In the WWE, the commentators are crucial to the presentation of professional wrestling. Whether it two or three commentators in the booth, they are key to help bring the TV audience into the match and explain what is happening in the ring. Some WWE commentators know who is going to win the matches, while others prefer to be left in the dark about the match winners.
Commentators like Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon, Jim Ross and Michael Cole have become household names due to their work in the WWE. Each week, they beamed into the homes of millions, because the voice of multiple generations of wrestling fans.
However, there is some confusion over whether WWE commentators know who is going to win. It is a more complicated question than you think, so a “yes” or “no” answer would not be enough to truly explain the truth. Luckily, this article will explain everything for you!
Do WWE Commentators Know Who Is Going To Win?
Most WWE commentators know who is going to win, but some match winners come as a complete surprise to them. Michael Cole has claimed that he likes to know who is winning matches, so that he can plan the perfect call for the moment and tell the best story to compliment the matches in the ring.
WWE commentators will usually have a script about what to say in certain moments, and what is going to happen in the matches. This allows them to plan some calls ahead of time, getting some great soundbites that the WWE can use for decades ahead in
However, he does not like to know the winners of the matches for WrestleMania. As WWE’s lead commentator, he is tasked with carrying the entire broadcast for the biggest show of the year. He can spend over five-hours shouting at the commentary desk at WrestleMania, so keeps it fresh by not wanting to know who will win the matches (but only once a year).
Speaking on the Sky Sports Lock Up Podcast in 2018, Michael Cole claimed that WrestleMania is “the one time of year I don’t want to know” who is winning matches. He cites matches like Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker, and the Hardy Boyz return to the company in 2017, as moments that were made better by commentators not knowing who is going to win.
“You know, I’m involved in a lot of things with the company, but WrestleMania is the one time of the year that I don’t want to know anything that is happening as far as stories, so to be able to sit there and take in moments like the Hardy Boyz returning, which I didn’t know about, or Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker a number of years ago, which I had no idea about; stuff like that.”
“The Hardy Boys returning last year was absolutely incredible. It was one of those moments that you get goosebumps and you hope to deliver the line that people will remember for years to come on the WWE Network…Those are great moments, but again, without the athleticism of our performers we would never have those.”
However, it is clear that this is not the case for all WrestleMania matches. At WrestleMania 32, The Undertaker wrestled against Shane McMahon inside a Hell in a Cell match. The biggest spot of the match saw Shane McMahon leaping from the top of the cell and crashing through the announce table, with a sickening thurd.
During this shot, you can clearly see Michael Cole reading from a pre-written script, yelling out the words “For the love of Mankind!”, referencing Mankind’s (Mick Foley) similar fall in his Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker in 1998.
While we cannot say for certain that Michael Cole knew The Undertaker was winning that match (although the entire world knew Shane wasn’t beating The Deadman at WrestleMania), it was clear that he at least had some instructions on the biggest spots in the match, and how to react to them accordingly.
However, there are some matches when the commentator does not know who is going to win, even if they want to. Sometimes, match results are kept so secret that only a select few people – like Vince McMahon, Triple H, the wrestlers and the referees – are the only ones to know what is going to happen. Sometimes, not even the referees, as they are instructed to count pin falls as if they are real, to keep the realism in the match.
The referees counting real pin falls has come under fire over the years, for ending matches prematurely. There is the famous match involving Ted DiBiase Jr, where the referee failed to see him lift his shoulder and called for the bell during a multi-man tag team match. Cody Rhodes tells the story where DiBiase came backstage after the match, complaining that the referee “tried to f*** on me!”.
Matches like Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker, and The Montreal Screwjob were so secretive that the commentators did not know what was happening. Their reactions were real and genuine, reacting to the surrounding events just as any real sports commentator would do. The commentary aren’t told so that the match results don’t leak out, and their reaction can seem more real and organic.
In conclusion, WWE commentators generally do know what is going to happen, so they can help tell the story in the ring and make it better by adding their own personalized commentary to the mix.
However, certain matches (such as WrestleMania), they prefer not to know what happens, to provide a more organic reaction to the unfolding events. In other times, they are not allowed to know, due to the secrecy surround the matches and not wanting the result to leak out before the bout.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.