wrestling / Columns

Top 7 Sports Media Personalities WWE Should Hire

April 29, 2022 | Posted by Steve Cook
WWE Logo, WWE Night, Sam Alvey, WWE Campus Rush Recruitment Tour Image Credit: WWE

Nick Khan did a great number of things before becoming President of WWE. One role he held was co-head of television at the Creative Artists Agency. While with CAA, Khan represented a number of people involved in sports media. Khan got folks like Mike Greenberg, Skip Bayless & countless others big contracts from networks. We’ve already seen his ties with people in that profession result in sports media personalities appearing on WWE television.

Results have been mixed. Adnan Virk has done well covering various sports and cinema throughout his media career, but his lack of knowledge pertaining to WWE made him a poor choice as Raw’s lead commentator. Jimmy Smith has done a better job in that role, as he was a wrestling fan and had experience calling fights for various MMA promotions. Pat McAfee’s WWE tenure has met with mostly positive reviews. Jackie Redmond appears on NHL programming spends late Monday nights hosting Raw Talk.

Redmond’s good friends with Renee Paquette, who also found her way into wrestling through sports media. WWE discovered Renee through her work with The Score in Canada, and the rest was history. Scott Stanford was a sports news anchor in New York City. Jonathan Coachman’s career in sports media is well-known. Even before Nick Khan came to WWE, the sports world provided a good amount of on-air talent.

I’ve always watched way too much sports television. It’s been on another level over the last several months since I started working somewhere that sports is on TV all day every day. So I feel there’s nobody more qualified than I to tell WWE about the seven most magnificent sports media people they should hire.

7. Kay Adams

Kay became the voice of the NFL Network during her time as host of Good Morning Football. With all due respect to other folks on the network, Kay had a better connection with the audience than the rest. Her adoption of the Cincinnati Bengals during 2021 was one of the highlights of a season that included a Super Bowl run. She does a good job interviewing football players, actors and everybody in-between, so I’d figure she’d be ideal for that role in WWE.

Apparently Kay’s going to be getting some of that Amazon money, so she probably won’t be looking for extra work anytime soon. Then again, some people like wearing a lot of hats and she seems like one of those people.

6. Colin Cowherd

Colin’s opinion on WWE has done a bit of a 180 during his media career. Back in 2005, he was making fun of fans sad over the death of Eddie Guerrero. In the past few years, Cowherd has become a big WWE fan, attending big events and having WWE Superstars on his show. On one hand, it’s nice that he’s given WWE a chance, on the other hand it seems obvious the connection between WWE & Fox made it happen. Not to mention all that money Nick Khan got him in his move to Fox.

Longtime wrestling fans haven’t forgotten what Cowherd said about Eddie & other dead wrestlers, so it’s tough to see an appearance from him on WWE television getting a high approval rating. Most fans my age & older wouldn’t be willing to give Cowherd a chance. However, it’s tough to say that he wouldn’t be effective in a panelist role a la Peter Rosenberg or Sam Roberts. Likely more effective than them, to be honest.

5. Lauren Gardner

LG Red is one of the most versatile people I’m aware of, and has interests similar to mine. I’ve seen her host a fantasy football show, a MLB recap show & a NHL recap show, along with a Sports Detectives show. She’s covered pretty much every sport under the sun, and currently hosts a show on MLB Network that doesn’t try to run people away from watching baseball, which is a pretty big feat. Gardner can cover any sport you want her to and can do it well. As somebody that tries to do the same, I admire that. I also have an affinity for redheads, but that’s neither here nor there.

I don’t think she’s much of a wrestling fan, but that might not be a problem in the eyes of WWE. The only negative I can think of…will Becky Lynch let anybody else in the company have red hair? Tough to say.

4. Stugotz

Why do I think this guy would fit in well in WWE? He’s spent his media career playing a character. Stugotz has spent years perfecting his persona as the ultimate hot take artist. If there’s a crazy sports-related opinion to have, Stu’s had it at one point or another. Heck, if there’s a sports-related opinion to have, Stu’s had it at one point or another. Consistency usually isn’t one of his strong suits.

