But even without the low bar, the former Bellator announcer acquitted himself quite well in his debut last night (May 31). Ably assisted by Corey Graves & Byron Saxton, Smith smoothly sailed WWE’s Monday night flagship. His voice and delivery are pleasing to the ear. He knows how and when to convey excitement without calling too much attention to himself (if he’s taking notes, mine would be “say ‘oh my God’ less”). For his first night on the job, Smith demonstrated a good grasp of Raw’s characters & storylines, and even occasionally slipped in some insights from his background in non-scripted combat sports.
Without overshadowing his color men, Smith worked in a few clever one-liners along the way, too. My personal favorite was saying “ring ropes are like sidewalks” to Lucha House Party.
There’s a ceiling to how high any Vince McMahon/Kevin Dunn-produced announcer can reach in my estimation, and Smith is already pretty close to hitting it. Assuming he gets better and not worse (which isn’t a lock), he looks to be a really good addition to WWE television.
And don’t just take my word on it. Twitter agrees... and we all know it’s never wrong.
Post Wrestling’s John Pollock asked for feedback on the new voice of Raw, and got almost unanimous positive reviews:
He’s a natural. There were a few awkward transitions and moments where they weren’t sure who should talk as a team, but that chemistry will come with time. I love Jimmy, but was skeptical how he’d fit as the play by play guy. I’m not worried anymore. He’s the guy.— Trey Downey (@TDExperience) June 1, 2021
Seemed seamless out there, sounded like he was still a fan— Sam (@shaftjacksonkb) June 1, 2021
I thought he did a fantastic job as not only did a great job of calling the moves but he brought excitement as well just like McAfee does on SmackDown.— Trent Williams (@MTW3589) June 1, 2021
There’s more, much of it unsolicited to boot. In case you were worried the folks replying to Pollock are plants, these guys are clearly real pro wrestling fans:
Jimmy smith is killing it on commentary on raw right now! Now this show just needs better ongoing storylines and feuds and it can be great again! #WWERaw— KayyDubbz (@Kayy_Dubbz) June 1, 2021
Jimmy Smith is very good for his first time on Raw, but i do like when my play-by-play announcers are accustomed to wrestling and know the moves.— jerry joyless (@jerryjoyless_) June 1, 2021
I really really enjoy @ShutUpExcalibur keep up the great work
So we’re off to a good start. And Jimmy seems like he had fun, too.
See you next Monday, Jimmy! Possibly with a few fewer “oh my Gods”? And even if there’s the same amount, at least we won’t be hearing about boat tracks or whatever.