With another year already in the books and 2012 starting up, it is time the traditional year-end awards. Yours truly is no different. Here is a look back at the best in pro wrestling from 2011, one category at a time.
Announce Team of the Year
Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler (WWE Monday Night RAW)
Frankly this was just a terrible year all the way around for announcing in pro wrestling. Tazz and Mike Tenay stayed their consistent selves on Impact Wrestling. ROH Wrestling transitioned from its run on HDNet and the pair of Dave Prazak and Mike Hogewood into its new spot on Sinclair Broadcast Group and the new duo of Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness.
Over in WWE, the three-man SmackDown team of Michael Cole, Josh Matthews and Booker T was decent, depending on the night. And on NXT the crew changed seemingly on a weekly basis with a combination of Jack Korpela, Josh Matthews, Matt Striker, Michael Cole and William Regal manning the booth. Regal was a true breathe of fresh air with his random observations, dry British wit and credibility as a wrestler himself, but none of the combinations stuck long enough to make an impact.
And on the flagship WWE broadcast, Monday Night RAW, the company’s solution to turn their lead play-by-play man, Michael Cole, into a villain continued throughout the year. Much like in 2010 the experiment completely failed, especially when Cole should have remained the impartial “voice” of the company.
But for random periods throughout the year (April and May, July through October) Cole was removed from television while he was feuding with The King and Good Ol’ JR it was just the two old friends who were able call the action. Hearing Lawler and Ross call Monday Night RAW was a like proverbial warm blanket. They have called most of RAW’s big calls throughout the years and so for long time fans it was refreshing to hear them without the inherent mess of Michael Cole to ruin the flow.
It wasn’t perfect, but frankly this year it was the best we got.
Mike Tenay & Tazz (TNA Impact); William Regal (WWE NXT); Michael Cole, Booker T & Josh Matthews (WWE SmackDown); Dave Prazak & Mike Hogewood (ROH Wrestling); Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness (ROH Wrestling)
2010: Michael Cole & Josh Matthews (WWE NXT)
2009: Todd Grisham & Matt Striker (WWE SmackDown)