Michael Cole talks his preparation for WrestleMania 31

SI.com has a new interview with WWE commentator Michael Cole about his WWE career, his career prior to WWE as a news anchor, what makes a good broadcast team and his prep for this Sunday’s WrestleMania 31 PPV. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

On how Cole prepares for a WrestleMania PPV broadcast:

“The funniest thing is I could not even tell you how many WrestleMania’s I have called. I do know my first one [attending] was WrestleMania 13 in Chicago. I did not call any match there but I was there as part of the company. From a preparation standpoint as a commentator, in an odd sort of way WrestleMania is one of the easiest shows of year to call because it is the culmination of everything. All of stories that we’ve been working on for months and months have been told. Now it is just two guys or four guys or four girls getting into the ring to finally settle their differences. So this is the one time of the year that I can actually sit down and call full matches. I know the background of the stories and I can actually get caught up in the moment. When you do Monday Night Raw and Thursday Night SmackDown every week, there is so much going on because we are an entertainment company. You have to deal with social media, storylines and all the different things the company is involved in. So a lot of times you don’t get to focus on the match as much as you would want to. But at WrestleMania, that’s what I get to do for four hours and it’s exciting.”

On the production meetings that take place the week leading into WrestleMania:

“We don’t do any “unique rehearsals,” per se. We do have production meetings and a number of them throughout WrestleMania week. They deal with everything from the pyro to the lighting to the music to the entrances to how a guy might enter the ring differently than perhaps he might on a normal basis. Then we will sit down with our producer on Sunday and go over B-rolls and packages and certain things we need to discuss like sponsorships. But as for the body of the show, we don’t [go over it]. There are a couple of reasons for that: First, I don’t want to know what is going to happen or I want to know as little as I can. I want to be caught up in the moment as a fan. Number two, I do my best work with broadcast partners like Jerry Lawler, Booker T and John Bradshaw Layfield without preparing with them because they are so good off the cuff… I don’t think we could do our jobs as well if we prepared together. We all prepare separately and we all have our own ways of preparing. I think if we sat down and actually tried to do that together, it wouldn’t work out the way that I think everyone is accustomed to.”

On how privy Cole is to the storylines that viewers will see at WrestleMania:

“If I wanted to know, I could know everything. But I don’t want to know and especially at WrestleMania. A perfect example was last year with the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. When Undertaker’s streak was ended by Brock, oh, my God, I was as shocked as the people sitting at the stadium that night inside the [New Orleans] Superdome. I had know no idea in a million years that was going to happen, and that was the reaction you got out of our call hopefully. I was expecting The Undertaker to kick out and I did one of my normal “One, two…” and I was expecting to say kick out and all of a sudden it was three. I looked at John and he looked at me and I mouthed to him off-air, “Is it over?” His eyes were big and wide and I said to myself: “Okay, the streak is over.” I want those moments to happen. One of my favorite WrestleMania matches to call was the first time Rock and John Cena met in Miami [at Wrestlemania XXVIII]. I didn’t know what would happen and it was such a great year-long build. It makes that moment so much better. At the end of the day, just like anyone else who calls any sport, we are fans of the product and we want to be as intrigued as everybody else.”

SI.com: WWE broadcaster Michael Cole on preparing to call Wrestlemania