Adnan Virk and the WWE officially announced on Tuesday that the two parties had agreed to "mutually part ways" after his seven-week run as Monday Night Raw's play-by-play commentator. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer then reported on Wednesday that former UFC commentator Jimmy Smith would be taking over the role, writing, "Smith, 43, best known for his 2010 to 2017 run with Bellator, has been working with Michael Cole and WWE staff of late to train for a possible announcing role. According to sources within the company, Cole has praised him heavily and found him to be very versatile."
WWE then released an announcement officially confirming Smith will be joining Corey Graves and Byron Saxton on the commentary desk beginning next week. The Memorial Day episode of Raw will be headlined by a WWE Championship No. 1 contender's match between Drew McIntyre and Kofi Kingston.
"WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that Jimmy Smith will debut as the play-by-play voice for Monday Night Raw starting this Monday, May 31 at 8/7c on USA Network. Recently, Smith served as an analyst for NXT, where he hosted NXT TakeOver pre-show panels and worked on special projects for the black and gold brand. He is also the daily host of SiriusXM's Unlocking the Cage and was the host of American Ninja Warrior on G4. Smith will be joined at ringside for every Monday Night Raw by analysts Corey Graves and Byron Saxton."
Virk's performance as Raw's commentator was swiftly met with mixed reactions on social media. The MLB Network anchor talked about that in interviews late last month.
"One of the great pieces of advice Michael Cole said to me, 'Listen, whatever you do, please don't check social media.' I nodded," Virk told the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. "He goes, 'I'm serious about this because no one listens, and then they check it.' And either way it's not good. If they say you're great, well, that doesn't matter. If they say you're awful, that also doesn't matter. One man's opinion doesn't matter so don't lose sight of that. What was funny is this. I get home, and I took Michael's advice to heart. And I'm talking my wife. She's goes, 'How'd it go?' I thought I did alright. I made some mistakes. There's some stuff I'd like to get back, but Corey and Byron were great. I think I'll get better. I thought this was good, and I'll only get better by watching it. So I re-watched the whole show. I watched it start to finish. I haven't yet for the second one, but I will just. I go, okay, that was better than I thought. It was worse than I thought, and I think whenever you make a mistake — you'd like to make zero mistakes.
"You want to bat 1,000, but if you make a mistake, don't make the same mistake twice, just learn from it," he added. "My wife starts saying, 'Oh, this person tweeted this. No, I don't want to know this. Why would you tell me this? I called my parents Jimmy. 'How'd it go?' Same thing, some good, some bad. 'Yeah, your dad was checking Twitter,' and I go, for god's sakes. It's amazing to me that when people are looking for feedback, social media, as you and I both know, it's generally a place where people are spewing vitriol."1comments