The WWE brand extension, which has seen superstars drafted to separate rosters, and Smackdown becoming a live show, has not just affected the in-ring talent. The commentary teams have also received a shake up in the wake of last night’s draft.
WWE.com has confirmed that Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler will no longer form part of the commentary teams, and has instead been moved to the pre-show panel, alongside fellow Hall of Famer Booker T. The other pre-show panel names have not yet been announced, leading to concern over the positions of Lita and Renee Young, the only two regular presenters not to have been given a confirmed role.
RAW will now be presented by the ever-present Michael Cole, alongside Byron Saxton, and NXT transfer Corey Graves. While Saxton has proved to be unpopular with fans, the addition of Corey Graves has been a hoped for addition for quite some time. With his extensive knowledge, and cutting wit, he’s sure to add real value to the commentary team.
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The brand new Smackdown Live, will feature Mauro Ranallo, with JBL and David Otunga. Mauro Ranallo is a confirmed fan favourite. His knowledge is encyclopaedic and he comes across as personable and witty, even in the face of the less serious commentary of his colleagues. While there were many calls for Ranallo and Graves to be teamed up, securing Ranallo for Smackdown Live is a great move for the new brand.
The shorter, round-up, shows, Main Event and Superstars will both have Tom Phillips as their lead presenter. David Otunga will join him for commentary on Main event, while Corey Graves will be his co-commentator on Superstars. As yet, there has been no word on the commentary team for NXT now Graves has moved on.
This is the birth of WWE’s new era, as we are constantly being told, and the shake-up of the commentary teams should help to ensure each program has a fresh feel going forward.
Who forms your ideal commentary team? Have your say in the comments below.