Backstage News on WWE Commentary Changes

Backstage News on WWE Commentary Changes

WWE announced significant commentary team changes this week across all brands, and now Fightful Select reports that the changes have been in the works for a while.

It was announced several weeks back that Pat McAfee would be taking time off from SmackDown to host ESPN’s College GameDay on Saturday mornings. With the temporary loss of McAfee, WWE officials were reportedly looking for a permanent replacement, and that’s when they decided to make some other moves.

WWE’s announcement issued earlier this week noted that McAfee will return to the commentary booth once his ESPN College GameDay commitments have wrapped for the season, but it wasn’t clear if he will return to SmackDown or not. This new report notes that WWE sources say they will still work with McAfee “whenever he is available and wants to,” and that he is incredibly well-liked within the company. McAfee signed a multi-year contract extension back in July.

WWE released Jimmy Smith and Nigel McGuinness this week in conjunction with the commentary team changes. Regarding Smith, word from within WWE is that most people felt like he acclimated well, considering he wasn’t a big pro wrestling guy heading into his gig with WWE.

While WWE released Smith and McGuinness, they re-hired Cathy Kelley. It was noted that she was highly-regarded by the new regime, and they sought her out for the return to the company.

The decision to move away from the three-person booth was made, and word is that any of the choices made could adjust based on the success of the teams, and that WWE officials are not expecting to “force chemistry” if things don’t work out.

WWE reportedly considered other names for the new commentary teams, and they looked at some reels from outside talents but there’s no word yet on who.

For those who missed it, the new WWE NXT team will feature Vic Joseph and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T at the announce table, with Alicia Taylor on ring announcing, and McKenzie Mitchell backstage. RAW will have Corey Graves and Kevin Patrick on commentary, with Kelley and Byron Saxton doing backstage interviews, and Mike Rome staying at ringside. SmackDown will see Wade Barrett join Michael Cole at the booth, with Samantha Irvin staying at ringside, and backstage interviews handled by Megan Morant and Kayla Braxton. Cole and Graves will continue to call Premium Live Events.

Backstage News on WWE Commentary Changes

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