- Disambiguation: For the wrestler whose real name is Michael Cole, see Murphy.
Michael Sean Coulthard (December 8, 1968), better known by his ring name Michael Cole, is an American professional wrestling commentator, currently signed to WWE on both its Raw and SmackDown brands. A former news journalist, Cole also serves as the commentator on Smackdown.
Life and career
Coulthard began his career in the media as a journalist, working for CBS Radio. His first high-profile assignment was to cover the failed 1988 US presidential campaign of Democratic Party nominee Michael Dukakis. In 1992, he reported on the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. Coulthard covered the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993. The following year, he spent nine months covering the Yugoslavian civil war. In 1995 he was also selected to cover the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. He returned to the presidential campaign trail in 1996 to cover the failed campaigns of Steve Forbes and Sen. Bob Dole.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1997–present)
Backstage interviewer and Raw (1997–1999)
Cole came to the World Wrestling Federation in mid-1997 and started using the stage name "Michael Cole." He became the host of LiveWire show alongside Jim Cornette. Coulthard debuted at SummerSlam, and replaced Todd Pettengill as a backstage interviewer, who left the WWF after the event. In late 1997, Cole became one of the three announcers for the first hour of Monday Night Raw, alongside Jim Ross and Kevin Kelly. Eventually Cole was permanently replaced by Jerry Lawler later in the year. In 1999, Cole became the regular play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Raw subbing for Jim Ross when Ross was devastated by Bell's palsy.
When the promotion's new SmackDown! television program debuted later that year, Cole was chosen to be the show's play-by-play announcer. Originally his broadcast partner was Jerry "The King" Lawler, but when Lawler briefly left the WWF, he was replaced by Cole's Heat broadcast partner Tazz shortly before the WWF vs. WCW/ECW invasion storyline. Cole also had a stint doing commentary on SmackDown!'s former sister show WWE Velocity.
As an announcer, Cole was rarely involved in storylines; however, he has had minor roles in storylines involving Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, Heidenreich, Stephanie McMahon, Vito, and D-Generation X (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, and Rick Rude). His 2004 angle with Heidenreich became infamous due to an implied scene where Heidenreich "Heidenraped" him in the arena restroom. In a 2008 interview, Heidenreich explained that the Cole rape angle was McMahon's idea, and that Pulp Fiction came to mind when Stephanie McMahon approached him with the idea. He also appeared in the Taxi Driver parody trailer in promotion of WrestleMania 21.
Cole called play-by-play at the 2006 Royal Rumble match because Ross, who had commentated the last three Royal Rumble matches with Tazz, had been "fired" in the storylines and replaced by former ECW play-by-play man Joey Styles, reuniting the original SmackDown! team of Cole and Lawler.
On February 3, 2006, it was announced that he and Tazz were starting a radio show on Howard Stern's "Howard 101" radio station on Sirius, airing Thursday through Sunday at 8 pm, but the show was a trial run that only lasted a couple of weeks.
On April 26, 2006, WWE announced that Cole would become the Managing Editor of WWE.com. Shortly after, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon told shareholders in a meeting held on September 14 that he believes that the website "sucks". In response, Cole replied on WWE.com about updated content for the website: a broadband network with original web-only shows have been scheduled for October, with a new mobile offering, a re-vamped subscription site and more exclusive videos and photos. Cole went on to say, "So in summary, the web site does suck, compared to where we are going to take it, but it won’t suck for long. Wish I could say the same for the boss."
On the June 9 edition of SmackDown!, Cole's broadcast partner Tazz left from SmackDown to ECW, leaving Cole at that moment without a broadcast partner. At ECW One Night Stand 2006, John "Bradshaw" Layfield announced he would replace Tazz as color commentator. This proved true five days later when he appeared on that week's edition of SmackDown! as Cole's new broadcast partner.
After JBL left the broadcast booth and returned to wrestling action on Raw, Jonathan Coachman became Cole's new partner on January 4, 2008. Coachman was then replaced by Mick Foley beginning at Backlash on April 27, 2008.
Raw announcing exclusively (2008–2010)
As a part of the 2008 WWE Draft, Cole was drafted to the Raw brand as Jim Ross was drafted to the SmackDown brand. This effectively ended Cole's near 10-year run as play-by-play commentator on Smackdown in which he called every episode except for two. (The two episodes were the pilot and the 9/11 Tribute show, both of which were called by Ross.) On the July 7, 2008 edition of Raw, Cole was attacked by Kane. He repeatedly asked Cole "Is he alive or dead?" before Cole was saved by Jerry Lawler. Cole made his in-ring debut as Lawler's partner against the tag team of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase; a match for the World Tag Team Championship. Cole and Lawler lost after Cole inadvertently tagged himself in, and was quickly pinned by Rhodes after a lariat. On the December 14, 2009 episode of Raw, which was the 2009 Slammy Awards, Cole won The "Oh My" Moment of the Year award for vomiting on Chris Jericho at SmackDown's 10th Anniversary show on October 2.
