Longtime WWE announcer Michael Cole spoke with USA Today's "For The Win" blog this week to promote WrestleMania 34. Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On his preparation and research heading into a big event like WrestleMania 34: "People look at me weird when I tell them this… WrestleMania Sunday, to me, is one of the easiest shows of the year to call. We've covered these stories for months. We know every single angle of what's going to happen leading up to these matches. There's so much pomp and circumstance surrounding WrestleMania. There's these larger-than-life entrances and unbelievable music that's being played. We don't talk wall-to-wall a lot of times during WrestleMania because you want to be able to lay out, you want to be able to allow the audience to enjoy the moment, and to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Seeing this massive set, seeing our superstars walk down the ramp on a 60-yard entranceway. You don't want to talk for a lot of that, and once the match begins, you just lose yourself in it. A lot of our stuff throughout the year is building towards this moment, and when WrestleMania comes it's really just 'go out there and have fun and feel it.'
"Now from a research standpoint, yeah sure I'll go to our website, I'll go to websites all over the place and do research on superstars' WrestleMania records and what some of the highlights were in their WrestleMania careers, so on and so forth. But we try not to get bogged down in a lot of that at WrestleMania. It really is a celebration."
On feedback he receives from Superstars after he announces their matches: "Most of the talent don't say too much. They're very respectful. They understand that this is what we do for a living 52 weeks a year. You know, I've been doing commentary in WWE for 21 years, and most of the talent respect what we do and respect the stories that we're trying to tell. Especially when it comes to our weekly programming. Monday Night Raw is a three hour show, but in the grand scheme of things, when you look at a match within Raw – the entire match may only be 10 minutes long. You have 10 minutes to be able to tell the stories of these guys, and they understand the time restrictions and they understand that we do what we can to tell their stories and really explain what goes on in the ring.
"They'll come up to us. If there's something they would like us to talk about during their match, if there's a certain story they want to tell, they are very proactive about coming to us and making sure that we can get those points across for them."
On working with Corey Graves: "Oh, I mean, Corey's a natural. There's certain people you know are going to make it as commentators when they haven't had the experience before. The first guy that comes to mind is Tazz. I knew years ago when I first started working with Tazz on Sunday Night Heat and eventually we became a team on SmackDown, you just knew because of his personality and his edge and who he was, his work ethic, you knew his was going to be a great commentator.
"And the same thing with Corey. I knew after just working with him a couple of times down at the Performance Center in the booth when we were looking at making a transition for him from in-ring to commentary, I knew after two or three times that Corey had it. He's quick-witted, he's very fast on his feet. He has in-ring experience, he has been a champion, so there is some legitimacy to that. He's sarcastic, he's funny, he's hip, he's got a different look. Corey, really, was a home run, and I knew he was going to be."
Check out the complete Michael Cole interview at USAToday.com.