Photo credit: WWE.com
WWE reportedly released Kevin Patrick on Thursday following his stint as a play-by-play announcer on SmackDown.
According to PWInsider.com’s Mike Johnson, WWE parted ways with Patrick after deciding to remove him from SmackDown commentary earlier this week.
WWE hired Patrick in 2021 to work as a backstage interviewer. He was promoted to the position of Raw play-by-play announcer in October 2022 and was moved to SmackDown last year.
For a period of time, WWE had longtime lead play-by-play announcer Michael Cole pull double duty on Raw and SmackDown as a means of getting Patrick more comfortable with the role.
The SmackDown team was Patrick, Cole and Corey Graves, but WWE recently removed Cole from the equation and went back to a two-man booth with Patrick and Graves.
Per Johnson, Patrick was “liked personally” within WWE, but there was a feeling in the company that he “was not the right person” for play-by-play,
WWE has a couple of internal candidates to fill Patrick’s spot, or it could opt for another outside hire.
Perhaps the easiest short-term fix is for Cole to work both Raw and SmackDown as the play-by-play man until a full-time replacement is found.
According to PWInsider.com (h/t Steve Carrier of Ringside News), the plan for this week’s SmackDown is for Cole to fill in.
A longer-term in-house option for SmackDown is Vic Joseph, who is the longtime voice of NXT. Joseph also has experience on Raw, but it is unclear if WWE has anyone capable of replacing him alongside Booker T in NXT.
Aside from Cole and Joseph, WWE has cycled through play-by-play announcers in recent years with Tom Phillips, Adnan Virk, Jimmy Smith and Patrick all getting released from the company.
Some of them were outside hires, and while hiring from the outside would give WWE more options, there aren’t many who are cut out for life as a WWE announcer.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below.