Michael Cole: ‘Vince McMahon Called My WrestleMania Match The Worst Thing He’d Seen In 60 Years’
Back in 2011 at WrestleMania XXVII, Jerry Lawler had his only WrestleMania match in his illustrious career. As far as the records will show, that match was a losing effort to longtime WWE commentator, Michael Cole, whom Lawler was involved in a very personal rivalry with at the time.
Speaking to Corey Graves on the WWE After The Bell podcast, Michael Cole details all of the calamity surrounding the matchup and how he lost two teeth that day.
The first dental mishap took place prior to the event beginning when CM Punk was in the ring with Michael Cole practicing and accidentally knocked out one of his teeth with a high knee lift. Michael Cole recalls being worried about his WrestleMania payday at that moment.
“So I’m in the ring before the match during the day and CM Punk also had a match at that WrestleMania,” he began. “Phil and I have known each other for years, good, good friends. And he comes, for some reason, to this day, we don’t know why he comes running across the ring and he delivers a knee lift that knocks my front tooth out. There is blood everywhere. Now, this is like four hours before my WrestleMania match. My tooth goes away. There’s blood everywhere. Punks telling me, ‘oh, my God, I’ll pay for the dental work. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what got into me. I was just out here goofing around.’ I said, ‘I ain’t worried about my dental work. I’m about to lose the biggest payday of my career because you knocked my tooth out.’ So that’s how my day started.”
Once the actual match began, call recalls the nerves beginning to hit him when he realized he was in the ring with a Hall of Famer in Jerry Lawler and another Hall of Famer, Stone Cold Steve Austin was acting as referee.
“I get into the ring and I’m like, ‘I don’t know what the big deal is about WrestleMania, okay? Seventy thousand people out there, whatever. Jack Swagger comes out, he’s my guy. Yeah. This is great. I don’t know what every really gets all worked up about for WrestleMania,” Cole continued. “All of a sudden, the glass breaks and here comes “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the special guest referee, and he’s on his four-wheeler zooming down to the ring. And at that point in time, I look at the referee who was supposed to be a referee, but he gets out of the ring. I look at him. I look at Swagger. And the first thing I said is, oh shit! This is real. I am in a ring with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler in a match at WrestleMania.So the match gets ready to get started. I jump in the Cole Mine to hide from Jerry. Jerry climbs over the top. He finally gets to me. What happens is, at the time, if you recall, I was a spokesman for the anonymous general manager. We had that stupid steel podium that I would go up and say, ‘can I have your attention, please?’ Jerry drags me out of the Cole Mine and he throws me headfirst into the front of this steel podium and I go headfirst on it. The next thing I know, Somebody’s throwing me in the ring. So I get thrown into the ring now. So they’ve got a camera outside and Jerry and Jack are fighting.I’m in the ring and I’m backing up now on my butt. And I go to the rope and I feel like I’m going to throw up in the center of the ring. I look at Steve, Steve’s laughing his ass off. So he hands me a piece of gum. He goes, ‘take this.’ I said, ‘What the hell am I supposed to do with a piece of gum?’ He said, ‘chew it. It’ll help you feel better.'”
Cole was able to get through his first (and only) WrestleMania bout, but not without losing another tooth and getting a few sobering words from Vince McMahon first.
He concluded, So now we’re doing the thing. Whatever happens, happens. I can’t remember. And Jerry comes off the ropes with a missile dropkick and he hits me right in the mouth. Then what happens? My other tooth, next to the one Punk knocked out, goes flying across the ring. So, I’ve lost two teeth in the same day. There’s blood everywhere. Jerry looks at me and he throws a right hand. I drop like a brick. I’m just laying there and they count the one, two, three. And then it was overturned or I tapped out, whatever happened, and I get carried out of there. A bloody mess. I walk in the back. I’m like, man, I thought that went pretty good. I go to the back and I look at Vince and Vince looks at me and goes, ‘that is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed in 60 years.'”
Nowadays, Michael stays far away from the in-ring aspect of WWE and can be heard as the voice of SmackDown alongside Corey Graves every Friday night on the Fox Network.
(Transcription credit should go to Robert DeFelice of WrestleZone.)