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JBL Names Michael Cole As Greatest Announcer He’s Ever Worked With


JBL had high praise for a fellow commentator that he called “the most amazing announcer” he’s ever worked with.

After a Hall of Fame career that saw him move from Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw to a Blackjack to an Acolyte and then to John “Bradshaw” Layfield, JBL has seen plenty in his time in wrestling. After effectively retiring from in-ring competition in 2009, Layfield turned his attention to WWE commentary in 2011, embracing a broadcast career in wrestling that he’d briefly started back in 2006 on the SmackDown brand.

During his early time on commentary, JBL received advice from Vince McMahon that he carries to this day. Speaking on the Universal Wrestling Podcast, the WWE Hall of Famer detailed how he came to understand the WWE Chairman’s mind for commentary.

“‘John, it’s not radio. You don’t have to tell them it’s a dropkick. You don’t have to tell them it’s a Saito suplex and show off that you know what it was.’ People can see that. They need to know who this character is and why they should care about them. Once you realize that, you understand Vince’s mind for commentary.”

This early advice led to a fast friendship between McMahon and JBL, and the former Acolyte praised his boss for being a remarkable listener.

“I tell people when they talk to Vince you got to understand that he’s going to listen to every word you say. He’s not going to interrupt you. When you get done, he’s going to think for a second. It’s going to be uncomfortably long, but when he comes back he’s going to have an answer for you. It’s a remarkable trait.”

JBL continued, noting that WWE announcers have a very different job to most sports commentators as they’re tasked with maintaining a mystery for their audience instead of speculating on potential surprises, which could ruin important moments.

“It’s completely different from sports. In sports, you want to be a step ahead. You want to say that a free safety is walked up and that frees up the linebacker to blitz. That opens up the audience into what potentially could happen. In wrestling, you don’t want to say, ‘Hey, I think that’s The Undertaker coming.’ You want to be a step behind.

“You want to let the audience realize what’s going on because it’ll mean so much more to them. That’s why announcers will say what seems to be really stupid stuff. ‘Who is that?!’ You know exactly who it is. It’s a guy who’s been on TV for the last 52 weeks. You’re letting the audience gather it in their mind so they become more engaged.”

For this reason, JBL says that Michael Cole is one of the best in the business, because while WWE fans might not see the long-tenured announcer as one of their favorites, he’s able to do his job seamlessly while receiving ever-changing instructions.

“This is all happening while you’re talking, and they’re telling Michael Cole this. Cole is taking notes while he’s talking and he’ll call every bit of it seamless. He is the most amazing announcer that I’ve ever worked with. Anybody who sees this who’s a wrestling fan is probably going to hate me for saying that. Cole is fantastic.”

In an exclusive interview with Liam Alexander-Stewart of Inside the Ropes earlier this year, JBL revealed what he believes to be the “greatest rib of all time.”