Michael Cole: Is He the New Master Heel or Just an Awkward Antagonist?
Considering the events of last night, I doubt there's anything much I can add that others haven't said. Just in case you really care, I found most of the PPV good except for the thoroughly disappointing main event.
So I decided to write about the other thing on everyone's mind—Michael Cole's new heel persona on commentary.
I'm aware there's been articles about this before, but if Bleacher Report isn't for spouting your inane opinion in the hope that someone will read it and care, I don't know what is. So here goes my own inane opinion.
Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with a heel commentator. There's always room for one, be it Heenan or Lawler or whoever. They contrast against your Good Ole' J.R.'s and make sure there's someone pushing the bad guy in a match.
It can also lead to some pretty hilarious exchanges or make commentary seem that much more emotional when the two play-by-play men clash (see Jim Ross and Paul Heyman. J.R. has admitted that a lot of that was genuine anger due to disliking Heyman).
So why the article, I pretend the IWC cried. Well, because Cole isn't your classic heel commentator. Sure, he'll put down some people, he'll support the odd heel here and there and he'll try to be arrogant, but something just isn't right. Let's review.
Is Michael Cole a good heel commentator?
Well, the main case for this is that he's good at making you hate him. Whether he's insulting Jim Ross, or saying "And I quote," Cole has been very good at getting heat recently.
He loves The Miz, and suggests he's personal friends with a lot of the heels. He's started pretending to fall asleep during matches he doesn't like and is constantly putting down the other commentators (not that he doesn't get his fair share back).
This all came to a head on Old School Raw last week (go watch it if you haven't, well-worth the time) when Jim Ross came back to call the Bryan/Swagger match. Cole insulted him, pretended to fall asleep and joked about wearing a cowboy hat. He tried to pull everything out in his new arsenal of "heel" tricks.
It should've worked. For most of his tenancy at the WWE, Jim Ross has been the guy that you don't attack.
Creative want a heel to get some real heat? Have him attack J.R.
Want everyone to hate Vince again? Have him embarrass J.R.
It goes on and on. The difference between those times and now is that Cole just came across as a bit of a dick.
He wasn't really funny, he just ended up as an annoying background noise as you tried to enjoy J.R.'s return. J.R. left the announcers table at the end of the match, but not before giving Cole a couple of whallops with his hat (entirely kayfabe according to J.R.'s blog).
AND I QUOTE:
"Lots of fans have sent me emails and Tweets, @JRsBBQ, regarding Michael Cole's performance during the Swagger-Bryan bout and be assured that Michael was simply doing his job and embellishing upon his new, antagonist persona. There are no issues here I can assure you. If I helped folks dislike Cole's new persona then I accomplished one objective it would seem."
This is where I feel conflicted. Sure, I may not have felt the normal feelings for heels but he did his job. I hate him. I want him to leave the company. I want to yell at the screen every time he's present.
So he's doing nothing wrong, right? Why bother with all this? Well, because he's not quite there yet.
The problem with Cole is that he flip-flops.
One match he's supporting the bad guy, the next he's praying the face can pull it out of the bag. In the first two minutes, he's insulting someone. Within the next minute, he's bathing the guy in compliments. Let's look at a few recent examples.
Daniel Bryan: As far as I can remember the start of Cole's recent change. He put him down at every turn and praised The Miz. Great, if predictable, stuff. The issue comes when exchanges like, "He's a geek, the guy doesn't even own a television."
Okay. Not the first thing I'd insult, but sure. This is followed five minutes later by, "AND ANOTHER MAGNIFICENT MOVE BY BRYAN. You really have to respect this young man."
Find a position on a wrestler and stick to it. Even if Bryan is looking like one the most versatile and technically-gifted wrestlers since the early Benoit/Malenko/Jericho/Guerrero years, you don't admit the thing.
He had a similar thing against Kaval. Constantly insulting him, saying he only won NXT because of his Internet following. Sure, seems like a decent start.
He then follows it up with, "He's got a lot of heart. Kaval will never give up." WHAT?! Again. Pick a stance and stick to it.
During the Ziggler/Kaval match last night, he laughed at Kaval being called "The World Warrior." It was revealed that Kaval calls himself that.
Striker: "What do you call yourself?"
Cole: "The greatest commentator in the history of this company." Hell yes. Arrogant bastard. Until, "Or at least I think that. Not everyone agrees." Instantly weakened position.
Finally, during last night's main event. When Matt Striker is supporting Wade Barrett (one of the lead, if not THE LEAD, heel right now) more than the supposed heel commentator, something has gone wrong.
There's still time for Cole. He's got some basic stuff in place to be the new heel commentator. But he needs to pick one. He can either be the good guy, or the bad guy. If he keeps flip-flopping like this, he's just going to be "that really annoying guy."
That ended up longer than I expected it to, but if you did make it this far, feel free to comment below, either about the quality of the article, or your opinions about the man of the hour, Michael Cole.
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