June 4, 2006
REAL NAME: Joseph Bonsignore
Styles is actually Joseph Bonsignore. His dream of being a wrestling announcer started at the age of 13. After graduating from high school, he went to Hofstra University, where he took courses in television performing in order to hone his skills.
He cut his teeth in the world of wrestling as an intern for the magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated and while acting as the play-by-play commentator for the North American Wrestling Association's show on SportsChannel America and other independent promotions. While working at PWI, Bonsignore met future ECW promoter Paul Heyman and showed him some tapes of his commentary work.
With the birth of ECW, Heyman offered Bonsignore a job and on June 19, Bonsignore became Joey Styles, lead commentator for Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Known as much for his wrestling knowledge, quick wit and willingness to mention other wrestling organizations as for his trademark "OH MY GOOOODDDD!!!" exclamations that fit so well with the wild action that characterized ECW, Styles would work solo on many occassions but also shared the announce booth (or Crow's Nest as it was called) with Cyrus and Joel Gertner. He also gained fame as the first wrestling commentator to call a live pay-per-view (Barely Legal in April 1997) alone.
After the demise of ECW in 2001, Styles worked for Xtreme Pro Wrestling for approximately a month before leaving the organization in December 2002, and worked for Major League Wrestling in mid-2003. Meanwhile, Styles continued to be active in the sport as the co-owner of the wrestling website 1wrestling.com.
With the ECW revival in June 2005, Styles was behind the mic for both Hardcore Homecoming (with Cyrus) and One Night Stand with Mick Foley. After toying with starting his own organization, Extremely Hardcore, Styles instead signed with WWE that same month and began to host ECW programming on WWE 24/7.
With the "firing" of Jim Ross, Styles appeared on WWE's Taboo Tuesday, calling the action with Jerry Lawler. The next week, Styles joined Lawler and the Jonathon Coachman on commentary and becamme the lead commentator for several months after, signing a five-year deal in December, 2005.
Styles did earn some criticism backstage for concentrating the action in the ring rather than selling the storylines. This led to Styles' involvement in calling Wrestlemania 22 to be curtailed to only being on commentary during the Edge/Mick Foley hardcore match, with a returning Ross handling the bulk of the commentary duties for Raw. It was criticism that Styles responded to when he allegedly quit WWE in a rage over the organization's focus on "sports entertainment" rather than pro wrestling.
With the re-launch of ECW as a third WWE "brand" in June 2006, Styles was front and centre again.