On this week’s episode of his 83 Weeks podcast Eric Bischoff and co-host Conrad Thompson took questions sent in by listeners. A number of interesting topics were discussed, with perhaps the most noteworthy being Bischoff’s opinion on WWE head commentator Michael Cole and the state of play-by-play commentary in WWE.
Cole is currently the head of all WWE staff that work as announcers, interviewers, and backstage on camera personalities. He also leads play-by-play commentary for the SmackDown brand.
Bischoff had this to say:
I don’t think you can judge play-by-play or color commentary for that matter in WWE and assign that judgment to the individual who is performing. Michael Cole is heavily produced. He is doing what he is asked to do. He is obviously doing it very well because he’s been in that position a long time. He is delivering exactly what the guy who signs his checks wants him to deliver.
So I applaud him for doing that. That’s your job. When you take that job, when you agree to do that job, you know what the rules are. You know what the process is. You know what the parameters are and you sign up for it. You do the best you can, and Cole does that.
Now, do I agree with that approach to play by play? I said it a hundred times and I’ll say it a hundred more times, absolutely not. I think play-by-play is one of the missing ingredients in WWE, not so much in AEW. I feel strongly about J.R. and Tony as a team. Part of that is because of my relationship with them and having worked with them, play-by-play is a different art form.
I love hearing traditional play-by-play. Tell me what’s going on. Describe to me what’s going on in a way as if I’m blind. Paint that picture for me in my mind. It enhances people who don’t have sight issues when you describe it that way because you are creating a sense of being there and seeing it live, even though you are watching it on TV, you feel like you are in the venue. The way WWE produces their play-by-play approach doesn’t provide that opportunity. I think that is seriously lacking. I think Michael Cole is doing an amazing job. On my very best day as a play-by-play announcer, I couldn’t carry Michael Cole’s bag to the arena. He has the ability. He’s just not produced in a way that we are allowed to see it.
Eric Bischoff’s last role with WWE was when he was named Executive Director of SmackDown Live in June of 2019. His stint as the man in charge lasted less than six months when he was let go by WWE in October after he reportedly didn’t know the names of talent on the roster and had other leadership issues. Longtime WWE employee Bruce Prichard replaced Bischoff as head of SmackDown Live.
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