On this week’s Monday Night Raw on January 5th, 2014, viewers were surprised to see Booker T replacing Jerry “The King” Lawler as one of the announcers during the show.

Starting Monday January 12th, the announce teams for both Raw and Smackdown will change. For Monday Night Raw it will be John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL for short), Michael Cole, and Booker T. Smackdown will see Michael Cole, Bryon Saxton, and Jerry Lawler. WWE removed Tom Phillips from the Smackdown announce team.

Pay-per-view events will continue to see JBL, Michael Cole, and The King.

One of the reported reasons for the change is part of the plan to overhaul Smackdown, which will now be on Thursdays at 8PM on SyFy, instead of Friday at 8PM. WWE changed both announce teams to make a change from the norm.

Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer stated “They wanted to get rid of Lawler on Raw for a long time, but after the heart attack, they figured they couldn’t. This relaunch of Smackdown gave them the chance.” Jerry Lawler hasn’t been having the best luck lately. Lawler was released from the Methodist North Hospital in Memphis on January 5th following is hospitalization on New Year’s Even with a case of diverticulitis. He is reported as doing a lot better now and will be resuming announcing duties on next week’s Smackdown.

Here is WWE’s official news statement:

As SmackDown prepares to move to Thursday nights next week on Syfy, WWE Universe members will be seeing some new faces behind both the Raw and SmackDown announce desks.

Starting Monday on Raw, Michael Cole and JBL will be joined each week by WWE Hall of Famer Booker T, while the new SmackDown announce team will consist of Cole, newcomer Byron Saxton and incomparable WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler. Cole, JBL and Lawler will continue to provide commentary during WWE pay-per-view events.

Check out both of these announce teams in action on Raw, Monday night at 8/7 CT on USA Network, and SmackDown on its new night, Thursday at 8/7 CT on Syfy!

Photo Credit: Mike Kalasnik

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