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Veteran MMA announcer Jimmy Smith will take over as lead commentator for WWE Monday Night Raw beginning with the forthcoming Memorial Day episode on May 31. Smith replaces Adnan Virk, who had a run of seven weeks as lead announcer on Raw.
WWE and Virk both stated the parting was mutual, with Virk cited the travel involved in attending Raw each week as the impetus for leaving the job, although he seemed in over his head from the beginning according to most critics (something Sheamus even brought up on the air in a heel promo).
Smith was a commentator on the pre-show for WWE at NXT Takeover “Stand & Deliver” earlier htis year.
Smith is most known for his time as the play-by-play voice of Bellator FC, including calling the Eddie Alvarez-Michael Chandler rivalry. He hosts a show on Sirius XM, Unlocking the Cage, and hosted American Ninja Warrior on G4, according to the press release. WWE announced Smith’s hiring via press release this afternoon.
Corey Graves and Byron Saxton will continue to co-anchor the announce team with Smith.
(Hazelwood’s Analysis: Look, I said give Virk three to six months. Virk was still calling MLB games, so while we won’t get to give Virk a more holistic review, I am EXCITED for Smith. I know, I know, Vince McMahon will ruin him soon, but Smith is a fantastic announcer. I would recommend going on YouTube and watching those Alvarez-Chandler matches for his commentary. He has a different style than Mauro Ranallo, the last MMA announcer to make the jump to WWE, but it works just fine; it’s more of a reserved enthusiasm buoyed with incredible knowledge. Like I said with Virk, though, give Smith three to six months.)