Heel Turn and NXT (2010)
Cole is the color commentator for WWE NXT when the show debuted on February 23, 2010. Cole started to show early signs of a heel turn when he began to belittle certain rookies on the show, mainly Daniel Bryan. Cole began showing a liking to The Miz, who was Bryan's pro on that season, and who was becoming a significant heel on Raw. On the May 18 episode of WWE NXT, Bryan attacked Cole as a result of Cole's comments to him over the preceding weeks. The following week, Cole called Bryan out and demanded an apology from him, or else he would sue him for the assault. Bryan insulted Cole instead. Cole retaliated by calling Bryan a "loser" and slapping him, which caused Bryan to be restrained by security as Cole left the ring.
After Cole's feud ended with Bryan in the second season of NXT, Cole began to show more support for The Miz and his rookie for that season, Alex Riley. As with Bryan in the first season of NXT, Cole picked on season two rookie Kaval for being another "internet darling".
On the third season on NXT, Cole criticized the whole competition after a challenge which would require him to ring a gong that was next to him. He walked off commentary, ostensibly "quitting" the show. Cole returned halfway through the next week's edition of WWE NXT, rejoining Josh Mathews and CM Punk, who filled in for Cole. Cole stated that "NXT without Michael Cole is simply bad, and that he was giving the show "journalistic integrity". Just as in the first two seasons of NXT, Cole picked on a rookie, A.J., who he would also call an "internet darling".
Feud with Jerry Lawler (2010–2011)
On the June 21, 2010, episode of Raw, Cole became the official spokesman for the new (anonymous) General Manager of Raw (as the GM issues his orders through e-mails addressed to Cole) coming up with a new catchphrase of "and I quote...." to begin each e-mail reading.
On the October 1 edition of SmackDown, Cole returned to the show to join Matt Striker and Todd Grisham on commentary. On that same episode, Cole told Striker and Grisham that the reason he was on the show was that he was the new "Voice of the WWE" and that he should be on all WWE shows.
Over the next few months, Cole showed more signs of a heel turn when he started to pick on certain superstars on Raw and SmackDown. As Cole's heel character developed, Jerry Lawler showed displeasure in commentating with him. Cole dubbed his "fans" as Cole Miners, a play on the term coal mining. Even CM Punk, who had buddied up with Cole during the announcing of NXT Season 3, said that his initials stood for Cole Miner. On the November 15 episode of Raw, Jim Ross returned to the WWE to call a match alongside Lawler and Cole, to Cole's obvious displeasure. After the match finished, JR beat Cole with his hat before he left.
On the November 29 episode of Raw, Cole interfered in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match for the WWE Championship between Lawler and The Miz, costing Lawler the match by helping Miz retain his title. A week later, Cole apologized, only to take it back and demand one from Lawler. After Lawler threatened to attack Cole, the anonymous Raw General Manager issued a "cease and desist" order, which barred any physicality between them and that if either of them violated the order, that individual would have their contract terminated immediately. Cole continued to argue with Lawler on commentary, telling him he was "stealing the spotlight" and to "stop putting his nose in other people's business". After Lawler unsuccessfully challenged for the WWE Championship again at WWE Elimination Chamber, Cole interviewed him about his match on the following Raw. When Cole mentioned Lawler's recently deceased mother, Lawler stole the microphone from Cole and challenged him to a match at WrestleMania XXVII. Cole responded by throwing water into Lawler's face and then running backstage.
A week later, Cole accepted Lawler's challenge to a match at WrestleMania, only if he could have his own personal trainer at ringside with him and if he could choose the special guest referee for the match. Cole then revealed his trainer to be Jack Swagger. On the March 7, 2011 episode of Raw, Cole announced that he had chosen John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) as the referee for the match, but before he could sign the contract, Stone Cold Steve Austin interrupted and delivered a Stone Cold Stunner to JBL, and then signed the contract himself, making him the referee for the match. From the March 14 episode of Raw, Cole began announcing both Raw and SmackDown inside a glass booth which he called the Cole Mine. Later that night, Cole invited Brian Christopher, Lawler's son, to the ring to reveal the truth about Lawler. Christopher confronted his father and told him he was ashamed to use the name "Lawler" and accused him of being absent from most of his life. Jim Ross then interrupted and confronted Cole and called him a "rat bastard". Jack Swagger attacked Ross and put him an Ankle Lock. Cole also followed suit. During following weeks he criticized the WWE Divas saying they should not be in the WWE.
