With one quip at this year's SummerSlam, Michael Cole perfectly summed up the groundswell of fan support he's been receiving these days.
After Corey Graves proclaimed how he liked Cole better when he wasn't allowed to have an opinion, the 53-year-old immediately hit back with, "That's changed. A lot's changed". Yes, Michael, yes it has.
Having first arrived in the then-World Wrestling Federation back in 1997, the real-life Sean Michael Coulthard was handed the Michael Cole moniker and initially tasked with conducting backstage interviews. From there, he'd do voiceover work, host LiveWire, and would slowly start to cement himself as part of the company's commentary team. Throughout so much of the New York native's 25-year career with WWE, though, Cole has found himself lambasted and ridiculed by certain wrestling fans.
Here in 2022, the tide seems to have turned on that front. With each passing week, more and more people are pouring plentiful praise on Michael. In fact, coming out of the aforementioned SummerSlam show, one of the major talking points has been just how great a job Cole did on the call.
What's the reason for this change of heart amongst wrestling fans? Well, that's what we're here to discuss.
5. He's No Longer Viewed As Jim Ross' Replacement
For some, one of the main reasons why they didn't particularly care for Michael Cole and his work was, quite simply, because he was not Jim Ross.
Having been in the role of a full-time commentator as far back as 1977, good ol' JR is viewed by many as the greatest to ever do it. When thinking of favourite wrestling memories of yesteryear, Ross is the voice you so often hear over the action. Not just that, but the Oklahoma native added so much to such moments due to the words he chose and the way in which he delivered them.
So, when Cole was the one to step in and start filling in for Jim at times, that irked those who viewed JR as the voice of their childhood. To those people, Michael Cole could've delivered exemplary commentary during a broadcast, while performing brain surgery at the same time as he was splitting the atom and giving you the winning lottery numbers from the future... and the masses still wouldn't be happy.
The point is, no matter what Cole did or said, the hard truth is that he wasn't Jim Ross.
Of course, it's hugely unfair to compare Cole to Ross, and the former war correspondent should've always been judged on his own merit rather than being unfairly dumped on for being the man to replace the WWE Hall of Famer. That issue only obviously got worse when Michael Cole fully ousted Jim Ross to become the lead announcer on weekly programming and PPVs, but now it appears that fans have finally gotten over the fact that Cole took a spot that was Ross' for the longest time.