Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton & Jerry Lawler were the commentary team for WWE Thursday Night SmackDown, until it was announced that the team would be replaced the week after the first broadcast of SmackDown Live by Mauro Ranallo, JBL & David Otunga on


Mauro Ranallo signed a contract to WWE on December 15, 2015, and made his WWE debut as the lead play-by-play commentator for the SmackDown broadcast team for its premiere on USA Network on January 7, 2016, thus being dubbed "The Voice of SmackDown". Following his debut, he was praised by fans and media outlets for bringing class and seriousness to his approach as play-by-play commentator.

In December 2015, Byron Saxton left the NXT announce team and rejoined the SmackDown announce team along with Mauro Ranallo and Jerry Lawler, replacing Booker T and Rich Brennan.

Jerry Lawler turned heel for the first time since 2000 on the January 7, 2016 episode of SmackDown when he started favoring heels again for the first time since he went from tweener to full face in 2005. However, as was the case with him as a heel before, he still did not condone certain heel actions.


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