Pat McAfee is back!
The 2023 Royal Rumble opened with the men’s Royal Rumble match, but the first surprise of the show happened before the match even started.
Just as the show went on the air Pat McAfee was announced to the ring to the delight of Michael Cole, and the pure disgust of Corey Graves. The former NFL star faked shaking Graves’ hand before almost falling off his chair as he stood to celebrate his own arrival.
Pat McAfee Returns From NFL Duty
On September 7th it was announced that Pat McAfee had landed a new gig as part of ESPN’s ‘College Gameday’ team. The announcer has also agreed to do alternative broadcasts for select college football games on ESPN 2.
Following the news, it was confirmed that as a result, McAfee would be taking a break from the SmackDown announce desk to focus on his new role.
McAfee was initially replaced by Corey Graves before WWE made a number of changes to their commentary teams a month later. As part of the re-shuffle, Wade Barrett joined Michael Cole on SmackDown, Booker T moved to NXT alongside Vic Joseph and the Raw Commentary returned to being a two-person booth. Jimmy Smith left the company with Kevin Patrick joining Graves calling the action.
Following his retirement from the NFL, McAfee also began dipping his toes into the crazy world of WWE in 2018. This eventually led to him competing in the ring and becoming an on-screen personality. On April 16th, 2021 McAfee became colour commentator for Friday Night SmackDown alongside Michael Cole.
It is unclear whether McAfee’s return is merely a fleeting visit or a full-time comeback.