Last week, former NFL punter turned WWE analyst Pat McAfee made wrestling headlines when he recalled how he came close to walking out of WrestleMania 35 after being yelled at by longtime WWE commentator Michael Cole, as related by publications such as Cageside Seats. This prompted a series of tweets from former NXT ring announcer and backstage interviewer Alex Del Barrio, who recently elaborated on his experiences working alongside Cole and the rest of WWE’s announce team.
As detailed by WrestlingNews.co, which published Del Barrio’s Twitter thread in full on Sunday, the former NXT employee started by tweeting that he considers Cole a “straight shooter” who tells things like it is, but also sees him as someone who has a “ridiculous and irrationally non-sensical [sic]” temper. He then recalled how he was allegedly yelled at by an unspecified announcer for violations of announcer protocol, including taking a selfie at the WrestleMania Axxess set and being “scruffy” when he was on the plane to WrestleMania 32 in 2016.
“[I was yelled at] even though other announcers flew on the same plane in shorts and a t-shirt when I was in a suit and tie (and I shaved when I got to the hotel before rehearsals).”
“I was yelled at in an announcing training session for saying ‘skinning the cat’ because it was an ‘insider term,'” Del Barrio then said, enumerating yet another accusation against WWE’s announcers.
After clarifying that he thought it was okay to use the term “skinning the cat” because of its similar use in gymnastics, Del Barrio went on to recall a few more times unspecified WWE announcers allegedly shouted at him. These included the time when he purchased food from a Whataburger location after an NXT show in Jacksonville, Florida, and the time when he did not do a “pre-show music contest” because of a misunderstanding with another NXT employee.
-Ex-WWE announcer on Michael Cole: “he has a ridiculous and irrationally non-sensical temper” https://t.co/91uW8dnrJY— WrestlingNews.co - WWE News (@WrestlingNewsCo) April 14, 2019
Despite his apparent focus on Michael Cole as a specific announce team member with a purportedly bad temper, Del Barrio clarified that the 50-year-old WWE veteran only shouted at him once. He added that there were other announcers who did most of the yelling and that they did so because of the “culture” fostered in the locker room during his time with the company.
“They look for the smallest things to criticize, berate and bully. If they like you, they look the other way. If they don’t they find ways to get you in trouble and cause this stigma about you within the company until you’re ultimately gone.”
Nonetheless, Del Barrio took another shot at Cole and his “stupid” temper, then called him “fake” in terms of his ability to build a healthy backstage culture. This was despite his strengths in finding talent and doing play-by-play commentary “when the reigns [sic] are taken off.”
“There are several other stories from other folks in his circle that have more direct interaction with his temper,” he continued. “This McAfee story doesn’t surprise me AT ALL.”
Commenting on the accusations of Del Barrio, who worked for NXT from October 2015 until his release in May 2016, WrestlingNews.co said that Michael Cole’s alleged outbursts can mainly be attributed to the “tremendous” pressure regularly put on him by WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon. The outlet added that Cole, for all his perceived faults, is still seen by those in the know as one of WWE’s hardest-working employees behind the scenes.