I appreciate you indulging the questions I and others pose to you. I have a question for you, which I'm sure will cause some good debate amongst the Keithminers. Is Michael Cole a sympathetic figure? Hear me out: His debut was at SummerSlam '97 when he tried to interview Stone Cold on his way to his infamous match with Owen Hart. Austin called him a piece of trash, and threatened to make the new guy kiss his ass. After middling around as an interview guy/merchandise stand for The Rock, he suddenly gets thrown in as lead announcer when Jim Ross is struck with Bells Palsy. It was very clear he was not ready for the job, as you pointed out many times in your brutal but hilarious rants. My favorites are "Michael Cole the Goatee Wearing Little Bitch", your recap of the Rock/Mankind I quit match at the '99 Rumble, calling him out for saying the most dangerous part of Hell in a Cell is getting your fingers caught in the cage, and my all-time favorite SK match, the Rock Bottom Buried Alive match, with your running gag based on Cole's assertion that the tombstone above the grave “weighs in excess of 3000 pounds.” When Ross mercifully came back, he went right back to being humiliated weekly backstage. He finally catches a break when he is paired with Taz on Smackdown! doing a much better, if unremarkable, job as the lead commentator on the B show.
Then Vince decides, without telling them, that JR and Cole will be switching brands in the 2008 draft. Clearly Vince wants Cole to be his new lead, since he has been groomed in the "WWE Style" commentary that Vince loves. Naturally the fans rebel and Vince, since he knows better, just has Cole turn heel, because what better way to make someone hated by the fans popular than by making him a jerk. His running down of Daniel Bryan wasn't too bad, but then he is forced to repeatedly mock JR's weight and Bells Palsy, comment on Jerry Lawler's mom dying and bringing his son out to call his father neglectful, act like a chauvinist pig, stuff his paunchy announcer body into a skin tight unitard, "wrestle" a match that would have been ranked worst of the year if not for Jeff Hardy and basically put down every face in the company not named John Cena. Add to that, he is now the embodiment of everything the fans hate about the WWE. His relentless Twitter chatter, not to mention confusing trending with most talked about, ignoring the action in the ring, calling belts championships, using the term sports entertainment and calling wrestlers superstars. There was an incident on Raw a few months back where he called CM Punk a superstar on commentary, and Punk insisted he was a wrestler.
My point is, it seems like he was a guy who was treated like a joke for so long, got some credibility, was thrust into a spot the fans hated, and then became the most hated heel in the company for the wrong reasons. While I have heard he has a bit of an ego since he is friends with Cena, I can't imagine this heel crap was all his idea. Vince loves to make his employees due what he wants no matter how much the hate it. Michelle McCool admitted in an interview she and Layla hated the Piggie James storyline, but Vince wouldn't relent. Mark Henry was forced to be felt up by a cross dresser, get in a sexual relationship with an 80 year old woman AND admit to being in an incestuous relationship with his sister, all allegedly to get him to quit so Vince could reneg on that infamous contract. While I'm sure Cole enjoys his salary, and the luxury of being considered an employee and getting benefits, he just seems like a guy who was doomed from the start and never saw the signs coming.
You lost me at “Sympathy for Michael Cole.” Although there did used to be a point where he would appear to have a mind of his own without Vince yelling in his ear all the time, but a couple of years ago he appeared to buy into the Michael Cole Character 100% and would act that way even when it was known that Vince was in another country at the time.
No, I’m afraid the Michael Cole who had potential to grow and change is long dead.