Tom Phillips is out as the play-by-play voice, replaced by MLB Network’s Adnan Virk - a lifelong wrestling fan who’s done some work covering WWE in the past during stints at ESPN and Canada’s The Score. Phillips shifts to 205 Live, which feels like about as big a demotion as you can get. The press release mentions he’s keeping his behind-the scenes roles, however.
In the other two Monday night chairs, Byron Saxton is sticking around, but Corey Graves will replace Samoa Joe. The announcement doesn’t specify if Graves will remain with Michael Cole on SmackDown, but the lack of a mention gives the impression he’ll pull double duty.
On Joe, we’re only told he “remains part of the WWE talent roster.” Sounds like a return to the ring could be imminent. No matter, Joe’s excelled on commentary and in interviewing roles on NXT and The Bump, so he figures to remain a fixture of WWE’s product for as long as he wants to be.
Here’s the full presser, and join us in our live blog tonight for the debut of the Adnan, Byron & Corey show.
Adnan Virk Joins WWE® Monday Night Raw®
STAMFORD, Conn.—(BUSINESS WIRE)— WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that Adnan Virk will make his debut as the new play-by-play voice of Monday Night Raw tonight at 8/7c on USA Network.
“I’m elated to be joining the premier sports entertainment company in my new role with WWE,” said Adnan Virk. “As a kid who grew up idolizing WWE Hall of Famers like Bret Hart and Ric Flair, the opportunity to call modern legends like Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, Charlotte Flair and so many others alongside Corey Graves and Byron Saxton is truly humbling.”
In addition to becoming the voice of Monday Night Raw, Adnan Virk will continue his on-air host role across MLB Network’s programming this season. Additionally, he hosts The GM Shuffle podcast with Michael Lombardi on the Cadence 13 network and the popular movie podcast “Cinephile” with Meadowlark Media. Previously, Adnan worked at ESPN where he primarily covered college football and baseball. He was also a studio host for ESPN’s college football coverage and a play-by-play announcer and studio host for the network’s coverage of Major League Baseball. He has guest hosted SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, Olbermann, ESPN’s coverage of the College World Series, and Mike & Mike. Virk also hosted backstage Oscar’s coverage for ABC’s “The Oscars: All Access.”
Virk will be joined at ringside for every Monday Night Raw by analyst Corey Graves, who began his commentating career in 2014 and has distinguished himself with a unique style and opinionated insights, and analyst Byron Saxton, a veteran with more than a decade of experience behind the microphone.
Tom Phillips will become the new host of 205 Live and oversee special projects for WWE’s programming on Peacock and at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Phillips also remains in his role of Senior Manager, On Air Talent.
Samoa Joe remains part of the WWE talent roster.