On Thursday, Jan. 15, one of WWE’s flagship programs, “Smackdown,” will move to Thursday evenings for the foreseeable future. This change will also be met with new commentary teams across the board for main WWE programming. A week before “Smackdown” makes the transition, Jan. 8, WWE announced new WWE commentary teams for both “Monday Night Raw” and “Smackdown.”
“Raw” will now feature the trio of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, and Booker T. This trio was featured on the Jan. 5 showing of the program due to Jerry “The King” Lawler being hospitalized with diverticulitis. Lawler will now be featured on “Smackdown,” alongside Cole and Bryan Saxton. Lawler and Saxton replace JBL and Tom Phillips, who had been calling “Smackdown” with Cole since August of 2014. On the other hand, Lawler, JBL, and Cole will continue to call WWE’s pay-per-view events.
Below is WWE’s announcement regarding the changes:
WWE® ANNOUNCES NEW BROADCAST TEAMS AS A PART OF SMACKDOWN®’S MOVE TO THURSDAY NIGHTS
“STAMFORD, CONN., January 8, 2015 – As part of WWE SmackDown’s move next week to Thursday nights at 8 PM on Syfy, WWE has announced changes to the broadcast teams for its flagship programs Monday Night Raw® and WWE SmackDown. Starting Monday, January 12, Michael Cole, Booker T® and John “Bradshaw” Layfield® will handle play-by-play and color commentary on Raw. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler® and Byron Saxton™ will be the hosts for SmackDown when it debuts next Thursday at 8 PM on Syfy.
The broadcast team for WWE pay-per-view events will continue to be Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler and John “Bradshaw” Layfield.
Michael Cole has been the voice of WWE for more than 15 years, calling all of the action on Raw, SmackDown and WWE pay-per-view events. Booker T is a WWE Hall of Famer, a multi-time World Heavyweight Champion, and recent panelist on the Raw pre-and-post shows on WWE Network. John “Bradshaw” Layfield is a former World Heavyweight Champion and a frequent guest contributor on the Fox News Channel. Jerry “The King” Lawler is a WWE Hall of Famer, and a mainstay at ringside, bringing his unique form of color commentary to WWE fans for more than 20 years. Byron Saxton is a former ECW® and NXT® broadcaster, and most recently was a reporter for Raw and SmackDown.”
It will be weird to see Lawler not on “Raw,” but Booker T is right up there with Vince McMahon as one of WWE’s greatest commentators. It’s also nice to see Saxton get a prominent commentator role, but it’s a shame that it also came with the removal of Tom Phillips.