WWE has announced new commentary teams with some big changes for Raw and SmackDown.
According to WWE, the announce teams going forward are as follows:
RAW – Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin and Jerry Lawler
Friday Night SmackDown – Michael Cole and Corey Graves with Renee Young as a Special Contributor
WWE announced the following:
STAMFORD, Conn. – WWE Premiere Week ushers in an unprecedented era of coverage with special episodes of Monday Night Raw, NXT, Total Divas and the FOX debut of Friday Night SmackDown bringing fans eight hours of primetime programming.
As part of WWE Premiere Week, new voices will be brought to the Raw, NXT and SmackDown broadcasts. Raw’s new announce team will include play-by-play from Vic Joseph with Dio Maddin and WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler serving as analysts; NXT play-by-play will be called by Mauro Ranallo with Beth Phoenix and Nigel McGuiness as analysts; and SmackDown will feature Michael Cole handling play-by-play, Corey Graves serving as analyst and Renee Young as a Special Contributor.
Monday, September 30
The season premiere of Monday Night Raw airs at 8/7 C on USA Network as WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins defends his title against Rey Mysterio; The Miz hosts WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair on a special edition of Miz TV; Brock Lesnar makes a special appearance; AJ Styles defends his United States Title vs. Cedric Alexander; and Alexa Bliss takes on Sasha Banks.
Wednesday, October 2
NXT will make its two-hour live premiere this Wednesday, October 2, on USA Network at 8/7 C, as The Undisputed ERA defend their golden prophecy and the NXT Tag Team Championships in a match against the Street Profits. Also, NXT Champion Adam Cole defends his title against Matt Riddle; NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler takes on Candice LeRae; Johnny Gargano competes against Shane Thorne; and fans can witness “The Velveteen Dream Experience.”
Immediately following NXT, season nine of Total Divas will premiere on E! at 10/9 C. The hit series is back with a season more personal and action-packed than ever. WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey joins Natalya, Naomi and Nia Jax for the new season, which also includes returning cast member Carmella and newcomer Sonya Deville. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella will make guest appearances in the series as well.
Friday, October 4
SmackDown’s 20th anniversary will kick off the new era of Friday Night SmackDown’s highly-anticipated move to FOX broadcast network on Friday, October 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, when WWE Champion Kofi Kingston puts his title on the line against Brock Lesnar. The Four Horsewomen also square off as WWE Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair team up against WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks in tag team competition. Later Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon look to finally settle their ongoing dispute in a high-stakes Ladder Match with the loser forced to leave WWE.
Prior to the premiere, the Friday Night SmackDown Kickoff Show “blue carpet” special will air at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on FOX from the Staples Center, featuring celebrity, Superstar and Legend arrivals, as well as backstage access.
Michael Cole’s return to SmackDown marks the end of a long run on Raw for “The Voice of WWE.” He first joined the Raw commentary team in 2008 and has remained there since. Before that he was the lead play-by-play man on SmackDown for nearly ten years.
Maddin recently made his debut on commentary during a recent edition of 205 Live.
The NXT announce team will reportedly stay the same for now. No word at this point on where Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton will be utilized in the future.
Lawler will likely only be used for a short period of time on Raw. Other people are reportedly being looked at for the spot on a full-time basis. This could explain why Mickie James was featured on commentary this week during Main Event, but we’ve been unable to verify this.
As we previously reported, Renee Young will now be hosting WWE Backstage Tuesday nights on FS1. Young is reportedly thrilled by the move since hosting is her passion and now she gets to do it on a giant platform every week. She echoed this sentiment via Twitter by sharing the new show announcement and calling it a dream come true.
Source: Pro Wrestling Sheet