Fortunately, pro wrestling commentary is a field where these skills would come in handy. One could hear Stugotz as the classic rasslin heel announcer, always making excuses for people that contradict the last excuses he made for them. It’d be a good time.

3. Kevin Harlan

I’ve always wondered why Harlan wasn’t the #1 announcer for any sport at one of the places he works at. I understand Jim Nantz on top of the NFL chart at CBS, but for college basketball he’s only there for one month of the year. As for the NBA on TNT, Marv Albert was kept on top several years too long before his retirement largely due to nostalgia. Harlan has called the Super Bowl on radio for over a decade now, but let’s be honest: unless you’re blind, driving a truck somewhere or in prison you’re not listening to the Super Bowl on the radio.

Harlan has the right style to fit pro wrestling. His voice goes up at the right time for the big moments, and his signature calls already seem like they’d fit well in a wrestling match. You could hear him yelling “WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE” while some fool dives off a high place through their opponent on a table. He has the proper sense of humor, as we’ve heard him call drunks & cats running out on the field. I think Kevin Harlan would fit in a pro wrestling/sports entertainment setting like a glove.

The one downside? Harlan is 61 years old, a bit more experienced than WWE prefers their lead announcers to be. WWE’s recent Raw PBP choices are nearly twenty years younger. Tom Hannifan, formerly known as Tom Phillips, is nearly thirty years younger. Heck, Michael Cole is 53, and it feels like he was around when Thesz fought Hutton at this point. That being said, the way WWE goes through voices not named Michael Cole these days, it just might go to show that a person doesn’t necessarily need to be young in order to be a pro wrestling play by play announcer. (I think that anybody outside of WWE management knows this already.)

2. Stephen A. Smith

When I pitched this idea to my editor, his response included the following:

“I hope Stephen A. Smith isn’t on there!”

Which is exactly why Stephen A. has to be on the list. This dude could get heat in an icebox. Everybody has an opinion about Smith’s contributions. They either love or hate him, there isn’t much of an in-between. Me, I don’t usually find myself agreeing with him, but I do find myself entertained by his presentation. Dude knows how to rant. I have no doubt he could cut money promos on anybody WWE has to offer. As we saw with his interview with Triple H, he has a ton of love & respect for the company. Not sure if he loves & respects WWE enough to take a paycut, but I could see bringing him in for a short run.

I wouldn’t have him announcing. He probably could do well in a similar role to Pat McAfee on SmackDown, but I’d rather see him as a heel manager. If there’s anybody that could heel it up even more than Paul Heyman, it might be Smith. I figure whatever he’s involved in would be one of the more heated parts of the show, and would get some ESPN publicity like McAfee’s physical involvement in WrestleMania did.

1. Robert Flores

Back when WWE signed Adnan Virk, I wondered if they had accidentally signed the wrong MLB Network host. I mean, they did manage to sign the wrong one-legged wrestler once upon a time, so I didn’t put it totally past Vince McMahon to sign the wrong guy. I imagine RoFlo must have been pretty jealous of Virk for the few weeks that Virk got to call WWE Raw.

Flores’ product knowledge exceeds anybody else I can think of in the business. His MLB Central show is pretty much a nonstop parade of wrestling references. Anybody named A.J. is Phenomenal. He’s making Honky Tonk Man references. Everybody does Randy Orton stomps or has Randy Orton tattoos. There’s a weekly segment talking about “ham n’ eggers”. As a wrestling fan I appreciate it, but I do wonder what viewers that aren’t obsessed with wrestling make of it all.

Flores did call one wrestling event: Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary 2017. Flores & Don West were brought in to call the show, as regular announcers Josh Mathews & Jeremy Borash were booked in a tag team match against each other. Because Impact. His current weekday morning work schedule might make Raw a tough go, but SmackDown could be feasible.

Thanks for reading! Hit me up on the social media or the e-mail [email protected], or chime in down in the comment section with thoughts, concerns & NBA or NHL playoff predictions.

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WWE, Steve Cook