With the controversy over John “Bradshaw” Layfield showing no signs of slowing down and the “Superstar Shake-Up” beginning Monday on Raw, this might be the time where WWE decides to part ways with the controversial former world champion and color commentator on Smackdown Live.
Here are a few names that would replace JBL. This list assumes that Tom Phillips and David Otunga will stay on the blue brand.
Saxton, himself a victim of quite a bit of on-air bullying from Corey Graves and even Michael Cole, would make a lot of sense as a replacement. Vince thinks very highly of him, even if he does get a lot of grief from his fellow broadcasters. However, both Otunga and Saxton are “babyface” commentators. Traditionally there is at least one “heel” on commentary, meaning that either of them or maybe Tom Phillips would need to turn.
Renee commentated on both NXT and Superstars before moving to a fully backstage role and becoming the host of Unfiltered and Talking Smack. Young has already made history as the first permanent female commentator and is beloved by fans.
However, this might conflict with rumors that she is planning on getting in the ring.
Think Macho Man on early episodes of Raw. KO has already proven he has the chops to be on the mic, and his turns on commentary during opponents’ matches have always been good.
Before coming to WWE, he was the chief color commentator for Pro Wrestling Guerilla. (warning: strong language)
Booker was previously on the Smackdown team before leaving to focus on his wrestling school and radio show in Houston. Booker brings a lot of credibility to commentary. He’s always very fair and is good at recalling history and a wrestler’s story. If I had the pick, I would put Booker T back on. In an era where people are expecting less story-telling and more straight-up commentary, Booker would be the best choice. However, his plans to run for mayor of Houston may prevent that.
Ross recently re-signed with WWE after a four-year absence. JR becoming a permanent fixture on Smackdown would be a draw in itself. He is the most credible voice in wrestling, and his teaming with Phillips could give the younger commentator the legitimacy to take over the top spot. However, Ross has said that he doesn’t care for the travel and demands of TV and seemed to hint that his deal only covered special events and projects.
Lawler was the heel commentator on Smackdown for a few months last year, and I thought he did a good job. His new deal with WWE has him in a smaller role, mainly doing pre-shows and special events. The idea of him and Ross getting back together on Smackdown is very tempting. They were the voices of the Attitude Era, and their chemistry was the best of any team WWE’s had.
The former indie all-star just recently joined the NXT commentary team, where he is playing a character that is heelish. He previously commentated for Ring Of Honor on their television shows and PPVs. He debuted in WWE joining Michael Cole in commentating the UK Championship Tournament. However, I think McGuiness’ value lies in his indie credentials, something that NXT and UK fans care more about. He’d essentially be starting from zero on WWE’s flagship shows.
Phillips and Otunga on their own might be the most boring team on television. But at least we could count on them not to bully, say corny jokes or try to make it about themselves.
Did we miss anyone? Do you think JBL is here to stay? Share your thoughts.