In a talk with the New York Post, WWE executive vice president for television and production Kevin Dunn peeled back the curtain on some of the additional changes you’ll be seeing tonight on SmackDown’s premiere on FOX. In addition to the changes seen on RAW, including the return of pyro and a new set, SmackDown will feature new camera angles, a new texture layered over the footage and a long lens used to shoot wrestlers entrances through the crowd. “It’s still gonna be WWE. It’s just gonna look and feel a little different.”
During matches, Dunn and FOX have agreed on utilizing a super-slow-motion camera that will give viewers a different way to take in their favorite finishers. FOX feels that WWE requires a “cinematic approach”, and that these changes will help get them towards that. Dunn says that the new camera work will also lend towards more of a sports feel. FOX Sports head of production and operations Brad Zager says that the network is “working close with WWE on just giving it that cinematic feel that wrestling can have” and “figuring out a new way of presenting that.”
One change you’ll notice as soon as SmackDown begins is the announcer shakeup. WWE has moved its RAW team to SmackDown, with Michael Cole and Corey Graves behind the desk calling the action. Renee Young, who was on commentary on RAW, will now be a “special contributor” in addition to her hosting duties on Fox Sports 1’s WWE Backstage alongside Booker T. Dunn had nothing but good things to say about Young when asked:
She’s gonna do everything there that’s not commentary. We love her and she’s [done] nothing but killed it from Day 1 in WWE.
SmackDown premieres tonight at 8 PM ET on FOX, featuring Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship and an appearance by The Rock. This week’s broadcast will be followed by the WWE Draft next week, which will iron out strict rosters for both RAW and SmackDown going forward.