Pat McAfee Reveals He & WWE Originally Wanted Him To Be In The Royal Rumble Match

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This past Saturday saw the return of Smackdown commentator Pat McAfee, who surprisingly joined Michael Cole and Corey Graves at the start of the Royal Rumble premium live event in San Antonio, Texas. McAfee had stepped away from the Smackdown commentary desk in September 2022 to take part in a big opportunity that came his way; becoming part of the ESPN COLLEGE Gameday team

Speaking about his return on the Pat McAfee Show, Pat explained the original plans for his awaited return, noting that he didn’t feel as though he had time to get into shape to physically compete in the Royal Rumble match itself.

“There was speculation, a lot of people talking about it, a lot of people thought I was going to be in the Royal Rumble, a lot of people thought I was going to be there. That was not figured out until late last week. That came together pretty quick. Not that there was any bad relations, it’s just my schedule for the last five months, and everyone’s schedule, especially in the WWE, my wife is pregnant, there was no bad beef or anything, it was just, ‘I don’t want to have to train enough to get into the Royal Rumble,”

-Pat McAfee

Continuing, Pat further explaining his reasoning behind not being in the Royal Rumble match itself, highlighting that he didn’t want to do a disservice to the match due to him not being able to get into in-ring shape in time.

“They said immediately (after I left), Hunter, Stephanie, and Nick, ‘Rumble is like the perfect time to comeback,’ because that’s when people comeback and it’s after college football season. I was like, ‘perfect.’ I need something to keep me in shape. I get fat and I need something to keep working out for. I tried. Everybody saw me, I was getting after it. By week nine….I think I could have (done a couple minutes in the Rumble), but I don’t want to disrespect anybody. There were only 29 guys who came out because where the fuck was Rey Mysterio? Is he okay? There are only so many spots and there is a lot of danger and shit that can happen. I told them, maybe week 13 or 14 of the season, ‘Hey, want to let you know, the season has been a grind with Gameday being an extra work day, I’m not going to be able to be in good enough shape for Rumble. I don’t want to disrespect Royal Rumble. I’m just letting you know where I’m at right now. I’m not waking up an extra hour or stay up an extra hour to get in shape or whatever is needed.’ It’s one of those combos. ‘We’ll chat later, all good.’ It was the goal, Royal Rumble was the goal, I wasn’t able to keep up with it because Gameday getting dropped in and what that schedule became,”

-Pat McAfee

Pat then commented on being able to surprise Michael Cole and Corey Graves by joining them at announce desk; and how it almost didn’t come to be.

“I landed 28 minutes before I was seen at the Rumble because of the plane delay,”

-Pat McAfee

The former football punter also revealed that he only had time to see Triple H, Kevin Dunn, and a couple of his peers before he went out for his return, further emphasising the race against time he had to make it to the show.

No matter the circumstances, it was great to see Pat back at the commentary table this Saturday. At this point, it isn’t known if he’ll be returning to the desk full-time, however, we’ll aim to provide any further updates on McAfee’s status with WWE as soon as we hear more.

H/T to Fightful for the transcription

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