Michael Cole considers himself to be an actor for WWE and explains “sports entertainment announcing”

During an interview with The Press Box podcast, WWE announcer Michael Cole talked about working for WWE since 1997…

“I always tell everyone when they ask me about working for WWE and sports entertainment that I am a fake broadcaster for a make believe sport, and I use a fake name. I mean all of that with the utmost respect. I’m not poking fun at the profession by saying that, but I try to use that analogy to explain to people what it’s like to be a commentator in sports entertainment. My real name is Sean Coulthard. I came from CBS News. I walked into sports entertainment as a fan not having any idea what I was getting myself into. I had to come up with a different name because at the time, Shawn Michaels was a major star in the company, and they didn’t want to have two Shawns on the air. So I took my middle name and half my last name. So I have a name that doesn’t belong to me, and I play a broadcaster on television. It’s really important that people understand that because yes, indeed, we do broadcast it and we are commentators, and it’s very serious of what we do. But there are many, many points where we have to act. If we don’t believe in certain storylines, or we don’t believe in certain characters, we have to make the audience believe that we believe, so we are actors. In many ways, we’re a scripted television show, so we have to do things the way that the writers and the boss want things done, and that’s why I consider myself an actor more so than anything else.”

“We’re not a wrestling company. WWE is an entertainment company. So the style that I utilize and the style that many people that work for me here in WWE utilize, is what I like to call sports entertainment announcing. A lot of people laugh at me about that. They’ll make jokes about it. But what we do here is much different than what they may do in other companies, because many of those companies, and rightfully so, and proudly so, are professional wrestling organizations. We’re a sports entertainment product. I’m going to date myself here, but some people will understand this. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, there was a television show called Taxi. Taxi was based in a taxi garage in New York City. What made that show interesting, and the reason it was one of the number one shows on television is because people became emotionally invested in these characters. That’s what sold the product. That’s why people watched, not because they were cab drivers in a garage. They were emotionally invested in their characters. It’s the same thing with WWE. We just happen to use a wrestling ring as our focal point of where our conflicts are resolved. But in order for our business to be successful, you have to become emotionally invested in the characters and what we are selling. The majority of the people that watch our product, they enjoy wrestling of course, but they also get really into the soap opera style of what we do. There’s a lot of other companies out there that do strictly wrestling, and that’s cool. You’re going to call a wrestling match much different than you’re going to call a sports entertainment match. We focus a lot on stories. We’re storytellers more than we’re play by play guys or color analysts, and I think that’s really where the difference lies.” (quotes courtesy of WrestlingNews.co)