Although they were only acting jovial during a January 2014 Raw broadcast, Michael Cole and JBL’s antics on commentary weren’t best received by Vince McMahon.
The 6 January 2014 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw was branded as an Old School Raw, with numerous past WWE Superstars returning to the red brand. This included Rikishi and Too Cool battling 3MB, Jake Roberts placing his snake on top of Dean Ambrose, and Sgt. Slaughter refereeing a bout between Damien Sandow and The Great Khali.
On commentary, Michael Cole and John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield joined in on the fun as well, with ‘The Wrestling God’ dressing up as Vince McMahon from McMahon’s own time as a WWE commentator. The former WWE Champion recited a handful of Vince’s famous lines, but McMahon didn’t find the situation particularly amusing.
Talking on the latest Stories With Brisco And Bradshaw podcast, JBL recalled his night spent dressed as the higher power, revealing that Vince jokingly terminated both him and Michael Cole through their commentary headsets (h/t Sportskeeda Wrestling):
“I dressed up, had the bouffant hair like Vince, went to his old barber, got the stuff. I was saying all the catchphrases just like Vince, like, ‘Childhood dreams come true.’ Vince doesn’t realize it for a while and finally, about the second or third match, he goes, ‘Michael, John, I don’t find that funny, you’re both fired [laughs]’.”
Vince McMahon allegedly had to be informed that JBL was essentially mocking him live on-air, with an unnamed WWE employee pointing the situation out to Vince backstage:
“I was waiting for him to pop on it and I kept using the catchphrases. He apparently was busy doing a million other things. Finally somebody smartened up to him, ‘You know JBL is you?'”
Vince McMahon later clarified to JBL and Michael Cole that they weren’t actually fired, with JBL spending a further three years as a WWE commentator, while Cole remains in the role today. He currently provides SmackDown’s play-by-play commentary and is the WWE’s Vice President of Announcing.
Although this was merely a joke between Vince and his commentary team at the time, McMahon has soured on many of his previous commentators. The likes of Joey Styles, Matt Striker, and Jim Ross all felt the wrath of Vince during their WWE announcing careers.