Commentators have ever been the cornerstone of any good wrestling show. These are the people responsible for making you believe everything that you are seeing. Obviously amazing promos and matches don’t necessarily need much assistance, but having announcers who know their job and know how to sell it can push almost any hot moment over the edge. In recent years the man most people have considered the greatest announcer of our time is Jim Ross. Even WWE seems to agree, despite their typically sinister intentions regarding Good Ole JR, and brings him back for Wrestlemania matches and has even had him on Raw lately. Everyone had their own favorite announcers from yesterday and today. Speaking personally I was a big fan of Gorilla Monsoon.
However, if it can be said that an excellent commentator can not only help your product but also transcend through the television and reach your audience, can’t the opposite also be proposed? Bad announcers are not new, we’ve all seen or heard them at one point or another. Certain cases of just terribly bad announcers could be made for people like Steve McMichael or Mike Adamle but most of the time their flaws lead to comedy, and it appeared to simply be a case of people who didn’t quite seem to grasp what they were involved in. It was not considered to be a deliberate attempt to screw up, to upset fans and to make people want to watch with their television muted. That dubious distinction falls to Michael Cole.
Heel commentators are nothing new. Some of the greats were heels. Hell, Bobby Heenan was perhaps one of the greatest commentators in the history of the business and he was a heel but he was the kind of heel that you loved to hate. You knew that Bobby would side with the bad guys but he’d say or do something that would make him, or them, or both look stupid and you’d get to find a little victory in it. If Bobby said something you didn’t like, or that didn’t make you laugh, you barely had time to think about it before he came out with someone else and rarely did Bobby throw two gutter balls in a row. Vickie Guerrero is another good example, though she’s not a commentator, she gets heat and the crowd reacts to her every time she comes out but she knows how to maintain that heat without stepping into that unforgiving land known as “X-Pac heat.”
Michael Cole manages on a weekly basis to not only be a heel that most fans want to punch in the face but he’s also getting some channels to turn, except they’re turning away from the product. For what reason WWE has allowed his storyline to continue is beyond me but lets face it we’ve entered into what can only be described as a completely ridiculous area now. Everyone believed that this story would end at Wrestlemania, that Jerry Lawler will deliver the ass kicking we’ve all been hoping for and at the end of the day Michael Cole would either go away or go back to what he was before this whole heel turn. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we’re stuck with him for now and not only do we have to suffer through his horrid commentary and stupid promos, but now we have to watch him “wrestle.” Again. It was painful enough the first time.
Certainly there are those who enjoy the stylings of Michael Cole. For a period of time everyone was curious or at least remotely interested in where this all was going. However, the longer this persists, the larger the backlash seems to grow. Michael Cole wouldn’t be such a drag if he were doing color commentary or not on both the major shows. The problem exists in where this man will be arguing that the actions of some heel are wrong and should be booed, but then moments later he will side with a heel who does something very similar. If you’re a mid-card heel, he’s not going to side with you and if you’re a main event heel, he is definitely going to side with you. There is no consistency and begins to get confusing.
One of the most obnoxious things which Michael Cole has done in the past and seems like he’s not planning to stop anytime soon is his blatant, disrespectful treatment of the divas. We’ve seen him interrupts matches time and again calling them “boring” saying that no one cares. This is not only a horrible thing to do to these women as performers, but it is a slap in the face to all of their fans out there. One has to consider, however, that Vince McMahon has a reputation for being very strict about his commentators and we’ve all heard the stories about him screaming over the headsets at people like Mick Foley and Tazz so in light of this information the question must be asked: are we getting the heel side of Michael Cole because it is what they consider a fun storyline, or are we getting little pieces of Vince McMahon’s opinions being squeezed in there? Doesn’t take a genius to connect to the fact that Vince clearly doesn’t care about the divas and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if some of the things Michael Cole says are coming straight out of McMahon’s mind. At the end of the day, however, Michael Cole is the face of this and these days and the ultimate cost could be his and his alone.