Here we are at part three of this month's Top 10 countdown of the best play-by-play announcers in the sport of wrestling, with numbers four, three and two. In case you missed the prior incarnations, you may read part one here, and part two here.
Number Four: Bill Mercer
Mercer did not start out as wrestling announcer, but he announced three other sports; baseball, football and basketball, and eventually he got involved with wrestling. He was a play-by-play man for several minor league baseball teams starting in the last 1950's but also worked for both the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox for a few years each in 1970's. Mercer also worked with the original AFL's Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs) and NFL's Dallas Cowboys, including when they appeared in there first Super Bowl in 1972. It was during his time at the University of North Texas that Mercer met Kevin Von Erich and in later years Stonecold Steve Austin that would lead him to becoming the voice of World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). His voice would provide all of the commentary during the matches in World Class, most often working without a color commentator during his tenure there. He would also do ringside interviews and he would go on location to interview the Von Erich at there ranch, "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin when he joined the promotion, and many more special outside the ring segments that became staples of World Class in its hey-day. He has over 60 years in the sports broadcasting business.
Number Three: Gordon Solie
Solie is well known as the "Dean" of wrestling announcers because he imparted an intelligent style that gave seriousness to the in-ring action. His style was also not bombastic, as many other wrestling announcers employed at the time and included many phrases that still resonate today in the sports entertainment business. Those phrases included "his face is becoming a crimson mask" when a wrestler would be cut open badly on the forehead during a match, and "pier six brawl" for matches that became all-out mayhem involving four or more wrestlers in the ring at one time. He worked for several wrestling territories, including Georgia Championship Wrestling and Championship Wrestling form Florida, before a stint in WCW for about two years between 1994 and 1995. Solie passed away in 2000, but would later be inducted posthumously into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008 by Jim Ross.
Number Two: Jim Ross
When you speak about a style of announcing that combines the loudness of many previous announcers, but the knowledge and expertise of men like Gordon Solie then you come to "Good Ol' JR" Jim Ross who was the voice of WWE during the "attitude era" on Monday Night Raw. Before he became known for such phrases as "slobberknocker" and "there is nothing between them but air and opportunity" Ross got his start in the Mid-South territory of Bill Watts. When Watts sold out to Jim Crockett, Ross became there top voice for a few years before the WWF came calling in 1993. He would come on-board as an interviewer at 'WrestleMania' IX, but teamed up with Bobby Heenan for the final months of "Wrestling Challenge" until Heenan left the WWF. Ross would be let go, and return, or be fired and re-hired several times over the next few years because of the Vince McMahon's legal issues and Gorilla Monsoon choosing to step down form his play-by-play duties. When Raw went head-to-head with Nitro during the Monday Night War his voice was what lent credence to all of the in-ring and backstage action that occurred. He was drafted to Smackdown in 2008 and worked that "brand" for a few years before leaving because of third bells palsy attack around the time of the 'Bragging Rights' pay-per-view in 2010. He has worked certain important matches in WWE since despite having been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
We do want to apologize for the delay in getting you this article but since some more current news occurred last week we felt that needed to be given the proper coverage first. Now we will conclude this countdown with the number one overall play-by-play man next week.
- Top 10 Wrestling Play-by-Play Announcers, Countdown Part Two
- Top 10 Wrestling Play-by-Play Announcers, Countdown Part One
- Top 10 Wrestling Promotions: Countdown Part Four, Who’s Number One?
- Top 10 Wrestling Managers, Countdown Part Three
- Top 10 Wrestling Managers, Countdown Part Two
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