Just over two years ago, everybody who loved wrestling hated Michael Cole. He was built as an over-the-top heel and was grating on the entire WWE Universe.
He was pretty much spoiling WWE television for a lot of people and hogging a lot of spotlight that should have been used by tag teams, divas and lower-card wrestlers.
He constantly referred to himself as the “Voice of the WWE” throughout this period, a claim that some believe now applies to the 43-year-old commentator.
When Jerry Lawler collapsed a few weeks ago at his desk, the professionalism and real-life friendship between the two became apparent, as Michael Cole sounded legitimately shaken and upset by what was happening to The King.
Michael Cole handled the situation as well as any broadcaster could have by not panicking and keeping the audience informed of what was going on as the medical staff attended to Lawler at the side of Cole.
In typical WWE fashion, the show went on, but with no commentary during the matches. Michael Cole made his voice heard at the end of every segment with updates on Lawler’s condition that carried the gravitas expected in these situations.
Is this enough to brand Michael Cole the “Voice of the WWE”?
The man is on every WWE show without fail, and since this situation with Jerry Lawler (if not before that) he has become a normal play-by-play commentator; his commentary has improved immensely.
However, Jim Ross is still going on WWE television and is rising back to prominence since he began covering for Jerry Lawler. Every time I hear his commentary I get shivers down my spine.
Jim Ross can make a match between Hornswoggle and Ted DiBiase sound like it’s a 5-star epic battle. Michael Cole cannot. Michael Cole does not have the power to make the crowd enhance their reactions to what the wrestlers are doing in the ring like Jim Ross does.
Due to his heel run, I do not believe the audience will be that quick to connect with Michael Cole just because he handled one situation correctly and as he should have done.
I think it has ruined his career in one respect, but if he carries on being supported by JBL and Jim Ross then I see no reason why one day he won’t become the Voice of the WWE.
He really needs to make the audience feel like every match is important, which is a skill that Michael Cole seems to be lacking in. The fact that he and Jerry Lawler themselves do not go together very well has hurt his chances of becoming one of the greatest commentators of all time.
If he'd had someone better to bounce off when he moved to Raw, such as JBL (someone who doesn’t allow Cole to get away with making stupid statements), we might not have even seen the heel turn that plagued WWE programming for over a year.
Michael Cole has a very long way to go before he can brand himself as the “Voice of the WWE.” To be honest, I don’t think it is a title that Jim Ross will ever lose, even after he is retired.
Michael Cole has a lot to improve on, but he does have a lot of time to improve on it, which works in his favour. It may happen in the future, but for now, he is just a plain commentator.