WWE’s commentary teams have undergone a major shift in recent weeks, with changes made across all three brands. With Wade Barrett moving to the SmackDown team alongside Michael Cole, Vic Joseph is now joined by Booker T in NXT. Former Raw commentator Jimmy Smith is gone from WWE entirely, and Raw is now helmed by Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves.
As announced at WWE Extreme Rules on October 8th, Michael Cole and Corey Graves will serve as the Premium Live Event commentary team going forward.
Booker T Criticized Jimmy Smith’s Comments After His WWE Departure
Jimmy Smith’s departure from the company came as somewhat of a shock to many, as his commentary was generally well-received. After leaving, he reflected on his role on Raw, explaining that there were certain things he wasn’t meant to acknowledge as he was more of a “character pretending to commentate” as compared to play-by-play work in other sports.
New NXT commentator and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T took exception to these comments, and on the most recent episode of his Hall of Fame Podcast, he explained that while he likes Smith, he found the comments to be out of line as they only serve to perpetuate the mainstream idea that wrestling is fake and not to be respected.
“Jimmy Smith has been making a few comments. So I definitely want to lean into that right there. I like Jimmy Smith first of all. I thought he was a good dude. I thought he did a good job especially picking it up and being able to go out there and deliver, being a guy who wasn’t from the wrestling business.
“But when I see his comments after leaving WWE, it just kind of disturbs me as far as letting guys like a Jimmy Smith into our business ever again because he came in to get paid to do a job, but then to leave the job and to want to disparage it is beyond me.”
“Jimmy Smith said he wasn’t paid to be a commentator, he was paid to play one on TV, which is true. But is that something you got to go out on your show and talk about? Is that something that people really need to know about? He wasn’t paid to commentate fights. He was paid to commentate fake wrestling matches.
“You know, when I hear people talk like that after they’ve gotten paid from this business, I think you should never let a guy like Jimmy Smith in the wrestling business or anyone like him ever again in our business because that’s exactly what they think of us.
“They think we’re just a bunch of fake guys and we’re out there just playing the game. I bet you any kind of money that check cashed and the dollars were real. I bet you that. I bet you that. I bet you that, and that’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day that you get paid well. Did they slight you on your money? Did anyone treat you differently or badly or in any way or anything like that?
“It just makes me wonder what kind of person you’re really dealing with sometimes, because I always thought Jimmy Smith was a pretty cool guy. But to hear that kind of talk, like I say, it bothers me because I love this business.
“I love what it has done for me and my family, and I love to watch these young guys get a chance to go out there and fulfill that dream that they probably had since they were little bitty kids, and that dream wasn’t to go out and be fake wrestler or anything like that. That dream was to go out there and perform in front of the world, in front of the greatest fans that ever lived, the WWE Universe. So it pisses me off a little bit hearing and stuff like that.”
“It just shows me the character more than anything. Do I have a problem with Jimmy Smith? Am I gonna run up on him or anything? No, but like I said, it’s just a shame more than anything because I thought Jimmy Smith was bigger than that more so than anything.”
Hours after announcing his departure from WWE, Jimmy Smith received an offer from an adult website to do play-by-play for a very different form of entertainment.