WWE announcers’ notes, 1980s style

A lot of people in the Internet wrestling community had a good time poring over several pages of leaked announcer’s notes that the WWE supposedly supplies it commentators with. Being in the hot seat as the lead announcer of Monday Night Raw means not only coming with your “A game” for a live broadcast, but also having to hear Vince McMahon likely yell at you throughout the night on your headset with his idiosynchratic rules about what to say and how to say.

A subreddit on the Reddit site released the notes, and images of them got posted. If you haven’t seen them, it’s worth checking out if a) you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes production involved with commentators on WWE shows b) need some good wrestling humor.

You’ll see instructions such as not referring to championships as “belts,” encouraging announcers to “embellish the status of superstars,” and suggesting commentators read WWE.com all week as a resource on the federation’s storylines.

With all of this in mind, it made me wonder what notes might appears on an announcer’s cheat sheet in 1982. You can just image McMahon or Gorilla Monsoon going over these:

  • Never describe a particular hold. It’s far easier to say, “What a maneuver!”
  • Good guys should not “make a comeback.” Instead, the big moment should be described as: “Katy, bar the door!” or “He’s a house afire!”
  • If a star is caught in a submission hold, immediately say, “This guy will never give up.”
  • When two mid-carders wrestle on TV, it’s best to enhance the match by reminding fans: “This could be a main event anywhere in the world.”
  • All other sports are to be criticized. Remind viewers that “There’s no time out in professional wrestling” or that “He didn’t like football — it wasn’t tough enough for him.”
  • Strange wrestlers don’t come from Main Street, USA. Instead, they hail from Parts Unknown.
  • Do not acknowledge when the crowds cheer a bad guy.
  • Roided up wrestlers should be complimented on “being in great shape.”

What about you? Any talking points to add for 1980s announcers?

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4 comments

  1. Beantown Wring Wrat

    Lets not forget Wrestling fans that these “scripts” that we are laying our eyes on now are due in part of what is now known as “Sports Entertainment.” Entertainment in which is provided by not only the professional athletes in the ring but the announcers describing the matches and the storylines in itself. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s the WWF(E) was not a publicly traded company, nor was it a world wide media billion dollar juggernaut as it is today. TV revenue as well as advertising revenue equals one thing: MONEY. Vince being the perfectionist he has always been takes no prisoners when it comes to todays “sports entertainment announcing.” I am sure thousands of media moguls, advertising groups were consulted on each and every word that is transmitted over the WWE airways. The scripted examples we were provided surely dictate that marketing and advertising agencies have their hand in this product as well. “Don’t say this, but say this instead” is a perfect example. Like making a commercial. You have to have a market strategy and therefore you need to relate to that market. Some of the examples we have seen surely sound as if it were “out with the old, and in with the new.” I noticed a lot of the notes in these scripts are carefully monitored and retorted in several categories. Bottom line usually is what the boss wants the boss gets. If he says “say this that way”, then you do it. No longer are we listening to ad libbed paraphrases which are derived right from the top of the announcers mindset. This of course has to do with the product we are watching each and every week on the WWE shows. One thing I have noticed lately on the live WWE Monday Night Raw broadcasts is that at various times the announcers who read these scripts are sometimes way off the storyline. Or better yet ahead of themselves. A good example of this is during last weeks RAW, (I forget which match) but at the finish of one of the matches, Michael Cole already counting one, two, three on a match and he was about 2 seconds off the script. Thus making the outcome of the match a bit foiled as well as tainted. Of course I only noticed this because I was expecting the usual “kick out” attempt and it did not happen. I personally feel announcers should have leverage during certain segments and vice versa. Has anyone also noticed Jerry “The King” Lawlers funny references have been cut back a lot? I think I counted maybe 2 or 3 retorts during a Smackdown taping as to his always colorful analysis which used to be never ending. Gone are the days of “going to the well, one to many times.” We are now in the age of “the well has run dry, try and figure something else out.” But wait, I am sure Vince, Steph or someone else will tell you what to say next…..

  2. vegaswrestling

    Tell the fans a certain heel has been “suspended in several states” and if someone may get a title shot the Championship Committee is preparing to name a new #1 Contender.

  3. Frank

    McMahon; “This is a real Donnybrook” or “his wrestling style is catch-as-catch-can” Pat Patterson; “I do not like repeating myself but….Sammartino; “Back to you Vince”

  4. M.L. (@philaman01)

    I saw that list as well and it’s ridiculous! Monsoon is turning over in his grave and saying ‘give me a break!’.

    Speaking of which, here is something he would always say: Monsoon would always add “winner’s share of the purse” to give the impression that a large pay-off would go to the winner of the match.

    Wrestling was always associated with fun. Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura, and Bobby Heenan made it fun.

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