WWE announcer backs ‘commentary God’ after major shakeup to broadcast teams

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 17: Joe Tessitore attends the 2022 ABC Disney Upfront at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on May 17, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/WireImage)
Joe Tessitore has signed with WWE (Picture: Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

Barrett has hailed Corey Graves a ‘commentary God’ after WWE confirmed more changes to its Raw and SmackDown announce teams with the arrival of Joe Tessitore.

The 53-year-old broadcaster, who will retain his roles on ESPN and ABC fronting college football and Top Rank Boxing, has been unveiled as the latest addition to the commentary teams.

He will be in charge of a three-man booth alongside colour commentators Wade Barrett and Corey Graves, but it’s not been specific whether or not that will be on Raw or SmackDown.

Addressing the news, Englishman Barrett said: ‘Welcome aboard, Joe! Can’t wait to tear it up with you & the commentary GOD @WWEGraves 🍻’

‘Whether it’s a world title fight that’s got the globe buzzing or a college football rivalry that’s grabbed the nation’s attention, Joe’s voice provides that big event feel each time he is behind the microphone,’ said WWE Chief Content Officer Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque.

‘We’re excited for Joe to join legendary WWE broadcaster Michael Cole and our esteemed announce team, bringing his signature energy and meticulous preparation to our WWE telecasts each week.’

WWE commentators Wade Barrett and Corey Graves on SmackDown
Tessitore will join Wade Barrett and Corey Graves (Picture: WWE)

Tessitore described the move as ‘an honour’, heaping praise on the company’s ‘undeniable’ success in recent years.

‘Being there at WrestleMania XL, one could feel it – from Cody, Seth, Roman and The Rock, to creative and production, these are some of the very best storytellers in TV,’ he added.

‘Corey and Wade are absolute stars and it is my privilege to join their team. Pat [McAfee] and [Michael] Cole are just magical together and Cole is the greatest to ever sit in that chair. As a lifelong viewer, I’m humbled to join this team and to serve our fans.’

Barrett and Graves have been calling the action with Graves stepping into a play-by-play role for the first time in his career.

WWE commentators Pat McAfee and Michael Cole
Pat McAfee and Michael Cole will remain together (Picture: WWE)

Barrett had previously sat alongside Michael Cole on Monday Night Raw, but in January the return of former NFL star Pat McAfee prompted another reshuffle at the desk.

In recent years, the likes of Kevin Patrick, Jimmy Smith and Byron Saxton have tried their hand at commentary.

Patrick and Smith, who both came into wrestling from the outside world, are no longer with the company, while former wrestler Saxton works as a backstage interviewer and broadcaster.

It’s said Cole and McAfee will remain together, while Tessitore has some backing behind him in the form of WWE president Nick Khan, having been the businessman’s first media client.

Legendary WWE commentator Michael Cole
Cole will continue to be the voice of WWE, but which shows everyone ends up on remains unclear (Picture: WWE)

According to the New York Post, he also has a ‘great relationship’ with WWE’s creative chief Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque.

He has experienced calling games for Monday Night Football and in the College Football Playoff, while the new appointment comes before all WWE programming moves to Netflix for UK viewers in January 2025.

In the United States, Raw will switch to the streaming platform at the same time, with SmackDown moving to USA Network and Netflix joining The CW.

However, it’s understood that Netflix will steadily become the worldwide home of WWE, as and when various media deals expire.

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