WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard recently spoke with IMPACT Wrestling’s Tom Hannifan ahead of the company’s upcoming Las Vegas television tapings. Pritchard mentioned a recent quote by longtime WCW/WWE official Charles Robinson, who said the art of refereeing hasn’t really changed in several years. Hannifan was asked if he feels the same could be said about wrestling commentary in the last decade.
“I think yes [it has changed], but at the same time, its roots are still the same. There’s still the formulaic style of in-ring performance that we then follow. So naturally, that style is constantly being reinvented or borrowing from the past to make the present feel new. So, there’s things that we have to follow in there, but there’s just basic wrestling psychology that’s always going to live on. So, if you’re not hitting that on commentary, then you’re not learning wrestling commentary. You need to be able to understand that psychology in order to communicate the emotion of what’s going on, in order to be able to tell the story of what the fan is seeing in front of them. You can call every move till you’re blue in the face,” Hannifan noted. “You can talk about every championship and promotion country that somebody has wrestled in. That’s all well and good. But if you don’t get the moment and the emotion across, it just doesn’t matter.”
Hannifan then mentioned how Pat McAfee joining WWE has created a positive change for commentary, not just for his broadcast partner Michael Cole, but wrestling overall.
“So, it’s funny you say that [about the evolution of broadcasting]. I think a guy like Pat McAfee has done a lot to change wrestling commentary simply because he was an outsider coming to WWE and was given different opportunities to express himself, that all of a sudden you see Michael Cole jumping up and down. You don’t think he didn’t want to do that for 25 years? Well, yeah, it’s just loosened things up. There’s changes and that’s a good thing,” Hannifan said. “So, I think it’s reverberating throughout the business.”