This past Saturday’s WWE Royal Rumble 2023 event in San Antonio, Texas featured Pat McAfee making his surprise return to WWE’s commentary team.
In a recent episode of The Pat McAfee Show, co-host McAfee gave his thoughts about his recent return to WWE and the original plans for him at the event.
“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.
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.
I landed 28 minutes before I was seen at the Rumble because of the plane delay.”
One of the guests on the show was WWE commentator Michael Cole. Cole confirmed the recent reports about McAfee’s return appearance was kept as a big secret to almost everyone in the company.
“Honest to God truth. I usually know everything going on in our world today because of the position that I’m in. This is the first time in probably a decade that I legitimately was surprised at something that happened on the show.
I legit didn’t know if we would ever see you again in the WWE. We talked back in September and you’d be back after football season, a lot in your life has changed since then, a lot in our company has changed since then. I legit didn’t know if you were ever going to be back. If you notice, I haven’t said much to anyone publicly about when you were coming because no one knew. When I sat down that day, Corey (Graves) and I prepared as a two-man booth like we always do, and when the music hit, when I think of Pat McAfee, I think of the White Stripes. When the first couple of bars of the new song hit, I didn’t immediately recognize it. Then Hunter [Triple H] was in my ear, ‘Are you going to sell it?’ I mouthed to him in the spy cam, ‘Sell what?’ Then I looked up and saw your video board and I’m like, ‘You’re ribbing me.’ The music hit and you came out, I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t know if you were coming out to be an announcer or to be the number one entry in the Rumble because we were starting with the Rumble match. Then I saw you in your blazer and I was like, ‘He’s coming out to be an announcer.’ I was so excited.”
McAfee responded to Cole stating that only a handful of people knew of the plans for his return beforehand.
“I text Paul [Triple H] and Kevin (Dunn), ‘You fuckers. I can’t believe that you guys ribbed me.’ They just laughed.”