BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #30 - An Open Letter to Joey Styles
Dear Joey Styles,
I’ve wanted to write this letter for a long, long time.
It’s time for you to resurface in professional wrestling.
I’ve followed you for your entire professional career. You started off as a young upstart commentator in Extreme Championship Wrestling, and, within a seven-year span, became the best play-by-play man in the industry, in my opinion.
You called ECW Barely Legal by yourself, and absolutely showcased yourself as the crown jewel of wrestling commentary. You made Joel Gertner a credible color analyst on ECW on TNN, and had the absolute best chemistry with Cyrus on ECW pay-per-views in the year 2000.
You were able to mix the hold-for-hold knowledge of the sport and mixed it with the 1990s snark and attitude. Legitimately, you were on an island to yourself.
When ECW went out of business in 2001, I wondered what would happen next. You, in turn, started the Joey Styles Hardcore Hotline, and became the voice of Major League Wrestling. It was a struggle to get my hands on MLW content in New Jersey, but I got it.
Once MLW went under, you disappeared. I figured you left the business entirely.
Then, June 12, 2005 happened.
You resurfaced at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan for ECW One Night Stand on pay-per-view, and absolutely tore it up. Your entrance alone gave me goosebumps. It still does all those years later. Your call on commentary was a breath of fresh air on WWE programming.
Obviously, it did the same with WWE, as you signed on to do Monday Night Raw for the next seven months, replacing an ill Jim Ross. Your sound clip at New Year’s Revolution 2006 when Edge won the WWE championship after cashing in Money in the Bank lives on to this very day. You even called Edge and Mick Foley in a hardcore match at WrestleMania 22.
However, Good Ol’ JR returned, and you were on the outside looking in. Thankfully, your scathing and truthful “shoot” was a precursor to you joining Tazz at the reborn ECW in June 2006.
Don’t get me wrong, WWECW was nothing great, but I tuned into the program on SyFy, solely to watch CM Punk and you on commentary.
When you left being an on-air talent to become the Vice President of Digital Media Content for WWE in 2008, there was a void in wrestling commentary for me.
For eight long years, you remained away from a commentary headset, working in the WWE offices.
Then, in 2016, you were released from WWE, and suddenly resurfaced on the independent circuit. You commentated CHIKARA “King of Trios”, a few Beyond Wrestling shows, and EVOLVE Wrestling. It was awesome to see you become “the Voice of the Indies”.
Personal opinion, the fallout from your joke made in EVOLVE was overblown. The way EVOLVE, CHIKARA, and Beyond removed you from their promotion as swift as they did was pathetic. I’ve seen and heard a boatload worse, and that’s my opinion on the matter.
It’s been seven years, and your self-imposed exile from the industry has left a tremendous hole for commentators and fans. You should be mentoring and working with the next generation, not be on the outside looking in.
You are the best damn commentator I ever heard, and, as the kids say now, deserve your flowers. It’s time to come back into professional wrestling.
I know this will most likely fall on deaf ears, but it’s time. A certain extravaganza is coming to Philadelphia in the Spring of 2023, and there might be no better time to emerge than now.
Joey Styles, it’s time to come back to wrestling. Please.
A Loyal Fan