Reason Why Announcer Was Absent From WWE Raw

Backstage interviewer Kevin Patrick filled in for Jimmy Smith at the commentary booth for the 7/4 "WWE Raw" episode. Corey Graves would reveal during the live broadcast that Smith was away on vacation.

Patrick largely received positive reviews from fans for his debut as the play-by-play commentator.

Smith, previously a commentator for UFC and Bellator, replaced Adnan Virk as the Red Brand's lead announcer in May 2021. Initially, he received a lot of flak on social media for not knowing traditional pro wrestling terms, and for allegedly not following the WWE product. However, the criticism would gradually turn to praise, with many fans applauding Smith's commitment to the job. Earlier this year, Smith admitted that some of the positive feedback from fans caught him by surprise.

"The feedback from the fans and everyone within the WWE has been shockingly amazing," Smith told Busted Open Radio. "I was ready to really get sh*t on, but I didn't. But also, when I was doing color, a play-by-play guy who thinks he is color is the worst thing ever. I'm sitting there, 20 years in MMA and I'm like, 'you tell me how to defend the hold, yeah right?' I hated that, when there's a play-by-play who has to show off his knowledge, 'I know this, and I know that,' I don't do that.

"I let Corey do that, I let Byron do that, I let them be who they are. Corey is constantly crapping on me, it works out great, everyone is always crapping on Byron. I kind of manage the traffic and stay out of the way and let them be experts, man. That's literally how I see it."

Smith has also defended his broadcast colleagues on several occasions over the past year, especially when Graves came under fire for stating live on air that "Sasha Banks and Naomi disappointed millions due to their unprofessional conduct."

As of this writing, it's unknown if Smith would return to his duties by next week's "WWE Raw" episode.