This month, the main pair of WWE’s small-screen offerings are celebrating new seasons, although SmackDown and Monday Night Raw, broadcast year-round, are blurring those boundaries a bit. Never mind, these two shows will shake up premieres like traditional TV shows do, as WWE is making big strides in its commentary teams for both series. Expect to see a few different faces at the table if you’re heading to an upcoming WWE event in the near future, as departures and internal shuffles have brought the latest broadcast teams together.
Three people have been commenting on Monday Night Raw for quite some time, but it looks like this era will come to an end when the current season ends. Variety reported that while Corey Graves will retain his position on the commentary team, he will be joined by frequent Raw Talk and behind-the-scenes correspondent Kevin Patrick. Meanwhile, Byron Saxton will move from the commentary team to the backstage correspondence team, where he will be joined by returning WWE host Kathy Kelly, and Mike Rome will act as an announcer in the ring.
As for fellow, now former Raw commentator Jimmy Smith, the former Raw commentator confirmed via Twitter that his time on the program has come to an end:
SmackDown fans won’t have to worry about Michael Cole going anywhere, but the veteran commentator will officially have a new partner to replace Pat McAfee while he works on College GameDay. NXT commentator Wade Barrett, once known in the main cast as Bad News Barrett during his wrestling days, will become the official co-host on SmackDown. Kayla Braxton and Megan Morant will make up the backstage correspondence team, and Samantha Irwin will be the announcer.
Wade Barrett has moved to SmackDown, and Vic Joseph and legendary 90s wrestler Booker Tee have become the main commentators as NXT enters a new season. Of course, WWE fans may wonder how long Barrett will retain this role and when Pat McAfee will return to the commentary team. For now, McAfee is committed to College GameDay, although when he left, it was mentioned that he would be welcomed back to WWE. Maybe Barrett will just return to NXT when that day comes, although maybe he could be put in third place in SmackDown?
The comment shake—up is just one of many recent changes to the WWE product, many of which have been well received by fans. Commentator teams always take a little time to find their rhythm, and admittedly, some commentators just don’t work. It will be interesting to see how viewers will react to these new couples, and whether they will miss faces like Byron Saxton at the commentary table. I will, of course, although I like the idea that he can pester talents behind the scenes again.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA Network on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET and SmackDown can be watched on Fridays on Fox simultaneously. Be sure to double-check whether the premium Peacock subscription is up to date before Saturday’s paid Extreme Rules, especially with the appearance of a mysterious White Rabbit that could potentially be on the table.