We’re just over a week from SmackDown making its FOX debut on October 4th, and today WWE announced their broadcast teams for the new lineup of shows.
In addition to SmackDown moving to Friday nights on FOX, WWE’s NXT developmental show is now on USA on Wednesday night, while Raw remains in its traditional Monday night slot. In addition to the network and timeslot shifting, WWE’s de facto #1 announce team will be moving from Raw to SmackDown, according to a company release.
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.
Cole and Graves moving to SmackDown does seemingly confirm that inasmuch as WWE will have a “flagship” show, it will be the one airing in network primetime.
New Announce Teams For RAW and SmackDown!
1) Vic Joseph and Dio Maddin gets the call up to Monday Nights
2)Phillips and Saxton are out (maybe 205 live or backstage stuff?)
3) Cole x Graves on SmackDown x FOX = "A-Show" pic.twitter.com/Y0KbXEbMKn
— Jeff (@JeffJSays) September 26, 2019
Of course, modern WWE has a roster deep enough to easily fill two weekly shows (plus NXT, which has probably been their best product over the last few years), so the notion of an A-show or a B-show isn’t quite what it was, say, fifteen years ago. The return of Jerry Lawler to the Raw booth is also interesting; Lawler handled those duties for years, even returning after suffering a heart attack on the air in 2012.
Renee Young being listed as a special contributor for SmackDown makes a lot of sense, too, as today she was officially named a host of WWE BACKSTAGE, the upcoming FS1 studio show that we’ve known about for months now. Young was floated as likely earlier this summer, and she always made sense considering her variety of hosting duties for WWE, including WWE Network’s foray into studio programming, Talking Smack. WWE BACKSTAGE will air Tuesday nights at 11 PM Eastern, with Young hosting alongside WWE Hall of Famer Booker T.
Via Fox Sports:
The hour-long weekly show offers viewers the latest WWE news every Tuesday at 11:00 PM ET/8:00 PM PT, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 5 on FS1.
Longtime WWE broadcaster Renee Young and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T weigh in on the biggest stories in WWE, and are joined by a rotating cast of guests and personalities, including current and former WWE Superstars.
Ahead of WWE BACKSTAGE’s Nov. 5 debut, FOX Sports offers a special preview of the show on Tuesday, Oct. 15, following the conclusion of the ALCS Game 3 on FS1. Young and Booker T are joined by special guests to reveal the WWE BACKSTAGE set at the FOX Studios Lot in Los Angeles, and to break in their brand-new ring.
Of course, all of this is kind of pointless if the on-screen product doesn’t improve. There have been some promising signs in recent weeks, though, and hopefully the move to network television is a catalyst for good.