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Did Michael Cole’s WWE heel run cause him to lose credibility?

After the very serious heart attack Jerry Lawler suffered during the live WWE Monday Night RAW back on September 11, 2012, as to what looked to be a very touch and go situation for Lawler, Michael Cole broke out of his heel play by play announce character giving the television audience updates following matches and commercial breaks. I have a new found respect for Michael Cole and how he handled what could have been a tragic situation.

Following Lawler’s heart attack, WWE dropped Cole’s weekly annoying heel character and has reverted his TV character back to a full blown face, criticizing the heels, more-less cheering on the good guys and truly focusing on calling matches like they should be called.

Since returning to watching WWE television thanks to the new Main Event show, In my opinion Michael Cole has been more focused on calling the matches and really attempting to tell a story rather than slobber all over the heels with his annoying persona that made listening to him almost unbearable at times, especially during his over the top zealous obsession for The Miz, his ridiculous feud with Jerry Lawler, commentating in that stupid see through plastic “Cole-Mine” set, being the mouthpiece for the anonymous RAW General Manager and worthless television matches on RAW, including WrestleMania 27.

There are other fans that post on various wrestling websites and blogs that Cole still gets booed when he comes out to the announce table. So the questions are – has Michael Cole lost his credibility as announcer because of his long run as a heel? Or has WWE and Cole used the several months to re-build his on air commentary to be respected and taken seriously? Long time wrestling fans will remember during the Monday Night War in the mid 1990’s (and those who weren’t born then probably don’t know) WWE turned Jim Ross heel which ended up being a failure.

Ross ended up leaving WWE during his heel run due to a death in the family. Upon his return, Vince McMahon changed Ross back to a baby-face commentator. To this day, in my opinion, Ross is still the best pro-wrestling play by play announcer in the business and is well respected around the industry.

Some fans have said that because of Jerry Lawler’s heart attack, WWE pulled Cole’s heel character. I am not going to debate whether the unfortunate incident with Jerry Lawler was responsible for WWE making the decision for Cole’s face turn – if Lawler’s heart attack would have never happened, would Cole still be a heel? I am very glad that Lawler has returned to WWE television and recovered as quickly as he did. There could have come a time where Vince McMahon felt that enough was enough with the heel character and ended up dumping it anyway.

Michael Cole can’t be or should not be compared to Jim Ross. WWE should make Cole his own unique baby-face play by play commentator that stands apart from the rest in the industry. In my opinion, there will never be another Jim Ross like commentator who can really tell the in-ring stories like Good Ol’ JR does, however, with time if WWE can keep Michael Cole staying as a focused baby-face play by play announcer, bringing excitement and passion to the action and telling a story, then yes, I believe in time, which could be very soon, Michael can be a highly respected top tier commentator in the professional wrestling business and be an announcer that other rookie announcers can look up to.

For more from Jerome Wilen check out his website, Pro Wrestling Ringside – http://prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com

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