UPDATE: WWE has confirmed the changes to their commentary teams, and also includes a note that Pat McAfee will indeed “return to the WWE announce booth” when he is finished with ESPN’s College GameDay.
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WWE is hyping up its “season premiere” episodes of SmackDown and Raw that are scheduled for tomorrow night (Oct. 7) and next Monday (Oct. 10), respectively.
As it turns out, major changes are coming to the commentary teams for both shows, and also NXT. Variety just broke the news:
On “SmackDown,” Michael Cole and Wade Barrett will be the main commentators, with Barrett moving over from the “NXT” commentary team. Samantha Irvin will serve as the ring announcer, with Kayla Braxton and Megan Morant serving as backstage interviewers.
At “Monday Night Raw,” Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves will the commentary team. Patrick has worked as a backstage correspondent, a play-by-play commentator for “WWE Main Event,” and the host of “Raw Talk.” Mike Rome will be the ring announcer. Cathy Kelley and Byron Saxton will conduct onscreen interviews. Kelley is returning to WWE after leaving the company in 2020. Saxton has been working on the “Raw” commentary desk along with Graves and Jimmy Smith of late.
Vic Joseph and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T will be the commentators for “NXT” going forward. In addition to his stellar in-ring career, Booker has been on the commentary teams of “Raw” and “SmackDown” in the past in addition to working as a panelist on pay-per-view pre-shows. Alicia Taylor is the ring announcer and McKenzie Mitchell will continue as the backstage interviewer.
Finally, it’s stated that Michael Cole and Corey Graves will be the commentary team for “major live events,” which presumably means WWE’s monthly pay-per-view cards that the company now refers to as Premium Live Events.
Needless to say, this is a huge overhaul to the WWE commentary teams. Raw’s play-by-play man Jimmy Smith is out altogether, and Booker T is now joining the NXT crew. Wade Barrett will serve as Pat McAfee’s replacement on SmackDown. It will be interesting to see if McAfee comes back for his old spot after football season is over, or if he has too many other projects going on.
What do you think of the new WWE commentary teams, Cagesiders?