Wrestling News Roundup: ‘Smackdown,’ Jim Ross/AEW

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I was trying, yet again, to give WWE a chance, tuning in to “Smackdown” last night.

Liked the Daniel Bryan promo about fracking. Flipped back to a baseball game to see Stephen Strasburg dominating.

Then got back to “Smackdown” at the start of the 9 p.m. Eastern hour to see what they were going to sell me to keep me from going back to baseball.

Seriously, a Shane McMahon career retrospective video?

And, I mean, a lengthy one. Had to go on for three, four minutes.

I don’t know exactly how long it went, because I flipped back to the baseball game, and never went back.

Memo to WWE: I don’t care about Shane McMahon. You have dozens of actual pro wrestlers – which is what they are; not sports entertainers, wrestlers, stop being ashamed of being what you are, a wrestling company.

Ahem. Dozens of actual pro wrestlers. Yes, and you’re not using really all that many of them, and even the ones you use, you’re not using right.

So, you waste the segment at the top of the 9 p.m. Eastern hour on Shane McMahon, a novelty act at best, that, again at best, you should trot out once a year, let him do his Coast to Coast, jump off a cage onto a ringside table, and then put him back in mothballs.

He’s not the cornerstone of your ratings resurgence.

Strasburg was brilliant, struck out 11 in seven innings, and the Nats held on to win, 5-4.

I don’t know what happened on “Smackdown” after I tuned out.

I love Jim Ross, and I love Jim Ross in AEW.

OK, so, that said, I thought Ross sounded woefully unprepared for the AEW “Double or Nothing” show on Saturday night.

He didn’t know who the Super Smash Brothers were when they attacked The Best Friends and Jack Evans/Angelico after their tag match, which, OK, I get that Ross likes to say that he doesn’t want to know what’s going to happen ahead of time, so that his commentary can sound fresh, not scripted, but, how can you not know who the guys attacking the guys in the ring are?

And, OK, how can there not be somebody screaming in his headset from the back? Otherwise, why do we have the Super Smash Brothers out there, other than to get over with the fans watching back home?

The other flub came during the segment in which Bret Hart unveiled the AEW title belt. I liked what they were doing here, highlighting Adam Page, MJF, Jungle Boy and Jimmy Havoc.

Again, it would help if the superstar play-by-play guy knew the talents they were trying to get over.

Ross expressed surprise at seeing Havoc come out of the tunnel, and said something about him looking like a death match personified.

Um, yeah. That’s how he made his name.

Maybe it was having Tony Khan in Gorilla, and he’s just learning the ropes, and not yet Vince McMahon, rewriting shows on the fly through the headsets, but if your main voice isn’t going to study up on the talents and storylines, somebody needs to be there to make sure the stories get over, or you’re just wasting your time.

To reiterate: I love JR, and I love JR in AEW.

Column by Chris Graham

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