WWE continues to reach outside the sport to bring some mainstream recognition to its broadcasts. (Attracting fans from other sports is surely a goal, as well.)
Shortly after adding Adnan Virk to the Monday Night Raw broadcast lineup, WWE is bringing Pat McAfee onto its Friday Night SmackDown team. The satellite radio personality, podcaster, sports analyst, and former NFL punter shared the news Friday morning and will begin his new gig right away with this week’s April 16 telecast on Fox.
“I’ve been fortunate to try a lot of cool professions but working for WWE was the one I looked forward to most,” McAfee said in WWE’s official announcement.
“I am incredibly honored and grateful for the chance to give back to the business that has given me and many others so much and having the opportunity to sit at the same table that legends have graced is truly a dream come true.”
Good morning beautiful people…
TONIGHT a dream comes true. Thank you all so so much for following along with this dumb ass life I’ve been incredibly fortunate to live.. I’m grateful for it all.
?? Let’s enjoy this thing
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 16, 2021
McAfee will work alongside veteran WWE announcer Michael Cole, also WWE’s vice president of announcing. (Have McAfee and Cole resolved their beef over McAfee wearing shorts at WrestleMania 35?) He replaces Corey Graves, who moved over to Raw to work with Virk and Byron Saxon.
This is the latest in some major shuffling WWE has done with its on-air broadcasters. Graves took the place of Samoa Joe, who was not only bumped from Raw but released from his wrestling contract on Thursday, along with nine other performers.
McAfee isn’t new to WWE broadcasting, having done commentary for SmackDown in November 2019. He’s also performed in the ring, wrestling Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver XXX last summer. McAfee also faced Cole as part of an eight-man steel cage match at NXT TakeOver: WarGames in December.
WWE Friday Night SmackDown airs on Fox at 8 p.m. ET. McAfee’s debut is headlined by SmackDown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode defending their titles against The Street Profits.