Let me say this before reading the article. I respect and appreciate Jim Ross for all he has done for Pro-Wrestling. Good Ol’ JR is a legend who provided the voice for the Attitude Era. He deserved a lot more than what he was given in WWE. In all honesty, there will never be an iconic commentator like Ross again. Having Jim Ross in AEW is better than not having him at all. To that point though, I argue that JR is out of place commentating for AEW.
Ross represents the old guard, the 50+, the Boomers more or less. The problem is, AEW represents the new blood. Dynamite is all about creating new stars, a new wave for Wrestling, instilling the future, and providing an upstart alternative. So, when one of the leading announcers opens a, quite frankly erroneous, tirade on air no less, wherein he dismisses any accomplishment of a young wrestler, or not to mention, his unprofessional “criticism” and lack of urgency in his voice, then it becomes a problem that needs to be addressed. Have Ross as a sit-down interviewer for Dynamite and Dark. Hell, give him a cooking segment or a hat collection series or a history of the business shtick on AEW’s inevitable second show. At least then he will have passion again and genuinely invest in what he is saying.
Anyway, since I believe Ross is best served away from the booth. Who should replace him on Dynamite? If I had it my way, AEW would have two-man booths which would drastically improve the show. The old saying still rings true: two’s company, three’s a crowd. However, since AEW really wants a three-man announce team, then these are my options to consider for replacing Jim Ross on AEW Dynamite.
Taz and Excalibur are a fantastic team over on AEW Dark. When Taz means business it’s great stuff. What’s even better though is when he simply does not care whatsoever. It’s genuinely a weekly highlight listening to Dark commentary. From Taz’s singing of Jungle Life to his friendships with Ricky Starks & Anthony Ogogo, to his hilarious pops with The Acclaimed. Taz might very well be one of AEW’s MVPs and he deserves the world.
The Human Suplex Machine is known for his stints in the booth just as much as his performances in the ring. Whether it’s WWE, TNA, or AEW, Taz brings authenticity to the booth. Taz can be the anchor for former WWE fans guiding into Dynamite. A heel commentator who remembers to put over the product and the wrestlers is great. And that’s exactly what AEW certainly seems to want a regular heel-ish commentator anyway. Let the Tazmaniac loose.
#4: Veda Scott
Veda Scott brought new life to AEW with her short stint in the Women’s Tag Tournament. She was insightful, confident, and her personality gelled incredibly well with her co-commentators. Her chemistry with Taz, Excalibur, and the greatest Virginian in the history of our sport, Tony Schiavone was infectious. How AEW didn’t sign her is beyond me. From what I can tell, it’s still not too late.
Let’s face it, AEW is doing a pretty unspectacular job with the women’s division. Having a female on-air figure, even just for the one-woman match, would help out. Veda knows the women’s roster personally. She can use her knowledge to put over the competitors as Excalibur does for the men. Her fantastic attitude and overall talent are needed for a stage like TNT.
#3: Anthony Ogogo
The former Professional Boxer is still training at the Nightmare Factory. When he inevitably debuts as a wrestler it will certainly be exciting. However, for the time being, if AEW wants to use the charismatic English more, then how about a regular announce role on Dynamite? He already occasionally does stints in the booth on AEW Dark. His back n forth with Taz and Excalibur is hilarious. He doesn’t have the experience JR does yes. What he does have is a connection to legitimate combat sports. And that would make the TNT executives very happy.
I can guarantee TNT loves when MMA/Celebrities show up on AEW Dynamite. That’s why Snoop Dogg & Mike Tyson were brought in so they could help move the ratings. Yes, Ogogo is definitely not on the same level as those two previously mentioned. Yet, I can’t help but feel as though the network would feel more comfortable with a Boxer/Real Fighter as a regular role on the show. Yes, plenty of people do not like MMA in their Pro-Wrestling, that’s fine. However, TNT pays the bills and what the overlords of Cartoon Network want they get. Ogogo could draw in fans of Boxing/MMA into AEW weekly if done right.
If not combat sports, why not E-sports? AEW already dominates NXT in the 18-49 demo. So they need to keep the pace and continue to appeal to the younger demographic. Goldenboy did a really good job for AEW during 2019’s Fyter Fest, All Out, & Full Gear. Bringing him back is a must.
Some people will say AEW should have someone on commentary who is a tether to the older 50+ wrestling fan. I disagree. Professional Wrestling has been compared by modern fans to live-action video games and anime. Doubling down on younger audiences so they can continue as fans into adulthood is the smart way to go. Professional Wrestling should embrace its over the top video game-like world. If the 50+ want to move to NXT then let them. AEW is the future and having Goldenboy on commentary would represent that.
#1: Don Callis
The Invisible Hand of Professional Wrestling and the manager to AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. Don Callis is a pitch-perfect heel commentator. His roles in IMPACT and New Japan put over the product, the wrestlers, and himself without it ever feeling forced. Callis is all too familiar with Omega and the rest of AEW handily. Hell, Callis knows more about AEW than Jim Ross and he (clap) doesn’t (clap) even (clap) work (clap) there (yet)!
The IMPACT executive is a bona fide perfect heel with experience in the booth, a great personality, and someone who has a history with wrestlers in the company. Callis adds to Kenny’s already spectacular matches with urgency for his golden goose. Even when debunking his foes, he still remembers to put them over and sells the show. He managed to help turn around IMPACT wrestling and he can do the same with AEW commentary. The Invisible Hand needs to be front and center of the AEW announce team. It’s only a question of when, not if.