A familiar face returned Friday night when ECW Legend Tazz filled in for Mick Foley as color-commentator on SmackDown. It was Tazz's first time back on the blue brand since joining the Land of the Extreme two years ago.
"I was excited about the opportunity to return to SmackDown. To be quite frank, I always missed SmackDown even though I was on ECW, which I've loved," Tazz said. "When I found out that I would be able to call SmackDown with WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, arguably the greatest announcer in the in the history of the industry, I was extremely excited."
Admittedly, Tazz hadn't planned to fill in on SmackDown -- that is, until the events that transpired one week before. Mick Foley was the surprise guest on "The Cutting Edge," and gave Edge a stern talking to about what he needed to do in order to defeat Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at SummerSlam. Foley warned that The Deadman would tear apart the "new" Edge, which quickly prompted the Rated-R Superstar to viciously attack the Hardcore Legend. He then culminated the melee by leaping off a ladder and smashing Foley through a table (WATCH).
"It felt wild walking out on that stage to announce SmackDown," Tazz described. "The fans were a little surprised. I think they didn't expect to see Mick Foley, based off what happened last week against Edge, but I think our fans didn't expect to see me either. It was pretty cool."
Tazz has shared his duties as announcer with notable play-by-play commentators such as Michael Cole, with whom he spent five years on SmackDown, and Joey Styles, formally of ECW. This marks the first time Tazz will work with Ross regularly, until Foley recovers.
"What's better than a guy from Oklahoma and a guy from Brooklyn sitting side-by-side and talking about wrestling? It's great," Tazz enthusiastically stated. "I enjoyed working with Michael Cole and Joey Styles. I learned a lot from them. Sitting next to J.R., I'm going to be a sponge -- observe, learn, have fun and interact with him. It's going to be great chemistry between the both of us."
Last Tuesday night on ECW, Matt Striker filled in for Tazz on color-commentary. After observing Striker's performance, Tazz thinks Striker has "a bright future as a WWE announcer," if the Superstar ever decided to hang up his wrestling boots to take on the role full-time.
"Matt Striker's an intelligent guy, and he's articulate. He's been around for quite sometime … and he's a student of the industry, which is important," Tazz said. "Any announcer in WWE will tell you that the announcing role is a never-ending evolution process. You're constantly learning. I love the challenge; that's why I love doing it."