For SmackDown, Pat McAfee’s absence necessitated the transfer of Corey Graves from Raw.
At the top of the show, Michael Cole enthusiastically greeted his old commentary partner Graves’ return to the blue brand business, and the two quickly fell into a groove; Graves isn’t as high-energy as McAfee, but he has great chemistry with Cole.
It seems likely that this duo will serve as SmackDown’s mainstay for the foreseeable future. There was a big question mark over the chair next to MC, even though Pat’s new job with ESPN made it impossible for him to work on WWE shows. Booker T included himself in the photo to promote his comeback.
Corey will host Raw on Monday with Jimmy Smith and Byron Saxton and then work Fridays as well. After weighing all the options, Graves was the most obvious choice. Cole feels at ease with him and is probably excited to see what they accomplish without Vince McMahon barking orders into their headsets.
Since Triple H has taken over, SmackDown’s commentary has kept the same laid-back vibe that viewers have come to expect.