In a somewhat rare interview, WWE play-by-play announcer Michael Cole talked candidly with the Busted Open radio show on Jerry "the King" Lawler's heart attack, a potential John Cena heel turn and much more.
On trying to please the WWE Universe:
"This day and age people don’t understand the amount of pressure that’s on us as commentators to serve so many masters. First off there’s the hardcore fans, like you guys are, who have been watching for 20 or 30 years who want their old school wrestling. They want you to call a wrestling match; they want you to call every single hold, so you've got to please that. You've got to try to do your best. You also have to please your kids who are 50% of your audience and your women who are a large part of our audience too, so you're talking about different stories when it comes to those demographics … Our company wants to be in the fore front of social media. That’s our company’s goal and our objective. I have to do that, I work for WWE; I need to do what they want me to do. Does it get to be too much sometimes? Yeah, of course it does. I think we do a lot of things in excess, but that’s what we want … So when I’m talking about what’s trending worldwide or when I’m talking about what somebody said on their Twitter feed earlier today, I know guys like you who want your wrestling are probably saying, 'geez Cole, shut the hell up, enough already.' But then there's kids at home going, 'oh my god, I’m going to follow Vince McMahon on Twitter, this is an exciting day.' So you’re trying to please so many masters and you’re never going to please everybody. So all you can do is try to do the best you can, try to be entertaining, try to tell a good story, try to explain to your audience what's going on"
On the night of Jerry Lawler's heart attack:
"At that point I thought this obviously isn’t good, he looked blue. So I jumped up, first thing I did and I’ll never forget this is I hit my mute switch on my box because I was screaming for the doctor … I remember doing it because I knew something serious was happening and I knew that his family watches the product and I didn’t want them to know at that point what was going on because I thought that if it was me I wouldn’t want my wife or anybody in my family to learn about what was happening from live television … At that point I just went into instinct mode and I just started calling the match that was going on in the ring and didn’t reference anything that was going on … So I’m down at ringside and I’ve got to do the rest of the show for an hour, I had no idea what’s going on. I've got my producers and Triple H and others telling me and giving me updates in my headset which I would come back on the air and say, 'hey, this is the latest we heard,' and so on and so forth and then at about 10:30 eastern, about a half hour before we went off the air, I remember somebody came in my headset, I can’t remember who it was, and they said, 'Michael, you need to prepare for the worst.' I’m like, 'ok,' and they said, 'you need to be prepared to deliver the news.' So at that point I knew what they were talking about obviously.