Michael Cole has become the official “voice of WWE” as the lead commentator for all big PPVs and Monday Night Raw. When Cole originally debuted in WWE during the late 90s, not many thought he would become as successful as he has. Cole didn’t look natural during his first stints as a play-by-play announcer or backstage interviewer. When partnering with Tazz during the brand split and having more time to grow on the SmackDown shows, Cole started to become a respected and credible commentator. Cole would later get drafted to Raw in 2008 and become the main voice of the company replacing Jim Ross, the biggest change in his career.
While he was credible, Cole has never been a loved announcer by the wrestling fan base. Often still booed at shows when making his entrance, fans had high standards after listening to JR for years and many feel Cole has yet to follow in his footsteps. It doesn’t help that Cole has been the main commentator during a changing of the guard where WWE announcers are talking more about social media and having talk radio style conversations during wrestling matches. Regardless, Cole is an acquired taste and he’s had his fair share of bad moments to give reason for it.
Cole had a run as a heel commentator which turned many fans off due to how obnoxious and over the top he was. Those things are great for a heel character in general but when the heel character is supposed to be calling the action during a wrestling match as the unbiased straight man, it takes away from the show. Between his heel run and his overall long tenure with the company, Cole has done, said and taken part in many ridiculous moments. Many of them are not his fault as it’s what he was booked to do or instructed to say but we’re going to hit them all here with the 15 worst Michael Cole moments.
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15 OH MY!
Usually when an announcer has a catchphrase, it’s said with emotion and passion, or at least a term that stands out. For Michael Cole, his main catchphrase for the longest time for the bigger moments on the show was “Oh my!” During important and incredible moments like Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE, Cole has left audience with the “Oh my!” failing to capture the emotion and add to the moment. Luckily, Cole has started to ditch the catchphrase and has been better when it comes to calling the bigger moments but for a long time, it harmed the product.
Similar to the prior “Oh my!” catchphrase, another popular saying of Michael Cole has been using the word “vintage” when a wrestler does one of their usual moves. It wouldn’t be bad if Cole used it sporadically, like when The Undertaker walks on the top rope or Triple H hits a Pedigree, but he does it when someone like Sheamus or Dolph Ziggler hits a move. Unfortunately, Cole hasn’t ditched this yet and it frustrates most wrestling fans every time he does it. Then again, Cole annoying the wrestling fan would be “vintage” Cole, so it’s quite fitting.
13 Calling Booker T Ugly
During Cody Rhodes' run as the “Undashing” character that would hand out paper bag masks to all of the “ugly” fans, Booker T would receive a bag from Cody's assistants every week. While it was trying to set up a future storyline between the two, tensions would arise between Booker and Michael Cole at the commentary table. Cole would go over the top with his heel character, talking about how ugly Booker was and saying the bag would improve his looks and commentary skills. On multiple occasions, there was an awkward silence and a look of discomfort from Booker due to Cole’s comments.
12 Worst Worldwide Trend Ever
On an episode of Raw, Mark Henry put Jerry “The King” Lawler through a table and caused injuries that forced him out of his chair as a commentator the following week. When Michael Cole was listing the injuries Lawler sustained to update the audience, he actually named “anal bleeding” as one of the ailments. Despite it likely being true and Cole being instructed to say it, there was no reason to add that and even Booker T was taken back at the commentary table. The moment was so ridiculous that “anal bleeding” trended worldwide on Twitter, as fans were asking if that was actually said on Raw.
11 Lilian Garcia Insults
For whatever reason, people in WWE like to make cruel jokes about Lilian Garcia. There have been a few cases of folks in WWE making terrible comments about Garcia’s looks as some believe she has a “horse face.” At one point, even Mick Foley stepped in blogging about how rude it was. One of the situations with horse comments about Garcia came from Michael Cole on an episode of SmackDown. During a comedic segment where Lilian was dancing in the ring with Hornswoggle, Cole said “These two need to stop horsing around” putting emphasis on the horse line. Whether instructed to or not, it was a low class move by Cole.
10 Insulting Jim Ross’ Weight
During the peak of Michael Cole’s heel run on Raw, the lead play-by-play commentator was given a promo segment to insult Jim Ross. Vince McMahon has enjoyed making fun of JR over the years, so he likely wrote or approved this. Cole proclaimed he had exclusive photos of good ol’ JR, which turned out to be photoshopped images of his face on an obese man's body in his underwear and, in another, dressed as a University of Oklahoma cheerleader. Not only was the segment tacky, but it provided absolutely terrible television that took time away from talented wrestlers that could have used it to try to get over.
9 Anonymous GM
“And I quote….” Michael Cole reading the emails from the “Anonymous Raw General Manager” was one of the worst storylines in recent memory. Raw has been run by authority figures for years but this was among the least interesting options they've gone with. Every time Cole left the commentary table to read the emails, fans at the shows and fans watching at home groaned in frustration wanting this storyline to end. The reveal ended up being Hornswoggle. Oh my!
