WWE has issued a statement on changes to the Raw and SmackDown commentary teams ahead of what is being called “Premiere Week.”
The Raw commentary team starting on this Monday’s season premiere broadcast will be Vic Joseph doing play-by-play with Dio Maddin and Jerry “The King” Lawler serving as analysts. Joseph filled in on Raw’s commentary team on August 19 after The Fiend attacked Jerry Lawler. Lawler previously served as the full-time Raw color commentator for 19 years.
Friday Night SmackDown on October 4 will have Michael Cole doing play-by-play with Corey Graves serving as an analyst. Renee Young is being listed as a special contributor for the show.
NXT’s commentary team will remain Mauro Ranallo doing play-by-play with Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix serving as analysts.
WWE is touting that there will be 8 hours of primetime coverage next week with Raw, NXT, the premiere of Total Divas on E!, and the debut of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX. Here is the full list of events scheduled for “Premiere Week”:
Monday, September 30
The season premiere of Monday Night Raw airs at 8/7 C on USA Network as WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins defends his title against Rey Mysterio; The Miz hosts WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair on a special edition of Miz TV; Brock Lesnar makes a special appearance; AJ Styles defends his United States Title vs. Cedric Alexander; and Alexa Bliss takes on Sasha Banks.
Wednesday, October 2
NXT will make its two-hour live premiere this Wednesday, October 2, on USA Network at 8/7 C, as The Undisputed ERA defend their golden prophecy and the NXT Tag Team Championships in a match against the Street Profits. Also, NXT Champion Adam Cole defends his title against Matt Riddle; NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler takes on Candice LeRae; Johnny Gargano competes against Shane Thorne; and fans can witness “The Velveteen Dream Experience.”
Immediately following NXT, season nine of Total Divas will premiere on E! at 10/9 C. The hit series is back with a season more personal and action-packed than ever. WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey joins Natalya, Naomi and Nia Jax for the new season, which also includes returning cast member Carmella and newcomer Sonya Deville. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella will make guest appearances in the series as well.
Friday, October 4
SmackDown’s 20th anniversary will kick off the new era of Friday Night SmackDown’s highly-anticipated move to FOX broadcast network on Friday, October 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, when WWE Champion Kofi Kingston puts his title on the line against Brock Lesnar. The Four Horsewomen also square off as WWE Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair team up against WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks in tag team competition. Later Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon look to finally settle their ongoing dispute in a high-stakes Ladder Match with the loser forced to leave WWE.
Prior to the premiere, the Friday Night SmackDown Kickoff Show “blue carpet” special will air at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on FOX from the Staples Center, featuring celebrity, Superstar and Legend arrivals, as well as backstage access.