Michael Cole Biography
Michael Cole is an American anchor, reporter and commentator working for WWE as a play-by-play commentator and the vice president of announcing since 2020. He joined the WWE news team in 1997, after previously working for CBS Radio.
Michael Cole Career
Cole completed his education at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, earning a B.A. in broadcast journalism in 1988. Starting his career in media as a journalist, he initially worked for CBS Radio. His initial notable assignment involved reporting on the 1988 US presidential campaign of Democratic Party nominee Michael Dukakis. In 1992, he covered the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. His journalistic endeavors included reporting on significant events such as the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993, and spending nine months covering the Yugoslavian civil war in the following year. Later in 1995, he was chosen to report on the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. Returning to the presidential campaign trail in 1996, he covered the campaigns of Steve Forbes and Sen. Bob Dole.
World Wrestling Federation
He joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the early months of 1997, having been recommended to company officials by Todd Pettengill. Adopting the stage name “Michael Cole,” he initially contributed voice-overs for promotional videos and later assumed the role of the host for the LiveWire show. Additionally, he made his on-screen debut on the June 30, 1997, episode of Raw is War, where he conducted an interview with The Legion of Doom. Following SummerSlam, he took over as a backstage interviewer, succeeding Todd Pettengill.
In late 1997, he became one of the three announcers for the first hour of Monday Night Raw, joining Jim Ross and Kevin Kelly. However, Jerry Lawler replaced him permanently in mid-1998. In December 1998, he stepped in as the regular play-by-play announcer for Raw is War when Jim Ross was dealing with Bell’s palsy. He continued in this role until WrestleMania XV in March 1999.
When the SmackDown! television program premiered later that year, Cole was selected as the play-by-play announcer for the show. Initially, his broadcast partner was Jerry Lawler, but during Lawler’s brief departure from the WWF in 2001, he was substituted by Tazz, who had been Cole’s partner on WWF Sunday Night Heat. This change occurred just before the WWF vs. WCW/ECW invasion storyline. Following the WWE Brand Extension, he exclusively worked for the SmackDown! brand. He limited his play-by-play duties to SmackDown!-only pay-per-views. This is as Raw-only pay-per-views were announced by the Raw’s announce team. Although he was seldom part of storylines, he had minor roles in plots involving Heidenreich, Stephanie McMahon, Vito, and D-Generation X (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, and Rick Rude).
A notable and controversial angle occurred in 2004 when Heidenreich implied a scene where he “Heidenraped” Cole in the arena restroom. In a 2008 interview, Heidenreich revealed that the angle was Vince McMahon’s idea. Furthermore, Stephanie McMahon approached him with the concept, inspired by Pulp Fiction. For the 2006 Royal Rumble match, he called play-by-play as Jim Ross, who had commented on the last two Royal Rumble matches with Tazz, was (kayfabe) “fired.” Former ECW play-by-play man Joey Styles replaced Ross, reuniting the original SmackDown! team of Cole and Jerry Lawler. On February 3, 2006, he and Tazz announced a radio show on Howard Stern’s Howard 100 on Sirius Satellite Radio. However, the show lasted only a few weeks.
On the June 9 episode of SmackDown!, Tazz left for ECW, leaving him without a broadcast partner. At ECW One Night Stand, JBL announced he would replace Tazz as a color commentator. This came to fruition five days later when JBL joined that week’s SmackDown! episode as Cole’s new broadcast partner. After JBL returned to wrestling on Raw, Jonathan Coachman became his partner on the January 4, 2008, episode of SmackDown!, and later Mick Foley replaced Coachman beginning at Backlash on April 27, 2008.
Turning Heel and feud with Jerry Lawler (2010–2012)
Cole served as the lead commentator for WWE NXT for its initial three seasons. During the first season in 2010, a noticeable change occurred in his demeanor as he began displaying signs of arrogance and cockiness towards both face wrestlers and WWE fans, marking his first turn as a heel in his WWE career. Notably, he started belittling Daniel Bryan and favoring The Miz, leading to confrontations with Bryan throughout the season. Simultaneously, on the Raw brand, he assumed the role of the official spokesperson for the Anonymous Raw General Manager, starting on June 21, 2010. Later, on October 1, he returned to SmackDown and joined Matt Striker and Todd Grisham on commentary. During this time, he branded himself as the “Voice of the WWE” and asserted that he should be part of all WWE shows moving forward.
