Broadcaster” argument for AEW Tony Schiavone because that guy is the exact opposite of MLW Tony Schiavone. Anyway, Cornette shows up and is amazing on the headset. He had great chemistry with Rich. Ultimately he provided needed exposition for a huge revolving door of talent in MLW and he elevated matches to another level. Same thing in NWA. Sadly, he F’s it all up by throwing out a racist joke. Anyway, racist joke aside, I feel like he still was the most effective announcer of the year and I kinda hope he gets a job backstage coaching some up and coming color or play-by-play commentators because I feel they can learn a lot from the way he elevates the talent he’s calling
Nick Perkins’ Thoughts: Who would have thought that in the year of our Lord, 2020, Tony Schiavone would be wrestling’s best broadcaster. Everybody loves a comeback story and no announcer this last year has a better one than Mr. Anthony Schiavone. Schiavone thought that the wrestling world had forgotten about him, leaving him in 2001 with the rest of WCW. But then he started his podcast with Conrad Thompson. And then he started doing some work with MLW. Finally, he was given a chance with All Elite Wrestling and he has proven himself every single night since. Schiavone may have thought that wrestling fans didn’t remember him but hopefully, now, he knows that we will never forget him.
Powell’s Thoughts: I feel the voters got it right. Ranallo is the perfect voice for NXT, particularly on the big match NXT Takeover events. The energy and passion he brings to calling pro wrestling is unmatched. Nigel McGuinness may not get as much air time as other color commentators due to Ranallo’s style, but he makes the most of his time. In general, 2019 was a very good year for pro wrestling broadcast teams. Ian Riccaboni is the perfect voice for Ring of Honor. Caprice Coleman does solid work, but I will really miss the team of Riccaboni and Colt Cabana. Jim Ross brings major credibility to the AEW product and it’s great to have him back in the game. JR’s primary color commentator Excalibur does a tremendous job of filling in the gaps. Rich Bocchini grew into the role as the voice of MLW despite working with a variety of different color commentators throughout the year. Josh Mathews and Don Callis turned out to be a much better pairing than I envisioned. As much as I loved Callis’s work Japan, the pairing of Kevin Kelly with Rocky Romero quickly won me over with the sports-like feel that both men bring to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Corey Graves dishes out and takes a lot of shit, but he’s very good at this job and the move to calling just Smackdown rather than both weekly shows will prevent him from being overexposed and overworked. Vic Joseph has impressed me as the voice of Raw, and Michael Cole continues to be WWE’s dependable and steady voice. I really enjoyed the work of Joe Galli and Jim Cornette on NWA Powerrr. I thought the departure of Cornette was going to be a bigger loss for the show than it was. Stu Bennett has filled some big shoes by sticking to his strengths and I suspect he will just keep getting better. Schiavone was more popular with some of our staff members than he was with the voters (he and Kevin Kelly finished tied for sixth), but I’ve enjoyed his comeback and I’ve found him to be much more immersed in the AEW product than he was in MLW.