Pat McAfee loves pro wrestling, that much is clear. After wrapping up his successful eight-season run as the punter for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, he began to embrace his love of pro wrestling. Before sitting alongside Michael Cole on WWE’s most-watched weekly television show, Smackdown, he was doing pre-show analysis for WWE NXT. While in the role, he began to feud with now-AEW star Adam Cole, leading to his WWE in-ring debut at NXT Takeover XXX, which he won.
In the years since, not only has he risen to the role of main roster broadcaster, but also continued to deliver on occasional in-ring action. Including memorable WWE WrestleMania matches against Austin Theory, The Miz, and even Mr. McMahon, who he lost to. As one of WWE’s most popular performers, his absence has been noticeable on TV over the last several months.
“This is gonna sound like pandering or a cheap pop; it’s not, though,” he began in a social media video. “When I was in the NFL, I was envious of the people that could go do indie wrestling because I wasn’t allowed obviously under my NFL contract, and also I couldn’t jeopardize what was paying for me and my family and my friends to kind of have a much better life than what we grew up in.
“So, then I get an opportunity to wrestle and do the WWE life, and it was an honor and a dream. I had the time of my f-cking life in there; loved it every single moment, but now my business has gotten to a point, and we’re very lucky for this. I’m very lucky for this, I’m fortunate for this, we’ve worked our ass off, but I’m incredibly busy, and we got 15 employees over here that are having babies and building houses. So, it’s a tough thing to deal with mentally because emotionally I want to be there, but I just can’t timing-wise, but we will figure it out.”
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