When Pat McAfee had to fill in on the SmackDown commentary booth alongside Tom Phillips and Renee Young on the Sep. 1, 2019 edition of the show as the rest of the roster was stuck in Saudi Arabia, no one probably thought that would only be the beginning of his time in the booth. On April 16, 2021, it had been announced that McAfee was joining the SmackDown commentary full time to be the counterpart to Michael Cole moving forward. A massive spot really, as McAfee was not only fresh off a run as a wrestler in NXT, but this was after all on FOX. McAfee’s skill was not something in question, but rather if he would be a good fit with Cole. After all, McAfee has shown to be an over-the-top personality. Mixing that with Cole was a potential “hit-or-miss” situation.
But as we sit here with Adnan Virk leaving Raw after just over a month of joining the company, we take an appreciation of great McAfee has been. Whether it has been in praise of “The Tribal Chief” or jumping out of his chair because something incredible happened inside the ring, he adds a new dimension to WWE’s commentary that they have not had it a very long time — purity.
The sheer pureness of Pat McAfee has been a sight to behold for fans. It almost feels like for the first time ever, it is a fan calling the show in front of them on television. People can connect with McAfee in a way that other commentators don’t necessarily give you in the past. Corey Graves and Byron Saxton for example, while both great, are two guys who came up as wrestlers and have been in the WWE umbrella of talent for years now. McAfee is an outside source jumping right in. Now sure, his time with WWE has not reached multiple years and he even has two matches under his belt, but there’s no doubt that this man is equipped for the job that he has been given.
On the most recent episode of SmackDown, McAfee’s excitement in the Intercontinental Championship Fatal Four Way even got Cole to his feet, showing that these two’s chemistry is only growing more. Fans can see it and hear it every Friday night. It’s almost as though Cole is refreshed with the likes of McAfee beside him as the former NFL All-Pro remains a loose cannon who will say anything that comes to mind. It’s a fan in the driver’s seat, making the product feel overall better and only enhancing the superior SmackDown show compared to Raw.
The reasoning behind McAfee’s addition to SmackDown is likely due to the eyeballs outside of the wrestling circles that he brings, however. The sports world was blown away by both of McAfee’s outings against Adam Cole and in WarGames. His consistent involvement on SmackDown now brings those who are a fan of his play and work outside of WWE to watching the WWE simply to see him. It’s a win-win for both as McAfee gives WWE freshness and new people watching while McAfee can show his wits and further his brand that much more.
Pat McAfee can hopefully continue in his role moving forward as part of the SmackDown commentary booth. As we have learned in recent years, the commentary teams have always been interchangeable and it has been a long time since they stayed intact for more than two years at most. McAfee is thriving in getting superstars over while giving his pureness each and every week. It’s a great thing for SmackDown and should remain that way for as long as he wants to be there.
More from LWOS Pro Wrestling
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.
Looking to talk wrestling, pro football, or any number of sports? Head on over to the LWOS Boards to engage in conversation with fellow fans!