Pat McAfee has cited WWE Hall of Famers Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as his influences on the commentary booth.
Appearing on Busted Open Radio Tuesday, McAfee revealed he studied film on the aforementioned legends before joining SmakDown as a color commentator.
“I would go back and watch some film before I got into Smackdown commentary on (Bobby) Heenan, on (Roddy) Piper when he was doing it, on the King (Jerry Lawler),” McAfee said. “I mean, there’s just a lot of things that I would listen to. Why are they saying what they’re saying? How are they saying what they’re saying? What are they trying to do with their words? Why are they trying to do that with their words, and now I have to do that in my way.
“So I feel like I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve gotten to see a lot of greats do their job, and I’m in there as well. The blueprint has kind of been laid.”
When asked to comment on his on-air chemistry with Michael Cole, McAfee credited Cole for giving him an opportunity on the NXT kickoff panel four years ago.
“We got to remember that Cole was the one that called me and gave me the kickoff panel opportunity for NXT, like four years ago,” McAfee said. “So Cole and I have known each other for four years at this point, whenever I get in there and get to do my job.
“People say, like, ‘Hey, you’re a natural,’ which I appreciate. I’ve been watching wrestling, listening to the commentators for like 25 years now at this point. So I don’t want to say that I was just able to drop in and just do it. I feel like I’ve been preparing for a lot of these things for a long time.
“I feel like I knew that it was inevitably going to come that I was going to be into the wrestling business. That’s why I bought a ring my second year in the NFL, and I have it. So I was very fortunate that I’m a communicator. My brain normally does pretty well with speaking, but also that I was such a big fan. I’ve watched it for so long.”
Pat McAfee will make his in-ring WrestleMania debut this Sunday against Austin Theory. He previously wrestled Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver XXX, and participated in a WarGames match at TakeOver: WarGames 2020.
H/T to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]