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Pat McAfee joins the SmackDown announce team

When WWE reshuffled their Raw announce team after WrestleMania 37, we had questions. One of those was answered in a shocking way yesterday (April 15) with the release of Samoa Joe.

Another had to do with the second chair on Friday nights. With Corey Graves taking Joe’s spot on Raw, would he pull double duty and remain in color commentary on SmackDown?

The answer to that one came this morning.

Wrestling fans know Pat McAfee from his impressive run on NXT last year, which culminated in his working the main event of WarGames with Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch in a losing effort against Undisputed ERA. That was set-up by stints on TakeOver pre-shows, and a worked-shoot segment on McAfee’s popular radio/streaming sports talk show.

This is a good get for WWE, for all those reasons. The former NFL All-Pro is a rising star in the greater sports entertainment ecosystem, and can not only potentially bring fans of his show, but also serve as a hype man for WWE when he’s interacting with the “real” sports world for his full-time job.

His star is risiing because a whole lot of people (this writer among them) find him wildly entertaining. That, plus the fact he’s already established his credentials as a lifelong wrestling fan who is willing to put in the work to be an actual wrestler, gives him credibility with the dedicated WWE fanbase.

Here’s WWE’s announcement, with a quote from the man himself:


STAMFORD, Conn., April 16, 2021 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that Pat McAfee will debut as the new analyst for Friday Night SmackDown tonight at 8 pm ET live on FOX.

“For as long as I can remember WWE has been a company that I have admired, both for its incredible staying power of creating riveting entertainment and for its ability to connect people all over the globe,” said McAfee. “I’ve been fortunate to try a lot of cool professions but working for WWE was the one I looked forward to most. 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. Now let’s go get it.”

McAfee will be joined at ringside every week by Michael Cole, VP of WWE’s on air announce talent and voice of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX.

Known for his candid, relatable, and refreshing opinions, McAfee’s insight and sense of humor have built him a large, loyal and active fan base. In addition to being a philanthropist, social media influencer, stand-up comedian and former All-Pro punter for the Indianapolis Colts, McAfee is also the host of the #1 international daily streaming sports show The Pat McAfee Show, which is simulcast both on YouTube and on Sirius XM Channel 82 Mad Dog Sports Radio. Additionally, McAfee is the host of the popular podcast The Pat McAfee Show 2.0 and has performed both inside the ring and behind the microphone on WWE’s NXT®.

Thoughts on the move?

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