Michael Cole Talks Jerry Lawler’s Heart Attack On WWE Raw, Working For Vince McMahon, More
– Michael Cole recently spoke with the folks at Wrestling101. Here are some highlights:
What have been some of your highlights during your time with WWE?
My career was made at the beginning thanks to Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude, if it wasn’t for D-Generation X who knows if I would’ve ever been discovered to become the personality that I am today, with those guys we had so much fun together and I become their foil.
From there I went onto SmackDown and I was there for ten years straight before I moved to Raw and that was obviously a huge experience for me. Then moving to Monday Night Raw was probably the biggest moment of my career. Finally being asked to get in the ring and have Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler’s only WrestleMania match was a complete honour, I was completely humbled by that and I had a lot of fun doing it.
I like being a bad guy but now I’m a good guy again and it’s all just so much fun, you’re able to reinvent your character so much in this business and that’s why I enjoy it so much.
You were doing commentary on Raw when Jerry Lawler had a heart attack, what instincts kicked in when that incident happened?
My news instincts kicked in, it was just one of those things where Jerry had a heart attack next to me and being a news reporter kicked in. I had to report what was going on in the ring, then I had to report what was going on with Jerry, it was all instinct, there was nothing premeditated about it.
Jerry had a match that night but it was business as usual, he came back and went to work nothing changed. Whatever match it was we were calling, I thought he was snoring and I turned around to look at him and he was passed out on the table and we went from there. It was a surreal thing and I’ve never watched that moment back, I don’t want to but I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life. He was passed out under the table and luckily doc Sampson was three feet away and they got to him quickly and got his heart going again but it was a bizarre time, I didn’t know for the last hour of the show if I was going to have to report that Jerry had passed away or if he was surviving and luckily we got the news right as we were going off the air that he was surviving, it was a really tough time.
Obviously it all came out the way we wanted it to, and it is great having Jerry back on the commentary table. It changed me personally but it also changed me professionally because at that point I became a babyface again and I think for the best, I was a bad guy for a while but it was time to change. Obviously Jerry’s heart attack changed history as we look at it.
What is Vince McMahon like as a boss?
He is wonderful, he’s hard but he is a genius with what we do as a company. If you can understand how to learn from him, here is a guy that is a billionaire and he’s built the wrestling business to where it is today but he still goes out and puts himself in situations, embarrassing situations for the good of the company.
That’s why when I did my role as a heel for a few years and all the things I did to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, I did that with Vince in mind. Vince is the owner of the company but he has had his head shoved up Big Shows rear-end, had his head shaved bald at WrestleMania, all the stuff he did over the years I thought if my boss could do that, I could do that.
He is one of my hero’s in this business and even in life, I’ve grown up in this business, I’ve spent 16-years here, I started as a fairly young kid, I’ve raised my family being a part of the WWE. Vince is like a second father to me and he has helped me throughout my career and I hope to spend the rest of my career with the guy, he’s just been an unbelievable mentor.
Have you ever had an ear bashing from Vince?
(Laughs) Yeah it happens every week, the thing is you can’t take it personally. Vince is very obsessive about his product because he should be, he has built the WWE into a global phenomenon, this is his baby and he acts that way because he wants his product to be the best.
You have to understand it’s not a personal attack, it’s him wanting his product to be the best in the world and once you can understand that you’re going to be better than ever and you’ve got to understand it’s a way to motivate you.