After Tuesday night’s first live edition of SmackDown and its highly publicized WWE Draft were both put to bed, WWE.com announced yet another bit of major news: the announce teams for all four of their weekly television shows (yes, there are four) would be getting a thorough shake-up. Corey Graves is in, JBL is switching shows and Jerry Lawler, shockingly, is out.
The new announce teams for WWE’s New Era will feature Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton Monday nights on Raw, while Mauro Ranallo, JBL and David Otunga handle the commentary for SmackDown Live every Tuesday night.
Also receiving a makeover will be the announce teams for WWE Superstars and WWE Main Event. Both shows will be led by Tom Phillips, and he will be joined each and every week by Graves on WWE Superstars and Otunga on WWE Main Event.
No mention was made of WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jerry “The King” Lawler, who was pulled from television last month after being arrested on domestic violence charges. He was reinstated on July 1 after those charges were dropped and returned to SmackDown just two weeks ago. Now he’s gone again, without a whole lot of fanfare.
But fear not: there will still be a headwear-toting, belligerent old heel on SmackDown. It will just be JBL from now on. The new Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton is extremely interesting and it will be good to see whether Graves can remain the best color commentator in the business (non-Vampiro division) when he moves from NXT to the main roster.
The downside of this is that after NXT’s recent inexplicable purge of announcers, this means the NXT announce team going forward will be … uh … Tom Phillips and No Way Jose? Maybe we’ll get the return of William Regal and Jason Albert. Who even knows, man.