His admiration for The Miz reached over-the-top levels during his heel phase. He frequently praised The Miz’s coaching abilities on NXT and lauded his wrestling skills. On the November 29, 2010, episode of Raw, he intervened in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWE Championship between Jerry Lawler and The Miz. This interference resulted in Lawler losing the match and aided Miz in retaining his title. This marked the beginning of a feud with Lawler that culminated in a match at WrestleMania XXVII. During this period, he unveiled Jack Swagger as his trainer and engaged in antagonistic behavior toward Lawler. This included making light of Lawler’s mother’s death and inviting Lawler’s son Brian to disclose family secrets.
At WrestleMania, special referee Stone Cold Steve Austin declared Lawler the winner, but the Anonymous Raw General Manager reversed the decision. In addition to that, he also awarded the victory to Cole by disqualification due to Austin’s involvement in the match. A month later at Extreme Rules, he teamed up with Swagger to defeat Jim Ross and Lawler in a Country Whipping match. The culmination of the feud was a “Kiss My Foot” match at Over the Limit on May 22, which he lost. Following the match, Bret Hart returned and subjected Cole to his signature submission move, the Sharpshooter. Moreover, Hart assisted Lawler in making Cole kiss his foot. He issued an apology to Lawler the following night on Raw, bringing an end to their feud. Afterward, he continued to sporadically wrestle, often favoring heels and questioning the actions of faces to regain control in matches.
On the July 25 episode of Raw, Triple H arranged for Cole to face Zack Ryder, resulting in a quick loss for Cole. Cole and Alberto Del Rio lost a tag team match to John Cena and Jim Ross on the October 17 episode of Raw. This prompted him to challenge Ross to the “Michael Cole Challenge,” a series of three contests, with him stating that if Ross won each challenge, he would quit his job. On the November 14 episode of Raw, Ross won the first two challenges (arm wrestling and dancing). In response, he declared that the third contest would be determined by who weighed less, which he won. Ross was subsequently fired, and CM Punk came out to attack Cole. Later, he vowed revenge and announced his intention to sue Punk for the alleged injury. Furthermore, he made a surprise appearance in the 2012 Royal Rumble match but was swiftly eliminated by Lawler, Booker T, and the returning Kharma.
He faced John Cena on the June 4, 2012, episode of Raw, losing the match and being compelled to issue an apology for his past wrongdoings. On the July 9 episode of Raw, he was booked in a rematch against Jerry Lawler from WrestleMania XXVII, which he quickly lost. The Anonymous Raw General Manager then reversed the decision, declaring him the winner by disqualification following interference by Booker T. However, Santino Marella emerged, revealing Hornswoggle hiding underneath the ring and claiming that he was the Anonymous Raw General Manager.
Face turn (2012–2019)
He received widespread praise for his handling of the legitimate on-air heart attack suffered by his commentary partner Jerry Lawler on the September 10, 2012, episode of Raw. Despite his role as a heel commentator for two years, he demonstrated professionalism by providing updates on Lawler’s condition throughout the episode. His conduct during this emergency was described as “classy and professional,” and he garnered additional acclaim for turning face. This is after showing support for the face wrestlers and earning cheers from the audience. He continued to contribute to commentary during Raw and pay-per-view events. This includes Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell, alongside Jim Ross and John “Bradshaw” Layfield. His face turn was solidified when he embraced Lawler in the ring upon Lawler’s return on the November 12 episode of Raw.
On the March 30, 2015, episode of Raw, he along with JBL and Booker T, was attacked by Brock Lesnar after Seth Rollins denied Lesnar his WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch. In the subsequent week’s storyline, he did not appear on commentary due to the apparent injuries sustained during the attack. On June 8, 2015, he welcomed Byron Saxton as the color commentator for Raw, replacing Booker T. However, on the January 15, 2018, episode of Raw, Cole was attacked by Braun Strowman, who was upset about being fired by General Manager Kurt Angle. As a result of this assault, he was replaced by Tom Phillips for the remainder of the broadcast.
