Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Lost Art of Classic Ring Announcing

Legendary Joe McHugh introduces "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I have a fondness for many of the old-school ring announcers. They all had a a certain flare for the dramatic, and made the introduction of any match seem special. 

Good ring announcing is something of a lost art today, if you ask me. Every WWE ring announcer today sort of sounds like every other WWE ring announcer. Maybe that's their objective. For example, they all have that annoying habit of pronouncing the word championship "champion-she-ip."

WWWF Ring Announcer Joe McHugh
I guess the art of classic ring announcing went the way of the old smoke filled rooms that were the classic old venues in pro-wrestling.

One of my favorites might surprise you; the great Joe McHugh of the old W.W.W.F.

McHugh was a wrestling and boxing announcer going back to the 1950s, most famously with wrestling fans at the W.W.W.F. television tapings at Allentown, Pennsylvania's Agricultural Hall. When I first saw WWF "Championship Wrestling" on WOR-9 out of Secaucus, NJ in around 1981, I thought to myself, "Now THAT is a ring announcer."

I found a recent match on YouTube from the Philadelphia Spectrum that included a wonderful ring introduction of "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers by McHugh, and decided to include the audio here. I loved the way McHugh included the historical mention of Rogers being the only man (at that time) to have held both the NWA and WWF world titles.Those details mattered and meant something to fans.

The audio of that introduction is included here:

I always thought Joe McHugh and Raleigh's Joe Murnick (my favorite ring announcer of them all) were kindred spirits, at least in their ring announcing style, and both with accents of speech that clearly demonstrated from where they hailed. They are both at the very top of my list.