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Yes, you heard Michael Cole’s voice on Raw. What does it mean?

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WWE.com

While Drew McIntyre was walking out on Raw last night (Aug. 2), Michael Cole could clearly be heard talking about a “16 time champion”.

This was odd. Michael Cole is not an announcer on Raw anymore. McIntyre is not a 16 time champ, at least when it comes to belts WWE recognizes. Something was up, and Wrestling Twitter™ was on the case.

Since crowds returned to WWE with the July 16 SmackDown, there’s been a lot of talk about “crowd sweetening”* - the cool new term for WWE piping in audio to cover for an audience reaction they don’t like, whether than be silence or jeers when they want cheers. The prevailing theory last night was this was what happened while Drew was waving Angela at Jinder Mahal & company in Chicago.

Seems somewhat plausible, but after ThunderDome gave them lots of practice controlling the audio, you’d think they’d know better than to just play a commentary track from another show.

And it turns out there’s an even more plausible explanation. This reddit post identified the source of the audio as a commercial from the previous break for SummerSlam‘s Roman Reigns/John Cena main event. During his Raw post-show with Denise Salcedo, Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp said one of his sources offered the same explanation - a production error.

Did somebody hit the wrong button? Or is WWE trying to convince you crowds aren’t over McIntyre’s act?

While I don’t doubt WWE plays with the audio from time to time (I refuse to call it “crowd sweetening”), I think the commercial botch explanation makes a lot more sense in this case. But let us know what you think in the comments below, Cagesiders.

* Can’t believe I forgot the “piped in reaction” allegations thing when discussing what I was most and least looking forward to with the return of fans to WWE show.