I have a confession to make: I'm a major mark for Michael Cole.
I'm not sure when it started, but I know when it gained momentum, and that was during the second season of NXT.
After Nexus wreaked havoc on RAW in June, I decided to tune in to season two of NXT. The ring work was decent, the rookies' mic skills were mediocre at best. What kept me coming back each week was the commentary.
Hard to believe, right?
After so many months of uneventful commentary on the other two shows, I was quite shocked when I heard commentary that actually made me laugh. And an overwhelming majority of it was coming from Michael Cole, who, just a few weeks earlier, was more annoying to me than anyone outside of Vickie Guerrero.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not even going to begin to compare Cole and Josh Matthews to JR and the King or Gorilla and Bobby Heenan, but in the era of PG, it works. I think it's mostly due to the fact that almost everything they say on NXT seems to be improvised more than it is scripted. It's almost as if Vince just gives them the green light to say what they want.
I wasn't going to watch season three of NXT at first, mostly because when the experienced divas wrestle, it almost puts me to sleep, so I could just imagine how bad rookies would be. But I decided to give it a chance because Cole had been delivering. Putting in Kaitlyn instead of the 6'9" girl didn't hurt, either. Yowser, just look at those legs..
Anyway, Cole continued to deliver in the first episode of the season. His dancing was hilarious, his red socks were even better. And when Matt Striker asked the audience to give a hand to Cole, I couldn't help but stand up and applaud. In addition, he's still continuing to transition into a full-fledged heel announcer, which Raw desperately needs. I'm just hoping that his personality continues to shine on the Monday night flagship like it does on NXT.
That brings me to episode two of NXT, season three. I'll admit I was flipping back and forth near the beginning of the show to watch the Yankees, so I'm not sure if they said why there was a gong out there, but it certainly made an impact.
When they had the "joke-off" contest to basically further humiliate these divas, Cole delivered the line, "I hope Naomi wins all of the challenges so we can end this show early." I'm not sure if it was the delivery, or the fact that I was partly giddy that the Yankees had won their game in extra innings, but I fell out of my chair with laughter.
Then Cole starts banging the gong. He went on to insult the rookie divas, Josh Matthews, Matt Striker, and the entire audience. He called them names for answering a knock-knock joke, which was what they were supposed to do. He put out more personality during that hour than I had seen from him in the 12-plus years he has worked for the company.
Once the second challenge of the night was completed, Cole began to bang the gong again. I saw the anger in his face and I knew what was coming next. He basically said he was better than the show and was done with it.
Now, I'm not sure if they're taking him off the show to give another commentator a tryout, or if he has another major role coming up. Like, say, the GM role maybe?
I'm hoping for two things:
1. That Cole is NOT the GM
2. That he stays on RAW, and, hopefully, NXT as a full-fledged heel announcer with that same personality on both shows
Either way, I strongly suggest to anyone that hasn't watched NXT before to find it on YouTube or when it airs replays on the Universal HD channel on Saturdays and listen for yourself.
And if anyone wants to start a "petition" to get Michael Cole back on the show, let me know, because I want to be the first one to sign it.
You can also check out my week in review every Sunday on www.ring-rap.com
Follow me on twitter @hbkedge3
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