"Ladies and gentlemen, could I have your attention please? I've just received an email from the anonymous Raw general manager..."
By the time those words are finished, Michael Cole's weaselly voice is barely audible, over the waves of boos and catcalls showered upon him by thousands of WWE fans. In a span of just a few short months, Cole has gone from being a mediocre-at-best play-by-play man for Monday Night Raw to parlaying that into a heel announcer character not seen since the heyday of Bobby Heenan.
Cole is smarmy and arrogant, but he's also smart in his character, which has enabled him (so far) to get the best of his feud with fellow announcer Jerry "The King" Lawler. There's one more thing about Cole that may put him over the top as Raw's best heel.
Most heels have to get their heat by stretching truth, twisting things around, or outright lying. However, Cole, as an announcer, still speaks the truth, and calls most matches the way an announcer should: telling the story, limiting his bias and giving credit where it's due.
Granted, in recent weeks, he's going more and more towards total heel-dom, most recently interrupting two Divas matches by asking them to "get on with it" so they can get to more important things, like whatever Cole has to say.
However, most of what he's said and done, such as the comments about Lawler's son Brian Christopher and former Raw lead announcer Jim Ross, are at least based in truth. This is what makes Cole even more irritating: you can't even argue with him.
Now, as Cole gets ready for his WrestleMania moment, he adds to his character each week, be it bringing out another memory from Lawler's past, or constructing a box from which to broadcast, or applying the worst ankle-lock in the world to Lawler just to pump himself up.
Every week, Cole gets more inventive, and thus more annoying and more irritating. Yes, he teeters on the wrong type of heat, that gets people to turn off the sets instead of sticking around for him comeuppance, but at this point, one has to assume that at WrestleMania, Cole will finally get what's coming to him, and by that time people will be willing to pay to see it happen, if they aren't already. That's what the best heels want.
As time has gone on, Michael Cole has gone from nothing more to WWE Champion The Miz's head cheerleader to being a completely self-absorbed prima donna to a complete nut-job who actually thinks people tune in to Raw just to see what he'll say next.
Even in that statement, he's still telling the truth, which is why Michael Cole is wrestling's top heel.