WWE's Best There Never Was: Heel Michael Cole Went Too Soon

Alfred Konuwa@@ThisIsNastyFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2013

From WWE.com
From WWE.com

Michael Cole manifested his inherently unlikeable personality for profit.  His largely unprecedented heel play-by-play act started in 2010, dominated 2011 and ended abruptly in 2012.  He represented a new age of villain.  One who upset the casual fan all while trolling the internet.  It was never cool for anybody to cheer Michael Cole.  Which is why he could have been better than Bobby

This summer series will examine talents, moments and matches that crumbled under the weight of their immense potential.

Michael Cole has been difficult to digest ever since he and his frosted tips debuted in 1999.  Even during an angle designed to portray him as a sympathetic figure—When Jim Ross shoehorned his way into the Raw announce team—Ross was cheered.  All Cole got were lousy chants of "Michael sucks."

He is cast as a vanilla play-by-play announcer with one catchphrase to his name.  But Michael Cole's obnoxious real-life personality bleeds through every broadcast.  He never misses an opportunity to pounce when a color commentator slips up and often giggles noticeably at inappropriate times.   

In 2010, during the vaunted Miz era, and with WWE's roster depth at its thinnest, Micheal Cole was rolled out to represent a new breed of heel.  CM Punk was was extolled for his work on the microphone, even when he tried tirelessly to remind the WWE Universe how much he hated it.  

Michael Cole was reviled universally.  Hardcore fans resented the perception of him being a corporate puppet.  Often fed lines by Vince McMahon through a headset, he praised company champions like The Miz while poo-pooing internet darlings like Daniel Bryan. 

Cole's increasing bias towards villains on commentary was uncharacteristic of a play-by-play commentator, therefore making him evil in the minds of casual fans trained to appreciate the Marv Alberts and Jim Ross' of the world.

The heir to Jim Ross' booth had become Howard Cossel without the hair piece and cigar.

Cole's act would become so hot it would lead to Jerry Lawler's first-ever WrestleMania match.  Tension had been brewing for weeks between the two while on commentary.  The angle built to a polarizing and controversial segment on Raw where Michael Cole mocked the legit death of Lawler's mother.  

The cosmic outrage stemming from the segment moved the former war correspondent to the top of the pound-for-pound bad guy rankings.  Maybe Andy Kaufman faked his death after all.  At this point, it was hard to tell the difference. 

Actions like this made his match with Lawler one of the top-three matches at WrestleMania XXVII.  Guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin gave the match an even bigger fight feel.  Michael Cole won on a technicality, placing him just 18 wins behind The Undertaker on the all-time list.    

This was the frosted freaking tips guy.  All grown up.

By the end of the feud, Michael Cole would receive his comeuppance.  Slowly, but surely, Cole would tone down his agitating mannerisms, reverting back to the vanilla announcer. 

Cole will likely never be mentioned in the same breath as some of the great wrestling commentators when all is said and done.  He does what he can in the booth but he's no Gordon Solie. 

But he could have made a historical imprint as a full-time manager—a male equivalent to Vickie Guerrero through his abrasive opening line, "can I have your attention, please?"

WWE can do without the bright orange singlet.  But Michael Cole the character could have been a WWE Hall of Famer on both talent and longevity. 

#BTNW: Mr. Kennedy | Goldberg-Hogan | Championship Scramble | Jeff Hardy | Vampiro | WCW Invasion | Buff Bagwell | Michael Cole

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This summer series will examine talents, moments and matches that crumbled under the weight of their immense potential. 


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