Michael Cole's Evolution: Why We Need Him Destroyed at WrestleMania

Michael JohnsonContributor IMarch 7, 2011

On tonight’s edition of Monday Night Raw, Michael Cole will reveal the guest referee for his match against Jerry “The King” Lawler at WrestleMania XXVII.

Cole hinted on this past Friday’s edition of Smackdown that the guest referee will be The Miz, but considering The Miz has a fairly important role at WrestleMania XXVII, I doubt it will be him.

Whoever it is, however, will surely collaborate with Cole’s trainer for his big match, Jack Swagger, to stack the deck against The King even more.

How did Michael Cole reach this juncture of his career? He is at a point in his career when his possible destruction is important enough to be given a platform at WrestleMania.

And make no mistake, that is what this match is about. With all respect to Jerry Lawler, this match isn't about him. This isn’t about Lawler finally having his WrestleMania moment.

He is just the catalyst to deliver Cole’s head on a silver platter to us, the fans. Because if you are a fan of WWE, chances are you hate Michael Cole or at least you are extremely irritated by him.

The desire for the fans to see Michael Cole beaten down has been building for years, but for those who aren’t old enough to remember, this is what a Michael Cole beating looks like.

After a distinguished journalism career, Michael Cole registered on the WWE map by becoming one of the many backstage interviewers/verbal punching bags of The Rock.

The seeds of our longing for Michael Cole’s WrestleMania beating were planted in 1999, when Cole replaced Jim Ross on Monday Night Raw while JR was devastated by Bell’s palsy.

Cole didn’t do anything wrong specifically but, it was then that we noticed Cole was far less talented on commentary than Jim Ross and not moderately less talented or slightly less talented, but severely less talented than Jim Ross.

I know I felt a sigh of relief at WrestleMania XV when Jim Ross returned to the announce desk before The Rock vs. Stone Cold for the then-WWF championship.

Later in the year 1999, Michael Cole became the lead announcer for Smackdown. Back then Smackdown wasn’t the “B show”, but must-see TV along with Raw, but Michael Cole’s presence on Smackdown was the one glaring difference from Raw though announcing discrepancies were easy to mask during the attitude era.

After the brand split and subsequent draft of 2002, Michael Cole’s mediocre commentary became more identifiable.

During the first two years of the brand split, Smackdown arguably had the superior show over Monday Night Raw with Smackdown really taking off once Brock Lesnar and Undertaker permanently joined the roster.

This would have been more apparent with Jim Ross, along with Jerry Lawler on commentary, instead of Michael Cole and Tazz.

The one trait that separates Ross from Cole is passion. It’s very easy to feel Jim Ross’ passion whenever Steve Austin came to the ring, whenever displaying disdain towards Mr. McMahon’s abuse of power, or Bubba Ray Dudley’s Euphoric Orgasmic Trance.

Jim Ross enhances moments in a way that Michael Cole simply cannot. So it was particularly shocking during the summer of 2008 when Cole was drafted to Raw and Jim Ross was sent to Smackdown.

It was if Vince McMahon was testing how important commentary was to a wrestling show. This move would bring Michael Cole’s shortcomings to a much bigger stage.

You see, we tolerated Cole on Smackdown. We didn’t like him but we were safe from him when he was on Smackdown. We understood more with each uneven trade with Raw that Smackdown was no longer must-see TV.

And even though Cole provided quality entertainment during his 10 years on Smackdown, we wanted him nowhere near Monday Night Raw.

Until Season One of WWE NXT, Michael Cole’s biggest crimes were being a subpar commentator and not being Jim Ross, but during Season One of WWE NXT, Michael Cole changed, for the worse.

He went from being someone we didn’t like and totally respect to someone we hated, X-Pac style.

Cole started to bury NXT and some of its superstars, Daniel Bryan in particular. Cole began to give in to the disrespect and hatred we had been giving him for 10 years.

Even after Daniel Bryan verbalized what we all thought for years, Cole became more determined to give the fans the finger.

What is even more remarkable about Michael Cole’s ability to enrage us is that he poses no threat to us. When Mr. McMahon would tell us he can buy and sell us over and over, it’s true.

When The Rock would tell us he can get more pie in one night than we can in a lifetime, it’s true.

When Kurt Angle would tell us that he doesn’t have to second-guess himself like “you people,” sadly, it’s true for a lot of us.

Michael Cole is a lot like us in many ways. He is short, he doesn’t have an impressive physique, and he is a nerd. He, in no way, can make us feel bad about ourselves. Cole has nothing to throw in our faces.

In a way, he should be celebrated for making a mark in a field where people who look like him are hardly more than anonymous referees.

But he isn’t celebrated; he’s hated. I found myself booing him at a Monday Night Raw telecast I attended early last year when he was introduced to the crowd before the show went on-air.  

What really takes his heel status to a new level is that he is killing commentary as we know it. The role of commentators is to get wrestlers and storylines over with the home audience; that’s all.

It’s not to hero-worship with The Miz or to grind axes with Daniel Bryan. A commentator’s job isn’t to call divas ugly or to verbally attack baby-face guest commentators.

And it’s certainly not the commentator’s job to cost Jerry Lawler the WWE Championship.

Even though Michael Cole was always average at his job in previous years, at least he did his job. Perhaps now he is appeasing the “Audience of One” we hear so much about.

I never thought I’d see Michael Cole in a WrestleMania match, but we are past the point of no return now. Michael Cole has become the biggest heel in WWE and he is going to be spotlighted on the biggest stage possible.

We, the fans, need to see him annihilated, but Michael Cole needs Michael Cole the heel to be annihilated.

Perhaps a five-minute drubbing at the hands of a 60-year-old man will make him realize he belongs at the announce desk, just doing his job.    


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