John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) is expected to be Jerry "The King" Lawler's fill in for the time being. Photo via upload.wikimedia.org.
Earlier today, Geno Mrosko reported that Jim Ross was in Boston for tonight's Night Of Champions pay-per-view, which led to the obvious speculation that he was the man chosen by Vince McMahon to fill in for Jerry "The King" Lawler as the colour commentator on Monday Night Raw until Lawler has made a full recovery from his recent heart attack. It would be the most obvious choice, given how closely the two have worked together over the last 15 years and everyone knows that they are best friends in real life too.
But Ross being there may just be a coincidence. As Dave Meltzer has reported on his latest subscriber only Wrestling Observer Radio show that John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) will be commentating at the PPV tonight and presumably will be taking over Lawler's commentary position on Raw for the foreseeable future, as there is no timeline yet on when The King will be healthy enough to return.
Indeed, Meltzer noted that though Lawler's recovery so far from such a serious heart attack has been impressive and better than expected, the miraculous nature of it has been exaggerated by WWE and there are still some issues that will take time to recuperate from. Which is only to be expected when he was without oxygen to the brain for many minutes, though thankfully he had no significant brain damage.
Regarding JBL, just a few weeks ago, shortly after Booker T was removed from Smackdown's commentary booth and made the brand's General Manager, he made it clear that he would be interested in returning to WWE and being Booker's replacement. However, by that time Josh Matthews had already been given the spot. But by making his interest in the position be publicly known then, that made him the perfect alternative candidate to Ross now, who Vince McMahon would be unlikely to want to bring back due to their weird love hate relationship together.
With the exception of Mick Foley and Ross of course, JBL may be the only person around who has the required stature and commentary experience to be accepted as Lawler's replacement. He had great chemistry with Michael Cole, instilling the right mix of heel bias, humour and insight into the role, when he was Cole's Smackdown broadcast colleague while recovering from a serious back injury that eventually caused him to retire between June 2006 and December 2007. He was so good that it may have been a big mistake to leave that cushy, hard to get position in order to have one last run as a WWE headliner, which was fairly lacklustre due to his nagging back problems.