NoDQ.com > Columns > Rambling Scotsman-Unfair treatment of Michael Cole
Posted by Kenny McIntosh on 05/07/2012 at 06:34 PM

When you write about pro-wrestling, you want to try and not type up a column on a generic subject or a topic that everyone else is covering. This week, I’m going to cover a wrestling personality that people often write a paragraph about but rarely take an in depth look at, and that’s WWE Monday Night RAW Play by Play man, Michael Cole. Michael Cole was a mainstream news correspondent who covered wars. But in 1997, as interviewer Todd Pettengill had handed in his notice, Cole came into replace him and take over the Livewire presenting and backstage interviewing duties. In the beginning, Cole seemed like the standard cookie cutter announcer mould that Sean Mooney had fulfilled before him. However when Jim Ross suffered a second bout of bells palsy in late 1998, Cole was thrust in his late 20’s to becoming the company’s acting lead announcer. Many fans unfairly criticised him because they compared him to Ross, the veteran. The company thanked him by having him call WrestleMania until Jim Ross came out for the main event and to take his job back. The company clearly had faith in the young rookie and chose to let him be the lead play by play announcer of the new show SmackDown later in 1999. As the millennium came and gone, Cole settled in nicely to his role on SmackDown and when he was joined in 2001 by Tazz, the duo became a great announcing team and began to rival the stale Jerry Lawler who commentated on RAW alongside Jim Ross.

By 2006, Cole and Tazz were internally thought of as the future main announce team for the WWE. But when the ECW brand was brought back and Tazz left the blue brand, Cole was in trouble. At first he had a great on air partnership with JBL until the Texan returned to action. Then he floundered in a team with The Coach until he started a decent announcing team with Mick Foley. It was a shame for Cole. He was a decent announcer who was losing momentum by constantly having to change his dynamic for new partnerships. But the move that turned fans on Cole was in June 2008, when in an unscripted moment, Vince moved Cole to RAW and JR to SmackDown. Fans took their anger on this childish betrayal to JR by mocking Cole and booing him at events. When Cole came out to say ‘goodbye’ to SmackDown, JR was booked to come out and take over. It was another kick in the balls that portrayed Cole as second rate. Cole did the best he could and even carried the unbearably out of touch Lawler to passable performances. After JR had to leave the announce booth due to health issues, Cole called the main event of WrestleMania 26, Taker/HBK II. Fans were outraged that JR wouldn’t call this epic match which would turn out to be Shawn Michaels last. But in truth, if you watch it back, Cole does a great job in selling the drama of the match and should be commended for his efforts in this event.

Shortly after Mania in 2010, Cole’s character slowly started turning heel by burying Daniel Bryan on NXT and later fully turning heel and feuding with Jerry Lawler and later Jim Ross. Cole was a fantastic heel and thoroughly entertaining but it hurt his announcing skills because he’d dip in and out of play by play to further his heel persona. But a few weeks ago at Hell In A Cell in Miami, Cole shook JR’s hand on air and seems to be back as the lead announcer. Cole has a chance to become great, but for this writer the one way to make that happen is to get rid of Jerry Lawler. Cole has thrived when his partners have been good (Tazz, JBL) I’m a huge JR fan, but I know we need to look forward and Michael Cole is the main man on the mic in WWE, and for anyone who complains, well who else would you choose?

- Rambling Scottish Coleminer

Kenny McIntosh's Plug
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