WWE Hires New Raw Lead Commentator Amid Recent Departure: Report
By Jason Hall
May 26, 2021
Wrestling News Observer's Dave Meltzer reports former MMA fighter and broadcaster Jimmy Smith will be taking over the RAW play-by-play role after WWE's announcement that it had "mutually agreed to part ways" with Virk, who was hired for the position last month.
Smith, 43, who previously worked as an analyst covering Bellator and UFC, is reported to have been working with WWE Vice President of Announcing and Friday Night SmackDown lead commentator Michael Cole in preparation for the role, according to Meltzer.
Smith has also appeared on WWE broadcast recently, initially appearing on the pre-show panel for NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.
On Tuesday (May 25), WWE announced it and Virk, a former ESPN and current MLB Network anchor, had "mutually agreed to part ways" in an article shared on its official website.
Virk made his WWE commentary debut on the RAW after WrestleMania37 last month month and served as the show's lead commentator for only seven episodes.
"WWE and Adnan Virk have mutually agreed to part ways. WWE thanks Adnan for his work," a statement on WWE.com reads.
Virk's brief time as RAW's play-by-play man was met with criticism from WWE fans as his name trended weekly on Twitter, which he acknowledged during an appearance on Sports Illustrated Media Podcast 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 said via Wrestling Inc. "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 [Graves] and Byron [Saxton] 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."
WWE has not released additional information on Virk's departure or a potential replacement as of Tuesday.
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