JBL Leaving Smackdown
Ten Picks To Take His Spot
September 2, 2017
This was reported last night, courtesy of http://vulturehound.co.uk.
John Bradshaw Layfield, aka JBL, announced on his official Twitter account he was leaving the SmackDown Live announce table to dedicate more time to at-risk youth and communities in Bermuda. Here are his words:
“After much consideration, I will be stepping back my weekly role as Smackdown Announcer to dedicate more continuous time on the work I have done since 2010 with at risk kids and communities. My new schedule will allow me to continue to be a part of the WWE family and also continue my work that I feel is the most important thing in my life. I will continue my 20+ year relationship with WWE and will appear on such marquee shows as Tribute to the Troops, WrestleMania, amongst others.
With the help of Beyond Sport, I founded Beyond Rugby Bermuda in 2010–which has been recognized as one of the world’s best charities for work with at risk, gang focused, youth intervention. Beyond Rugby Bermuda won the 2014 NACRA Fair Play Award out of 7,000 programs and 17 countries for its work with at risk kids. I was named as a Beyond Sport Global Ambassador–an organization backed by all major sports leagues in the U.S.
I’m proud to say that in addition to being Smackdown’s longest reigning WWE Champion, I inspired WWE’s Tribute to the Troops over 10 years ago. WWE has been my partner in all my philanthropic works and this new deal with WWE ensures that will continue. WWE has made my dreams come true and helped me become a global name. And now, WWE is helping me use that name to make a difference. “
JBL has been a part of the SmackDown commentary team since the WWE draft in July 2016. He was most recently part of a 3-man team that included Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton at the Blue announce table. No news yet on when JBL is going to step back and on who is going to replace him.
Most likely, the WWE will replace JBL with a safe choice, someone who has experience as a color commentator for WWE and knows the WWE way of calling matches and promoting the WWE brand, such as Jerry “The King” Lawler or Booker T or maybe even (Lord help us!) David Otunga. But I hope not. I hope that WWE decides to go outside the box with their selection and we get someone different for that third spot at the Smackdown Live announce table. What follows are ten names that I think could be considered for that esteemed spot. Yes, I admit that some of my choices might be a little out there, but they would each add a new vibe to the announce table and bring something new and different to the Smackdown Live broadcast. Let’s take a look at the ten men and women that I would like to see considered for the opportunity to take JBL’s spot.
10. “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko
A former AWA World Heavyweight Champion and WWE Hall of Famer. He retired Bruno and Nick Bockwinkle. He was the color guy for WCW, working alongside Gordon Solie, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and so many others. He saved Nitro from the hands of the nWo. And he’s wrestling’s only true “Living Legend”. Larry is old school and would make a weird third guy for the WWE, but he’s got a track record of success and lots of crazy vintage quotes stored away just waiting to be used. Time only fears the pyramids and the legends of pro wrestling. Give the Legend a chance.
9. Big Cass
While Big Cass is out of action and rehabbing his injured knee, let him sit with Byron and Tom Phillips and work on his promo skills. Maybe by sitting there each week and discussing the matches, analyzing the action, etc, his confidence and ability to talk and cut a promo might get better. It surely couldn’t hurt and would help Cass learn to relax when trying to get his message across, plus would keep him in the eyes and mind of the WWE Universe. It’s an idea that WWE should consider.
8. Mr. Bob Backlund
Mr. Backlund is a former WWWF Champion and one of the best wrestlers in the history of the WWE. He’s also one of the smartest men ever to step foot inside that ring and is such a distinct and unique character, it would awesome to see him working and doing commentary alongside Byron and Phillips. He’s old school, like Zbyszko, but is bat-shit crazy enough with his character that the newer fans would love and appreciate him as well. And just to hear him call Byron a “plebian”, that would be awesome.
She worked with Jim Ross in calling the action for the Mae Young Classic Tournament and while she’s not perfect, she’s not totally bad either. She’s better than David Otunga anyhow, but then again, so am I. Since the Women’s Movement is such a big part of the WWE these days, why not have a legendary women wrestler and Hall of Famer like Lita working and calling the action.
6. Diamond Dallas Page
Dallas started off as an announcer and a manager and why not let him come full circle and work as the color guy for WWE now. DDP is a smart guy, loves to talk and knows the business as well as anyone and better than most. While his favorite topic tends to be himself, hence his nickname “DD-Me”, but he could also do a great job getting the talent over and tell stories, talking about the older stars and making comparisons, etc. It would be good for wrestling, for DDP Yoga and for the WWE. And it would be interesting to see.
5. Eric Bischoff
I know that Bischoff is a busy man, but I’m sure that he could fly in on Tuesday nights and for pay-per-views and work as a color analyst. It would be awesome to get his unique comments and viewpoints on the current WWE talent and like Paul Heyman, he has such a unique character that it would stand out and really add so much to the show. Eric started off in the AWA as an announcer and then was an announcer in WCW before moving up to the corporate side of things and would be a great pick if WWE could ever make it happen. I don’t think it would happen, but I’d still love to see it.
Adam Copeland, aka “Edge” was the face of WWE Smackdown for so long and is such a popular and familiar character with the WWE fans, they would absolutely freak out and be thrilled to see the “Rated R Superstar” back in the WWE, even if it is just doing commentary. I know that Edge is doing TV and movies or at least was, plus the podcast with Christian, but I’m sure that he could work one night a week, plus pay-per-views and be the color guy for Smackdown.
It’s no secret that Dustin Rhodes career as an in-ring performer has seen his best days. While Goldust is currently doing well and having some great matches, let’s be honest. We’ll never see Goldust as a major champion in the WWE again. But he’s a great interview and good talker and it would be really interesting to see how he would handle a full time gig doing commentary. It could keep him in the spotlight and extend his career easily a good five or ten more years on televison. And who better fits the description of “Color Guy” than a man who is painted black and gold. It really has to happen.
2. Tyson Kidd
While most of my suggestions are more or less, tongue in cheek, this is one that I’m actually serious about. Tyson Kidd was a damn good wrestler who unfortunately had his career cut short due to injury a couple of years ago. Seeing as how much this man lives and breathes wrestling as Kidd did, why not give him a chance at a second career at the announce table. It worked for Corey Graves and hell, it worked for JBL after he was forced to retire due to back injuries. Tyson Kidd is married to Natayla and is still a major part of the WWE family, it just makes sense. He might do well and he might suck at it, but they should give him a chance. I think he would do a great job calling the angles and working as an analyst.
1. Phil Brooks (CM Punk)
And finally, just imagine if CM Punk was to pop up as the new color guy for Smackdown Live. The ratings would go through the roof. Everyone would be talking about it and it would literally be the biggest thing to happen in WWE in years. I know it’ll never happen, but even the Punk haters would be tuning in to see what happens. And could you imagine the production meetings before the show? Bringing in Punk would be the best thing WWE could ever do to get people talking and watching. It will never happen, but a man can dream.
And there you go with my picks on who would be the best person to take JBL’s spot on Smackdown Live. Some are serious and some are not, but they’re all people that WWE should consider before going back to the old reliables like Booker and Lawler. They’re okay, but since Smackdown Live is the land of opportunity, why not try out some new blood and think outside the box for a change. Just a suggestion, Vince.
And now, I’m out of here. Questions, comments and all feedback is welcome. Let me know what you think of my suggestions. Until the next time, have a great one and I’ll catch you later.