With the return of Jerry "The King" Lawler to the Raw announce team, Michael Cole faces a tough decision: Does he go back to his heel persona or stick to a more professional demeanor?
Every since Lawler's heart attack nearly stopped the September 10th edition of Raw, Michael Cole has scaled down his heel character.
Doing so was virtually impossible given his notorious persona over the past few years.
Cole often berated Lawler with jokes rather than calling a match, and also became the tool of the anonymous Raw general manager as he began every dreadful announcement with, "Can I have your attention please?"
His pompous and annoying persona peaked during the buildup to his match against Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania when he encased himself in a plastic cube as to not be harmed during a taping of Raw.
But as that unfortunate event unfolded, Michael Cole the person—not the commentator—eventually appeared.
The transition from mean-spirited jokester to legitimate professional was instantaneous. While Lawler recovered, Jim Ross and John "Bradshaw" Layfield filled in.
This invoked some sense of nostalgia since both announcers were the flagship commentators on Raw and SmackDown, respectively.
But the constant reminders of Lawler's health and eventual return made it clear that the two commentators were simply backups alongside Cole, no matter how good they are.
Michael Cole became the voice of Raw, and of WWE in general, as a result. The commentary team revolved around him.
The only real question is: Can Cole keep this professionalism and not slip back into his heel character?
During last Monday's Raw, Jerry Lawler said he missed everyone, to which Cole responded with, "Even me?"
It seemed that Cole was about to mock Lawler. Fortunately, he refrained from doing so and continued with the commentary.
This is as close to his old character as Cole should be. It is better to leave the larger-than-life personas to the in-ring performers.