Dual show commentary and Return to SmackDown! (2019–present)
On September 26, 2019, three days after the Raw episode, WWE announced a new commentary team for SmackDown as part of their “WWE Premiere Week.” Cole made a return to SmackDown as a full-time commentator after six years, joining former Raw commentators Corey Graves and Renee Young. On April 16, 2021, Pat McAfee joined him on commentary, receiving universal praise for their chemistry. He expressed that working with McAfee was the highlight of his week. Although McAfee took a break to work for ESPN’s College Gameday. Cole continued with Wade Barrett on commentary for SmackDown and premium live events with Graves. WWE made on-air commentary changes on August 5, 2023, with he returning to Raw on August 7, 2023, accompanied by Wade Barrett on commentary.
He maintained his role on SmackDown, where Corey Graves returned with Kevin Patrick joining in. According to PWInsider, these changes were requested by WWE’s future parent company Endeavor and its broadcast partners USA Network and Fox, aiming to position Cole as the face of the product. However, on January 1, 2024, Cole left SmackDown once again, leaving Patrick and Graves as the two-man commentary team. Since 2020, he has been involved in ongoing feuds on commentary, notably with Bayley, with whom he had storyline issues over the past few years. Additionally, he has engaged in disputes with Top Dolla, calling him out for a botched top rope spot on an episode of SmackDown. To add to that, he also had disputes with Dominik Mysterio, siding against Dominik in his feud with his father Rey Mysterio.
Reality of Wrestling (2013)
In December 2013, he took on the role of a special guest announcer for the professional wrestling promotion Reality of Wrestling, owned by fellow WWE employee Booker T. He shared announcing duties with Rich Brennan, formerly known as Anthony Pratt and Rich Bocchini.
Michael Cole Salary
Cole earns an annual salary of about $47,000-$120,000.
Michael Cole Net Worth
Cole has an estimated net worth of about $1 Million – $7 Million which he has earned through his career as a commentator.
Michael Cole Age
Cole was born on December 8, 1968, in Syracuse, New York, United States. He is 56 years old as of 2024, and he celebrates his birthday on the 8th of December every year.
Michael Cole Height and Weight
Cole stands at a height of 5 feet 11 inches tall however, information about his weight has not been disclosed.
Michael Cole Family
Cole likes to keep his personal life private hence he has neither disclosed the names of his parents nor those of his siblings. However, this information will be updated when available.
Michael Cole Wife and Children
Cole is married to Yolanda and they tied the knot in 1987. Together they have been blessed with two adopted sons, whom they named; Calvin Cole and Mark Cole.
Reason For Michael Cole’s Absence From WWE Raw Season Premiere
Cole rarely misses his commentary duties for WWE shows, but he was absent from the commentary desk on a recent episode of “WWE Raw,” where Kevin Patrick led the booth. According to PWInsider, His absence was pre-planned and not due to illness. He had requested time off for a personal commitment, and Kevin Patrick had been scheduled to take the lead commentary position for several weeks leading up to the show. On that episode, Wade Barrett, the traditional third voice on Mondays and a former Intercontinental Champion, joined Patrick in the commentary booth. He has been in the booth for both major WWE shows, and is joined by Patrick and Corey Graves on “SmackDown.”
In May, Cole expressed that he would not retire from his commentary duties until he was reunited with on-and-off “SmackDown” commentator Pat McAfee. He mentioned having “a lot left to do in the company” with “a lot of shows left to call.” Cole, 56, hinted that the age of 60 might be a “pretty good age to slow down” during an episode of McAfee’s show. In a recent “Raw” episode, he interviewed the current World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, who acknowledged his consistent presence on the shows. Cole responded, mentioning that he had only missed two shows in the past 26 years. Therefore, the recent absence marked the third time in that lengthy timeframe.
Social Media Platform
Cole is very active on his Twitter and Instagram. He has 801.8k followers on Twitter and 120.9k followers on Instagram.