Can I have your attention please? I have just received an e-mail from the anonymous Raw general manager...
These are the dreaded words heard at least once every Monday night from the official spokesperson for the Raw general manager, WWE commentator Michael Cole.
Amidst the chorus of boos and groans from the crowd, Michael Cole gets up from his seat behind the announce table, and goes to the podium where the laptop sits, unfazed by the large amount of heat he receives in doing so.
He opens the laptop.
And I quote...
With the second half of his signature catchphrase now finished, Cole reads aloud the general manager's message. Sometimes what the GM has to say pleases the audience, and sometimes it doesn't. And then there are times where the reaction is mixed.
But it doesn't matter whether or not the crowd likes or dislikes the GM's e-mail, because the one thing they can all agree on is this: They all hate the man reading it to them.
When Michael Cole first joined World Wrestling Entertainment back in 1997, he was an unassuming backstage interviewer that was frequently picked on by the talent in the locker room.
With the birth of Friday Night SmackDown in 1999, Cole became one of it's WWE commentators. Cole was the lead announcer of the blue brand for nine years, and eventually came to be known as "the voice of SmackDown" in the same way Jim Ross came to be known as "the voice of Raw".
But even after being in the WWE for over a decade, Cole never really stood out in the same way that other commentators did. J.R. was his own character. The King was his own character. JBL was his own character. Joey Styles. Taz. The list goes on.
For the first 11 years of his career in the WWE, Cole's role in the WWE was overshadowed by others, and he was mostly in the background. The fans were indifferent to him, and other than enjoying watching him get picked on, they never really thought much about him.
That was, of course, until 2008, when Michael Cole replaced Jim Ross on Monday Night Raw.
By replacing the WWE Universe's most beloved commentator, Cole suddenly became the target of heavy criticism from the fans. It soon became obvious that "Good Ol'" J.R. could never be replaced, and the more WWE tried to make "Vintage" Michael Cole likable and accepted on Raw, the more annoying he became.
The criticism went on the next two years, with fans hoping and praying that Ross would come back, and Cole would get sent back to SmackDown. But alas, Ross retired for good, and the WWE Universe finally accepted the fact that they were stuck with his less-popular replacement.
But then came 2010, and Michael Cole turned into a heel.
What started out as criticism of Daniel Bryan on WWE NXT has evolved into a full-fledged heel character that glorifies heels, insults faces, praises himself, and feuds with his colleagues.
In the span of a year, Cole has gone from an out-of-place tweener that annoyed people to a conniving heel that people love to hate. And for the first time in his career, he is finally a character.
Instead of remaining a poor man's Jim Ross, Cole has transformed into the anti-Jim Ross. If Jim Ross were God, then the Michael Cole would be The Devil.
At WrestleMania XXVII, however, things could change.
Michael Cole is set to face fellow commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler in a match at WrestleMania, complete with Jack Swagger as Cole's manager, and Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee.
Now while most of us assume that Jerry Lawler is going to walk out of WrestleMania XXVII with a victory over Michael Cole, it dosen't really matter who wins the match, because I believe no matter the outcome, something about Michael Cole will change afterwards.
I simply cannot see Michael Cole returning to the Raw commentary booth, with Jerry Lawler by his side, continuing his now-expected hellish antics. So I've narrowed my prediction of Michael Cole's post-WrestleMania XXVII future into three possible outcomes.
The first scenario is that Jerry Lawler retires. This follows the idea that this entire build up has been about Jerry Lawler's "last hurrah". His swan song, so to speak.
While this outcome dosen't really change anything about Michael Cole, but instead reinforces his current status as the top heel commentator in the WWE. He would most likely remain on both Raw and SmackDown, with Josh Mathews entering as the most likely replacement for Lawler on the red brand.
The second scenario is that Michael Cole leaves Raw and becomes a SmackDown-exclusive commentator.
This outcome hurts Cole the most, as it would most likely mean that he definitely loses against Lawler, and as a result, gets kicked off Monday nights. He could still continue to be a heel, but we would just be seeing him on one show instead of two.
But the final, and most powerful scenario is that Michael Cole becomes the official General Manager of Monday Night Raw.
You heard me. The laptop is thrown away. Cole leaves the announce table on both shows. He becomes the male Vickie Guerrero. The next Mr. McMahon. He gains absolute power and makes sure the lives of all baby-faces on Monday nights are a living hell. Bwuhaahaaahaaaahaaaa!
The GM scenario, to me, would be my personal choice, as I think Cole is better suited as a WWE official.
For a man who has spent fourteen years in World Wrestling Entertainment, Michael Cole spent a majority of his career in the shadows. But with the dawn of the new decade, so did his turn to shine in the spotlight. 2010 was his breakthrough year, and with the way things are shaping up, 2011 is proving to be the year he establishes himself as a top heel for years to come.
But whatever the outcome, after competing on the grandest stage of them all, Michael Cole will not be the same.
So now I'm asking you the same question:
What will WWE do to Michael Cole after WrestleMania XXVII?
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