At WrestleMania, Lawler won the match by submission, using the ankle lock submission hold that Cole and Swagger had used on him during the last few weeks leading into the event. While celebrating his victory with Stone Cold, the anonymous Raw General Manager reversed the decision, due to Stone Cold physically getting involved in the match by pushing Cole, thus, making Cole the winner by disqualification. A month later at Extreme Rules, Cole teamed with Swagger to defeat Jim Ross and Lawler in a Country Whipping match. Lawler challenged Cole to one last match at Over The Limit. Cole initially declined, but Swagger was provoked into agreeing to the match on Cole's behalf. A week later, Cole announced that the match would be a "Kiss My Foot" match. During the signing, Cole and Swagger's alliance ended when Cole insulted Swagger, causing him to walk out on Cole, who then tried to beg Lawler for forgiveness. At the pay-per-view, Lawler defeated Cole. After the match, Eve Torres and Jim Ross would come out and get their retribution on Cole. Eve Torres delivered her signature moonsault to Michael and Jim Ross covered Michael's face in barbecue to humiliate Michael Cole. Bret "The Hitman" Hart would then return and put Cole in his signature submission move, the Sharpshooter, to help Lawler make Cole kiss his foot.
Return to commentating (2011)
On the May 23 edition of Raw, the night after Over The Limit, Cole said he regretted his behavior over the past few months and offered Lawler a full apology, which Lawler accepted, and soon enough, Cole returned to being a commentator. Despite this, he continues his heel run as he still favors villains like The Miz, Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio and questions some of the actions by fan favorites to regain control in a match. He also started liking the divas matches, saying they are his favourite but continues to show his dislike towards Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres.
On the May 30 episode of Raw, Cole would insult Alex Riley during an in-ring interview, which caused Riley to attack Cole. Miz would save Cole by attacking Riley from behind, but was also blindsided by Riley. A week later, after John Cena and Riley defeated Miz and R-Truth, Cole would announce that the Anonymous Raw General Manager had reversed the ruling, due to Steve Austin physically assaulting The Miz during the match, thus, making Miz and Truth the winners instead (because Cena and Riley are both disqualified). Austin would bring Cole into the ring hit his signature Stone Cold Stunner on him, followed by Cena hitting an Attitude Adjustment finishing move on him. Austin would then pour beer all over Cole while celebrating with Cena and Riley.
On the June 20 Power to the People episode of Raw, Cole was voted as the opponent for Vickie Guerrero in a dance-off, hosted by Matt Striker. Cole would imitate the signature worm of Scotty 2 Hotty and the signature Spin-a-Roonie of Booker T. Cole would win the dance-off for receiving the most amount of boos (originally to be most amount of cheers, Striker changed it to boos when both Vickie and Cole were just booed). On the July 25 episode of Raw, after Triple H announced the return of Jim Ross on commentary, Cole became angry with the decision, which led to Triple H giving Cole the choice to quit or stay. After Cole agreed to stay, Triple H announced Cole would have a match and would have the rest of the night off commentary. Cole (forced to dress and mimic Triple H) was defeated by Zack Ryder in a squash match. Later that same week on SmackDown, Cole stated that he was not quitting and he was going to continue to commentate on Raw alongside Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. After a short time, Ross was on-screen fired(briefly). Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship which brought Cole's fears to life with having to call Daniel Bryan a World Champion, but shortly after winning the title, with Bryan starting to show heel traits, Cole started supporting him calling him "Mr. Bryan" and stating "Daniel Bryan had a reason to yell at Mark Henry".
Although Cole's heel-style lead commentary involves antagonizing color commentator Jerry "the King" Lawler, Cole was deeply shaken when Lawler suffered a real-life heart attack while performing commentary duties during a live Raw broadcast September 10, 2012, at Montreal, Quebec. Cole—who several times stressed that Lawler's illness was indeed real—said that he hoped Lawler would pull through and make a full recovery.
Face Turn (2012–present)
At Night of the Champions 2012 Cole reverted former commentary style from before his heel turn by praising faces, with JBL who is filling in for Jerry Lawler as a color commentator, as the heel sympathizer. It was later confirmed that Michael's quick actions had a hand in saving Jerry Lawler's life. Cole continues to be face as on ION's show WWE Main Event, Cole plays face as his former friend The Miz, plays heel.
Coulthard graduated from Webutuck High School in 1984 and attended the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse University. Coulthard says that his favourite country to visit is South Africa. Coulthard loves twitter.
Coulthard is married to a woman named Yolanda and the couple have two adopted sons, named Calvin and Mark. Coulthard's oldest son, Calvin, also works for WWE in the television production department.
Beside doing commentary in the WWE video games, he will be featured as a playable superstar in WWE '12 in his WrestleMania 27 gear. He was previously only available for in-game use via cheat devices such as Xploder.
- An-Cole Lock (Ankle Lock)
- "The Voice of the WWE"
- Wrestler(s) Managed
- Entrance Themes
- "Get on your knees" by Age against the Machine (2011; used while managing Jack Swagger)
- "Never thought my life could be this Good" by Jim Johnston (2012-2013)
- "Cool Party" by Jean Baptiste Ayoub, Jérôme Faby, & Pierre Dubost (2013–present)
Awards and Accomplishments
- World Wrestling Entertainment/ WWE
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Worst Television Announcer (2001, 2009, 2010)