8 Humiliating NXT Divas
Before NXT became the hot developmental brand to showcase stars of the future, it was a competition for signed wrestlers looking to win a spot on Raw or SmackDown. Competing in silly competitions like trivia contests or obstacle courses, the show wasn’t taken seriously and Michael Cole’s commentary showcased it, as he would run down the wrestlers. The worst of it may have come during the all-female season of Divas, where Cole and Josh Mathews would make bad jokes about the women during every match and segment. Cole even had a “gong” at ringside to further embarrass future WWE stars such as AJ Lee, Naomi and Kaitlyn.
7 Insulting Daniel Bryan on NXT
In the first season of the original NXT, Daniel Bryan was the biggest name entering the show due to his reputation on the indie wrestling scene. Michael Cole would chastise Bryan on commentary for it, referring to him as a nerd because Bryan was a vegan at the time. Mentioning that Bryan doesn’t eat meat, drink beer or watch television was an attempt to demean him via Cole’s commentary. Bryan has spoken out in his book that he despised this. It’s extremely funny to look back on those moments knowing Cole called Bryan winning the main event at WrestleMania XXX a few years later.
6 Homophobic Tweet
One instance of Michael Cole making a poor decision as a person rather than a character came when he sent a controversial tweet to fellow announcer Josh Mathews. The two would often engage in playful insults on air and likely in real life but Cole went too far in the public eye by sending out a tweet referring to Mathews with a homophobic slur. Cole would quickly delete the tweet and send out an apology to those he offended but he would still have to take part in sensitivity training classes. Surely Cole didn’t mean to use the term in a hateful manner but in an evolved world, you have to be more intelligent and less ignorant.
5 Mocking JR’s Bell's Palsy
As we've established, WWE loves to make Jim Ross the butt of their jokes and it was highlighted during Michael Cole’s heel run. During an episode of SmackDown, Cole made his cruelest remark making a joke of Jim Ross’ Bell’s Palsy condition. Someone told Cole he was talking out of both sides of his both and he replied with “Actually, there is nothing wrong with my mouth, unlike J.R.’s." Considering how many times WWE has used WCW footage of Ed Ferrara mocking Jim Ross for the same thing when looking down on the defunct company, it was even more shameful that Cole would make fun of JR’s facial paralysis.
In one of the most bizarre wrestling storylines ever, a new wrestler named Heidenreich was obsessed with Michael Cole. At the time, Cole was a boring commentator that was never involved in storylines, so it was somewhat out of nowhere. Heidenreich would recite poems and intimidate others with that being the gist of his character. During an episode of SmackDown, Heidenreich attacked Cole and took him away from the commentary table. In the back, Heidenreich held Cole against a wall and terrified viewers with the implication that he was going to sexually assault Cole. While it remains unclear what actually happened inbetween the segments, we know Heidenreich read a poem and Cole ran away.
3 Jerry Lawler’s Mother
In the old days of wrestling, nothing was too personal for a heel to bring up in a promo but the industry is very different today. A few years ago, Cole was feuding with Jerry Lawler and the storyline was based around Cole continuously crossing the line by getting personal with Lawler. The worst moment came when Cole made tasteless comments about Lawler’s mother who recently passed away and it left many fans feeling uneasy, as that isn’t something common or accepted today. While it did add heat to the feud and was likely suggested by the old school wrestling legend Lawler, the moment felt like it went too far, even for wrestling.
2 Over the Limit Match vs. Jerry Lawler
You can make a case for Michael Cole being the worst person ever to compete in a wrestling ring considering how putrid the results have been. In his final match vs. Jerry Lawler at Over the Limit 2011, Cole took the loss and was forced to kiss Lawler’s feet as per the stipulation of the Kiss My Foot Match. The match saw some positives with Lawler, Jim Ross, Bret Hart and Eve Torres all getting revenge on Cole for his sins but the image at the end of the match was too much. Cole kissing Lawler’s foot while JR poured BBQ sauce all over him is not something anyone wants to see during their pro wrestling experience.
1 WrestleMania XXVII Match with Jerry Lawler
This was the worst match in WrestleMania history. It’s bad enough that it was taking a spot on WrestleMania but the match and aftermath went well over 15 minutes and was given more time than any match on the show aside from the double main event of John Cena vs. The Miz and The Undertaker vs. Triple H. The match was an absolute disaster and for some reason, Cole ended up getting the win by DQ. All the low comments about Lawler’s mother, all the segments to build Cole as a heel, all the time spent in the match and Lawler didn’t get the win for closure until the following B list PPV. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan was bumped off the card that year but this match wasted nearly 20 minutes on a WrestleMania.
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