Cole's got a new role
WWE fans know Michael Cole as the lead announcer for the SmackDown brand, a role he's held since SmackDown's inception in 1999. As of this week, Cole has added a new title to his resume: Managing Editor of WWE.com.
Now, you may be wondering…how did an announcer find himself in such a position? "I've been here nearly 10 years, and when I started, I ran a division in live events called Slamjams. And of course, I've been doing SmackDown since its debut, so I've been around," said Cole. "The WWE.com brass came to me and asked me if I'd like to join the team; they thought I could contribute positively, and I think it will be a good fit."
So what does that mean for you, the WWE.com reader? When I sat down with Cole this week, he said that it mostly means growth. "I want WWE.com to be slick, entertaining and emotional, but above all, I want it to be a must-read website. When you wake up in the morning, I want WWE.com to be the first website you visit. I want to have headlines that grab your attention, stories that move you and things you never thought you'd see on WWE.com. Coming from my background, I hope to make an immediate impact."
The background Cole refers to is his impressive pre-WWE resume. A graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications, one of the most prestigious and highly regarded journalism programs in America, Cole spent nearly a decade working in news radio prior to coming to WWE.
"After I graduated from Newhouse, I worked for CBS News for almost a decade," Cole told me during our chat. "Among other things, I've covered three presidential campaigns, the Branch Davidian standoff and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. I've been stationed everywhere, from New York to Mexico City to Sarajevo, and I know what it takes to succeed."
It's no secret that the SmackDown announcers have had issues with WWE.com in the recent past; however, Cole says he's ready to put that behind him. "Hey, I'm only human," Cole joked. "Seriously though, there may have been a rift in the past, but for the sake of making this website the best it can be, we have to let bygones be bygones. You know, if Johnny Damon can go from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, then why can't I help WWE.com become the best? I think my outspoken nature will help WWE.com in the long run."
Cole believes that his influence will have a two-fold effect on the WWE.com team. "Firstly, I think I can help the creative team at .com become even more creative, so to speak. I live and breathe this business, and hopefully I can help the team better understand the emotion and passion. I'll be at all televised events, so I can provide a unique perspective from the show. I'll also be a liaison between the boys and the .com team."
But will his allegiance to SmackDown result in any bias? "Let's put it this way: at WWE, we're all in this together, and I'm going to be as unbiased as I can be. On television, yes, I'm still SmackDown, but behind the scenes in the day-to-day operations, everything is equal around here."
All in all, Cole is excited about his new role. "Like I said, bygones are bygones and we're all in this together. This website is tremendous right now, but there's always room for growth; with a few tweaks along the way, we can make it that much better."