Wrestling is not just about in-ring action, but about the stories that the matches tell. When it comes to two competitors putting on a match, that means that the commentating team plays a massive role in telling that story. The best wrestling commentary teams not only call the action but tell the story of the match.
The commentators explain to fans why wrestlers are doing what they are doing. They point out when a wrestler is working on a body part and when someone is struggling or suffering from a specific injury. They also tell the behind-the-scene stories that led to the match or about the wrestlers themselves. The best teams have a babyface commentator and a heel commentator, but never feel overwhelming when it comes to calling the action. Let's take a look at some of the best in the history of the business!
10 TONY SCHIAVONE AND BOBBY HEENAN
Both Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Tony Schiavone are on this list twice, with two different partners. However, their partnership in WCW needs to be mentioned here as well. Heenan had left WWE and partnered up with the voice of WCW in Schiavone and picked up where he left off in WWE.
Soon after the nWo took over, Heenan slowly moved his way out and ended up leaving the business. With Schiavone as the perfect foil for Heenan, though, the two shared some great moments in WCW.
9 MICHAEL COLE AND COREY GRAVES
WWE has changed their commentator teams to trios in recent years. Sadly, having three members has lessened the impact of the commentators telling stories. The three-person team often has people talking over each other and quipping with each other too much.
Forget about the third members like Byron Saxton (whose babyface cheering can sometimes grate) and Renee Young, who often displays a little too much emotion when talking about her favorites. The best two-person commentary team in WWE right now is Michael Cole, who has the experience, and Corey Graves, who is a modern-day Jesse Ventura on the microphone.
8 TONY SCHIAVONE AND JIM ROSS
Before he became the most recognizable voice in WWE, Jim Ross got his start in Mid-South Wrestling. He then moved over to WCW when the Crockett family purchased Mid-South from Bill Watts. The commentary team then went from serviceable to great when Ross joined up with Tony Schiavone.
As great as they were, it looks like they are reuniting. Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone will team back up as the commentary team in AEW when the new wrestling promotion heads to TNT.
7 MICHAEL COLE AND JBL
These two were a great commentary team. Michael Cole had developed a terrible reputation after Jim Ross left Monday Night Raw to him to lead.
He worked with Jerry Lawler, but the two never had the same connection that Lawler and Ross had. Then, when Cole took on the role as the heel announcer and began feuding with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, it almost ruined him. He rebounded, improved, and finally clicked with JBL as the experienced veteran heel announcer.
6 JOEY STYLES BY HIMSELF
Forget about the two-men commentary team and don't even talk about WWE needing three people to tell stories in today's world of television. When Paul Heyman turned ECW into a fan favorite wrestling promotion, they only needed one man to call the action -- Joey Styles.
Styles was brilliant in ECW, his obvious love of wrestling shined through, and his knowledge and enthusiasm made him an integral part of ECW television.
5 JIM ROSS AND PAUL HEYMAN
Jim Ross had a great partnership with Jerry Lawler, but he also had an incredible connection with Paul Heyman in 2001. It made sense because the two also worked together a decade before in WCW. Heyman, who mostly worked behind-the-scenes in ECW, came into WWE as an announcer to start with.
Jim Ross and Paul Heyman were at their best when they worked the commentary desk on SmackDown Live. When Heyman left the desk in the middle of an episode to join ECW in the ring during the Invasion, it ended an excellent commentary team in WWE.
4 MAURO RANALLO AND NIGEL MCGUINNESS
A lot of people complain about Nigel McGuinness. However, for fans who have followed him since his days as the Ring of Honor champion, he is a great voice. Nigel has a solid knowledge of wrestling and perhaps a slight tendency to push the heels in stories.
However, the gold standard in WWE announcing today is Mauro Ranallo. He was excellent on SmackDown Live, but he is the master on NXT, and he and McGuinness are a great team. The enthusiasm and joy in Ranallo's calls makes listening to commentary a joy in NXT.
3 GORILLA MONSOON AND JESSE VENTURA
For many WWE fans of a certain age, Gorilla Monsoon was the Voice of WWE. After a career as a monster in professional wrestling, he moved to the commentary table in 1982 after Vince McMahon bought the company from his dad. Monsoon worked as the play-by-play commentator for the first eight WrestleMania events.
Monsoon had several partners behind the desk of WWE television shows and worked with Jesse "The Body" Ventura until 1990. The two were masterful, both former wrestlers. Monsoon cheered for the babyfaces and Ventura called it down the line.
2 JIM ROSS AND JERRY LAWLER
The Attitude Era was the biggest and most famous era of WWE history. With so many fans, and the fact that more people watched Monday Night Raw during Raw than any other era, the voices of the TV show will always remain iconic. Those men were Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.
When they were together in the Attitude Era, the two men called some of the most iconic moments in professional wrestling history.
1 GORILLA MONSOON AND BOBBY HEENAN
When Jesse "The Body" Ventura left WWE, the company chose to pair up Gorilla Monsoon with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Heenan moved away from being the top heel manager in the company to becoming one of the best commentators in WWE history.
The back-and-forth between Monsoon, who still praised all the babyfaces, and Heenan, who was ridiculous in his over-the-top statements and excuses for the heels, was masterful. Listening to Monsoon say "give me a break" to Heenan, who played along perfectly, was always a joy.