Backstage Update On WWE SmackDown Broadcast Team

It was revealed last night on "WWE Raw" that Michael Cole and Pat McAfee will be the commentary team on Monday nights going forward, with the former NFL player replacing Wade Barrett. According to PWInsider, Barrett will now move to "WWE SmackDown" and work alongside Corey Graves. It's said that Graves will become the lead play-by-play announcer for the show, while Barrett will be the color commentator. 

The changes have been made following the release of former "SmackDown" lead announcer Kevin Patrick last week. Patrick initially joined WWE as a backstage correspondent, but later moved to the announce booth, calling "Raw" and later "SmackDown." However, the Irish-born commentator had been under the microscope as the lead announcer on "SmackDown," with WWE reportedly deciding it "just wasn't working out" for him. Despite being assigned the role of leading the commentary team on "SmackDown," there were some behind the curtain who allegedly believed that Patrick wasn't suited for the role.

Meanwhile, Cole and McAfee are reunited behind the desk after appearing together on "SmackDown" between 2021 and 2022. In a past interview, Cole mentioned working with McAfee had reinvigorated his love for the business. McAfee returned to WWE this past Saturday at the Royal Rumble, joining Cole and Graves at the commentary table. He also briefly entered the men's Royal Rumble match as entrant #22. For Barrett and Graves, it will be the first time the duo has worked together at the announce desk in WWE. Barrett previously worked as a color commentator with Cole and Patrick, respectively, on WWE's main roster.