When Vince McMahon made the decision to have Michael Cole be a heel play-by-play announcer in 2010, starting with the original format of NXT, and carry over into Raw, he thought he was tweaking the concept of the heel announcer by flipping the dial, as it were. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a short-term gimmick lasted two years and change before Cole finally shed the persona. Already an internet punching bag, Cole, who'd been with WWE since the dawn of the Attitude Era in 1997, has spent the last five years repairing his on-air image while taking on other off-camera responsibilities. You might've seen him make an unscheduled cameo appearance on Smackdown Live! on March 7, for example, when AJ Styles confronted Shane McMahon at the end of the show.
So what in the blue hizell is going on at Impact Wrestling with Josh Mathews, picking a fight with their long-time punching bag, Jeremy Borash?
It's all part of the transitional phase Impact is going through presently. Mathews, who was with WWE starting as a runner-up in season 1 of Tough Enough (2001) before transitioning to broadcasting, was one of Dixie Carter's last hires off the WWE waiver wire, along with the likes of Drew Galloway (since released), and Cody & Brandi Rhodes. He lived through Cole's feud with Jerry Lawler in 2010-11, and he knew just how poorly that was received. So why take a chance on tanking his own Impact career?
I don't know whose idea it was. John Gaburick, another Tough Enough alumnus, is now a consultant, not a member of the creative team, but working with the returning Jeff Jarrett, Bruce Prichard, & Dutch Mantell. I suspect this might've been one of his ideas, the result of casually swapping some bad stories from his WWE days. If it wasn't "Big" John, then who, other than Mathews, would've given Jarrett the green light?
Fortunately, for those of us who've read spoilers for the current set of episodes that are now running on Pop TV on Thursdays, this is short-term at best. Josh is now married to former Knockouts champ Madison Rayne, and this might've been an exit so they can start a family. Fine, but if Josh is in fact done with Impact, where does he go from here? Madison isn't doing anything at the moment, so maybe she leaves with him, meaning another couple goes out the door, behind the underwhelming and overhyped Mike & Maria Bennett, whose stay with Impact lasted 14 months. Borash is a Jarrett guy dating back to their days in WCW. How much d'ya wanna bet that the next announcing move Jarrett makes is to bring back Mike Tenay, and put Pope D'Angelo Dinero back in the ring?
Do yourself a favor, Josh. Find a copy of the writings of Santayana. You'll be glad you did.