Insight Into Pat McAfee's WWE Hiatus And When He Could Return

Michael Cole has been reenergized on commentary since his pairing with former NFL punter Pat McAfee. McAfee joined the "WWE SmackDown" commentary team in 2021. But in September, he would announce he'd be taking a hiatus from WWE to serve as an analyst for ESPN's "College GameDay." Recently, Cole appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" and revealed exactly how he found out about McAfee's decision while he was in Wales for WWE Clash At The Castle.


"Anyway I'm sitting at this pub in Cardiff, drinking a beer with my buddy ... and I get a text message," Cole said. "[I] thought it was Pat gonna tell me [to] have a good show. 'Hey I don't want you to hate me ..." So as soon as I got that, I decided I have to pick up the telephone. So anyway I called Pat and he gave me the news." Cole also just happened to receive this news not just drinking any beer, but The Cole Train — a special concoction that consists of a Pabst Blue Ribbon with a shot of Jack Daniels poured in. (Please don't try this at home.)

McAfee originally wanted to juggle both roles, but Cole and others advised that it would be better for his health to take a hiatus from WWE. In retrospect, McAfee agreed it was a good decision considering his various projects and the amount of traveling involved. Cole also recalled his initial reaction to his broadcast partner's news.


"When we had that phone call that night, I was incredibly excited for you," he said. "But I hung up that night, and it was like I got kicked in my gut because we had developed this amazing chemistry. But then I thought about it for a little bit and [my wife was] like, 'You're being incredibly selfish here to feel like that.' I'm like, 'Yeah, Pat's my buddy and he's a real close friend of mine, and this is incredible for him.'"

While there has been no official announcement as to when McAfee may return to broadcast action for WWE, his initial statement made it sound as if he'd be back as soon as his ESPN commitments were complete. The college football season wraps up with the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 9, 2023, so if McAfee's coming back to the "SmackDown" booth, it might be around that time it starts coming into range.