Cathy Kelley Returning to WWE, Monday Night Raw Lead Announcer Leaving

World Wrestling Entertainment's broadcast team is undergoing significant changes. It was announced earlier today that former WWE Intercontinental Champion and NXT color commentary Wade Barrett will be moving to SmackDown to call the action alongside Michael Cole. Barrett is likely a temporary replacement for regular blue brand color man Pat McAfee, who is currently on a leave of absence as he works ESPN's College Gameday. Over on Monday Night Raw, former backstage interviewer Kevin Patrick will be paired with Corey Graves at the announce table. Down at the WWE Performance Center in Florida, Vic Joseph will now be joined by Booker T for NXT commentary.

The changes go beyond the announce table too. SmackDown will be home to backstage interview talent Kayla Braxton and Megan Morant, NXT to McKenzie Mitchell, and Raw to Byron Saxton and the returning Cathy Kelley.

Kelley worked with WWE from 2016 until 2020, primarily operating with the NXT brand. She first debuted at NXT Takeover: Dallas in that event's pre-show, and went on to lead WWE Now, a short-form social media show that recapped WWE shows and news. 

The shake-ups also mean the departure of a main roster announce team staple. Jimmy Smith took to Twitter to reveal that his time with WWE is "officially done." Smith joined WWE in May 2021, serving as the voice of Raw, and called the action on Monday nights for well over a year. 

"Just wanted to say, now that the story is officially out, that my time with the WWE is officially done. Had a lot of fun and met some great people," Smith wrote. "Really and truly blown away by the acceptance from the WWE fans! You folks make it work every week and your enthusiasm was amazing!"


Smith's departure and Patrick's promotion mark WWE's sixth different play-by-play man for Monday Night Raw in the past three years. Cole regularly worked Mondays until he was moved to SmackDown alongside the blue brand's shift to FOX. Joseph had a short run on Raw but was replaced by Tom Phillips just months later. Phillips would be released by WWE in May 2021 and replaced by baseball broadcaster Adnan Virk, who only lasted six weeks in WWE before mutually exiting the company.

These changes will go into effect this Friday and next Monday, on the "season premieres" of SmackDown and Raw, respectively.