WWE Hall Of Famer JBL has taken on a wide variety of roles over the course of his career, but he has admitted to not believing he was a good commentator at first. The self-proclaimed Wrestling God and former WWE Champion admitted to “GAW TV” that his desire to continue wrestling “hurt me a little bit,” in terms of his commentary skills during his initial run. That changed during his second behind the announce desk, mainly because he realized he “probably shouldn’t have gone back” to the ring due to his health.
“When I first got to be a commentator … I wasn’t that good I don’t think in my mind, because I still wanted to wrestle,” JBL said. “But, then when I went back and wrestled for a little bit, realized I was hurt … and went back to do commentary, that’s when I really enjoyed it. Because then I was just a fan, I had no desire to be back in the ring, I just wanted to call the action and do the best I could with it, and I really enjoyed it.”
The job of a WWE commentator is something that is often heavily criticized, but JBL pointed out they are “not legit commentators, it’s a work.” He also believes it’s important for announcers to “be a step behind,” comparing wrestling commentary to football commentary — the former involves allowing the fans to experience something the commentator already knows will happen, whereas the latter involves explaining to the fans why something is about to happen.
“Sometimes you say something like, ‘Oh, who is that?’ We know who it is, it’s The Undertaker, he’s been there 52 straight weeks, but you want to let the fans get it first,” he said. “That’s one of the things that’s so hard to figure out, that’s why it’s hard for play-by-play guys to come from sports into wrestling that don’t know wrestling very well, because they have a hard time being behind the action instead of being ahead of it.”
JBL also maintained that Vince McMahon, who famously directs his commentary teams on what to say, was “never rude” to JBL, and that he “enjoyed Vince being a producer.” That’s something he believes to be the case for Jerry Lawler and Booker T, as well, though he admits McMahon yelled at Michael Cole — JBL suggested that McMahon might have been less hard on “the old guys who had been in the ring for him.”
“Even when I made mistakes, he was very kind about it,” JBL stated. “I loved him being in my ear because he’s very succinct, he’s a great producer, he would tell you just a short little phrase, he wouldn’t tell you a whole paragraph … Sometimes he would feed me something, but he would feed Cole something different, and it made sense after Cole said it … I thought he was terrific at it.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit “GAW TV” with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]