UPDATED: WWE is shaking up their commentary teams, variety has learned exclusively.
Beginning with this week’s season premiere episode of “SmackDown,” the commentary team for the shows will be as follows:
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 be 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.
Smith will be exiting WWE. The commentator posted the following statement on Twitter, “Just wanted to say, now that the story is officially out, that my time with the WWE is officially done. Had a lot of fun and met some great people. Really and truly blown away by the acceptance from the WWE fans! You folks make it work every week and your enthusiasm was amazing!”
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.
For major live events, Cole and Graves will be the commentary team.
News of the shakeups comes after popular “SmackDown” commentator Pat McAffee announced in early September that he would be taking a temporary leave from WWE to work as an analyst on ESPN’s “College Gameday.” He is expected to return to WWE upon the conclusion of the college football season.
(Pictured, from left to right: Michael Cole, Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves, Wade Barrett)