WWE Rumor: Michael Cole to Be Leaving Commentator Role Soon?

Michael Cole's time as Raw's lead announcer may be coming to a close.

According to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Radio, WWE is prepping itself to be without Cole in the near future.

“Probably not that long, honestly. That’s why they’re hiring so many announcers to… I guess Tom Phillips will probably get the job, so then people — I don’t want to say they’ll wish for Michael Cole, but they probably wouldn’t like Tom Phillips in that spot either," he said.

While Meltzer's report sounds a little speculative, the wrestling world has been anticipating Cole's exit for quite some time. Cole has been with WWE since 1997 serving multiple roles but most notably his work as Raw and SmackDown's lead commentator.

As of late, the Raw desk has seen plenty of change with the additions of names like Corey Graves, Renee Young, and Jonathan Coachman. Todd Phillips has been installed as SmackDown's lead and may be on the shortlist of potential replacements for Cole on Raw.

At just 50, one could make the argument that Cole is entering his commentator prime. However, a couple decades as WWE's lead announcer would no doubt be demanding. Perhaps Cole sees a reduced role moving forward, but he could slip behind the scenes altogether.

Who would replace Cole would be a story that could dominate wrestling headlines. While Phillips would certainly be a candidate, WWE's best commentator is without question, Mauro Ranallo. However, his turn as SmackDown's lead man, while effective on-camera, proved to be a source of drama off-camera. Rumors of problems with JBL ran across the internet, but Ranallo explains that the combination of his bipolar disorder and WWE's demanding schedule was enough to keep him out of the booth.

“I was on the road every week," Ranallo told the MMA Show. "You add MMA and boxing and kickboxing to it. The road travel destroyed me. So, rumors and all this other stuff, what happened, honestly — and Ariel, you know how honest I’ve been in this thing — I had a breakdown in the Chicago O’Hare airport on my way to Pittsburgh to do SmackDown Live...But, I had to phone them and I said ‘I’m done. I cannot do this anymore. It’s going to kill me.’ And I thought I was done with the entire company,"

Ranallo has been battling Bipolar disorder his entire life, something recently covered in his critically acclaimed Showtime documentary "Bipolar Rock 'N' Roller."

"As much as there’s two sides to every story, the actual truth from me was my mental health wasn’t going to allow me to maintain that schedule much longer," he said.

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We'll keep an eye on Cole, but if WWE is planning to make a change, it won't happen until after WrestleMania 35.

[H/T Ringside News]