In a surprising turn of events, the WWE Universe noticed a distinct void in the commentary booth during the season premiere of Monday Night Raw in Oklahoma City. Michael Cole, a cornerstone of WWE's announce team, was conspicuously absent.
Instead, Kevin Patrick and Wade Barrett took the helm, providing play-by-play and expert analysis for the evening's high-octane action. The absence of Cole comes as a shock, especially considering the recent accolades he received from WWE Superstar Seth Rollins.
In a memorable in-ring segment, Rollins highlighted Cole's incredible track record, pointing out that the seasoned announcer had missed only two WWE shows in a staggering 25 years. With Monday's absence, that number has now ticked up to three.
While speculation swirled about Cole's unannounced absence, insiders have provided some clarity on the situation. According to a report from PWInsider, Cole had planned his hiatus well in advance due to a personal commitment.
Importantly, the report also confirmed that his absence is not health-related.
Kevin Patrick, who joined Wade Barrett in calling the matches on Raw, had been prepped for this role for "many weeks," according to the same sources.
This would suggest that WWE had ample time to ensure a seamless transition for the one-night shift in its commentary team. Fans of Michael Cole need not worry, as he is scheduled to return to his familiar seat next week. However, his return timeline raises questions about his availability for the upcoming SmackDown episode.
The absence of Cole, even if temporary, signifies the importance of adaptability and depth in WWE's broadcast team. It also highlights the dedication and near-perfect attendance record that Cole has maintained throughout his illustrious career.
For the avid WWE followers eagerly waiting for Michael Cole's return, rest assured: the iconic voice of WWE will soon be back, as electrifying and engaging as ever. In the meantime, the WWE Universe can look forward to an equally compelling presentation from the stand-in announce team.
This development reminds us that even the most consistent and reliable figures in the wrestling world are human, too, needing a respite or time for personal commitments just like the rest of us.