Jimmy Smith Defends Corey Graves Against Fan Backlash

Jimmy Smith isn't quite so sure why one of his WWE colleagues receives so much flack.

Before the 5/16 episode of Monday Night Raw was set to air, WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out of the arena due to a reported issue with their creative for the show.


During the Raw and SmackDown episodes following Banks and Naomi's exit, which resulted in an indefinite suspension, commentators Michael Cole and Corey Graves both proclaimed that Banks and Naomi 'disappointed millions' due to their 'unprofessional' conduct.

The comments from Cole and Graves didn't sit well with the WWE universe, leading to severe backlash for Graves online, something that Graves' on-air partner Jimmy Smith didn't quite understand. Smith decided to address the topic on his Unlocking The Cage with Jimmy Smith Podcast, and says that Graves is simply the on-air mouthpiece during his job and says whatever is fed to him.

"Michael Cole and Corey Graves aren't making this stuff up," Smith noted. "People are getting mad at them like they're freestyling stuff, they're not. They're broadcasters, if Vince [McMahon] had said, 'Here, read this,' I would've done exactly what Michael Cole did. Vince could've said, 'Hey, Jimmy, I want you to read that,' and I would've went, 'Ah, okay! Sasha Banks and Naomi let us all down.' I would've read the same thing.


"It's this weird thing where like, in my sense, on Monday Night Raw, Corey Graves is getting all this sh*t. Corey Graves didn't make up that statement, he's a broadcaster and he was told to read it and he read it. So, I understand maybe the ire of the fans but the misdirection of that ire is weird. People getting upset at me or Corey Graves, you're just getting mad at the wrong people. I don't get that. Graves was told to say what he said and he said it."

Before signing with WWE in May 2021, Smith was a professional MMA fighter, compiling a 5-1 record before retiring in 2006 after a three-year career to accept a role to host the Discovery Channel's Fight Quest program. He stayed there for two seasons before getting an MMA play-by-play gig with M-1 Global.

Smith would then become the host of American Ninja Warrior before transitioning back to the MMA world and becoming the voice of Bellator MMA. The 44-year-old departed with Bellator after a seven-year stint with the company and signed with the UFC, but would leave after just one year with the Las Vegas-based promotion and would end his MMA commentating career with the all-women's Invicta FC promotion before signing with WWE.