Corey Graves & Vic Joseph Defend Michael Cole Following WWE WrestleMania 37 Botch
"That was a genuine heartfelt reaction in the moment. So it added to it"
In the main event of night one of WrestleMania 37, Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks clashed over the SmackDown Women's Championship. Both women fought back and forth in a widely praised match and The EST Of WWE pinned Banks following a KOD to win the title.
On the commentary desk, though, Michael Cole initially exclaimed that Banks had kicked out only to realise a few moments later that the match was indeed over.
The SmackDown announcer received some criticism for botching the call, and Corey Graves and Vic Joseph defended their colleague on the latest episode of After The Bell.
"I've got to address the elephant in the room. You know exactly what I'm talking about, that in the twilight hours after WrestleMania everybody was mad at our good friend Michael Cole. And Cole's the consummate pro, he's been doing this 25 years. If there's anybody who's truly unshakeable, it's Cole. Cole felt bad. He felt terrible, but I can relate... I almost thought the same thing," Graves said.
"From our vantage point, it was not crystal clear. Factor in, and I'm not making excuses because it was what it was, to me it didn't take anything away from the amazing moment. It was reality. It was, 'It's over, no it's not, oh yes it is!' It was a very genuine, real reaction.
"But take into consideration yes we have the monitor, yes we have audio in our headphones. We're also in a stadium full of 20,000+ people and any wrestler's book that you've ever read says being in a stadium is very different than an arena because it takes a second. The sound has to leave and come back before anybody can truly register," Graves continued.
"So, all of these factors are going in. I myself wasn't sure. Hey, it's the main event of WrestleMania, people have kicked out of each other's finishers 35 times already tonight, why wouldn't this be any different? And it just felt like, 'Oh no Banks is still, Oh my god!' And it was a genuine shock after that. So everyone leave Michael Cole alone, okay [laughs]."
Vic Joseph then added: "I'm not gonna make an excuse for Michael Cole, he doesn't need one. But here's the hard lesson that I don't understand. When wrestling fans [say], 'Oh well they don't even care. They don't sound excited. They don't sound genuine.' That was a genuine reaction. I wasn't at the desk but I know the story because you both have told it to me. That was a genuine heartfelt reaction in the moment. So it added to it."