WWE has confirmed several changes to their weekly programming announce booths, beginning with the 7 October season premiere of Friday Night SmackDown!
A major shakeup has been confirmed for WWE commentary, effective immediately.
As was first confirmed by Variety and first teased by WrestleVotes, Raw, SmackDown, NXT, and premium live events will each have new announce teams moving forward. Perhaps the biggest shocks are the departure of Jimmy Smith, and the return of both Booker T and Cathy Kelly. Smith himself confirmed the news via Twitter.
On Monday Night Raw, Corey Graves remains in the announce booth, joined by WWE Main Event play-by-play commentator and Raw Talk host Kevin Patrick. They’ll be joined by Mike Rome as the ring announcer, and Byron Saxton and Cathy Kelly, in her first WWE gig since departing the company in 2020, conducting backstage interviews.
Michael Cole will stay on Friday Night SmackDown, joined by Wade Barrett as he continues an already esteemed commentary career he started in NXT. Samantha Irvin will serve as the ring announcer, with both Kayla Braxton and Megan Morant providing coverage from backstage.
As for NXT, Vic Joseph is due to be joined by two-time WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. Alicia Taylor will ring announce and McKenzie Mitchell will be on hand for backstage interiews.
It’s also noted that Corey Graves and Michael Cole will represent their respective brands when they join together to announce premium live events. A WWE-issued statement confirmed that Cole’s old SmackDown colleague Pat McAfee will return to WWE broadcasts upon the completion of his ESPN College GameDay commitments.
The changes in WWE commentary will commence for SmackDown on the 7 October season premiere, with Raw following suit for the first show post-Extreme Rules on Monday, 10 October. NXT, meanwhile, will be commentated by Vic and Booker for the first time with its 11 October transmission.