The WWE is shuffling its announcing teams for its two biggest programs, with the most noticeable change seeing Jerry "The King" Lawler making the permanent move from Raw to SmackDown.
News of the change was announced on WWE's official website:
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.
Lawler, owner of one of the most famous voices in WWE history, is a longtime fixture of Raw. John Layfield talked about the change:
While it will be a little surreal to have Raw permanently without The King, the move to SmackDown, which is an hour shorter, may allow him to better focus on his health. He suffered a heart attack in 2012 and most recently missed an episode of Raw when he was hospitalized with diverticulitis, per The Washington Post's Marissa Payne.
Booker T, a Hall of Famer in his own right, has been announcing since 2011, working on SmackDown, the WWE Network and pay-per-view kickoff shows.
It will be interesting to see how the new teams work together, as chemistry between announcers can often play a crucial role in how a show plays out. The changes will take place when SmackDown moves from Friday to Thursday nights, starting Jan. 15.