Dubbed “the voice of WWE” after the departure of Hall of Famer Jim Ross, Raw announcer Michael Cole has helmed the commentary teams in WWE for over a decade.
Cole, real name Sean Michael Coulthard, made his WWE debut back in 1997 as a backstage interviewer on Raw. In 1999, Cole graduated to the spot of regular play-by-play announcer on Raw when Jim Ross suffered a bout of Bell’s palsy, and Cole has been a mainstay WWE announcer ever since.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, WWE is currently preparing for Michael Cole’s eventual exit from the Raw commentary team, although an actual date for Cole’s exit has yet to be revealed.
On the amount of time Cole has left in his current role, Meltzer said, “probably not that long, honestly,” h/t to ComicBook.com for the transcription. “That’s why they’re hiring so many announcers to… I guess Tom Phillips will probably get the job, so then people — I don’t want to say they’ll wish for Michael Cole, but they probably wouldn’t like Tom Phillips in that spot either,” Meltzer added.
The Meltzer report does not indicate that Cole, who is 50 years old, plans to leave WWE altogether when he decides to step down as the lead Raw announcer, and it is very possible Cole could transition to some kind of backstage role in the company when he finishes his tenure on Raw.
Cole has been instrumental in training and coaching the rest of the WWE commentary teams, including the NXT and 205 Live talents such as Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson.
As for who might replace Cole when he steps down, that remains to be seen, and while speculation might be that Mauro Ranallo is best fit for the job, that might not be possible based on what Ranallo wants to do in the company. Ranallo previously held the job of Smackdown Live lead play-by-play commentator, however, he left the post and temporarily left the company after issues with his announce team partner, JBL.