Pat McAfee details his crazy Friday.
Due to travel woes in Saudi Arabia, big changes were made to WWE Friday Night SmackDown on Nov. 1. The show was highlighted by the NXT invasion, setting up WWE Survivor Series. With Michael Cole and Corey Graves unable to make the show, WWE turned to Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Pat McAfee for commentary.
Speaking on his DAZN show, McAfee revealed how things came together for him.
"I get a text from Triple H. 'You home?' I had heard the news with what happened with their planes breaking down in Saudi Arabia and all of the talent, commentators, and producers being stuck in the Middle East due to a plane malfunction. I look at it and go, 'Oh damn. Yes, I am home.' I get a phone call immediately and he goes, 'Hey, have you heard about what happened?' 'I absolutely have.' He said, 'I haven't pitched this to Vince McMahon yet, but if you were to come in and do some commentary and do your thing, would you be up for it? Can you get to Buffalo?' I said, 'ABSOLUTELY!' He said, 'I'll get back to you.'"
He continued, "I have no way of getting to Buffalo. I have a plane taking me to Memphis, but that plane was in Florida because I last-minute scheduled it to get to Memphis because I didn't know I was going to be on College Gameday. I text [the plane company] and said, 'Can you guys get me to Buffalo?' They go, 'No way. Plane is in Florida.' I call another plane company. I looked at commercial flights. Is there any plane that can get me from Indianapolois to Buffalo for SmackDown, Fox debut, lifelong dream event? No."
Unable to secure a flight through a company or commercially, McAfee called in a favor from his former employer.
"I went deep into the playbook and threw a Hail Mary to Pete Ward, the COO of the Indianapolis Colts. I go, 'Pete, I would never ask for anything.' I told him the whole story. At this point, I did not know if it was 100% that [I would be calling SmackDown]. I go, 'Is there any way (Colts owner) Jim Irsay would lend me a plane to get there?' He calls me back and goes, 'Jim says pack your bags, brother. You got a plane.' I get a text from Hunter and he goes, 'Let's go,'" he recalled.
McAfee praised Irsay for lending him his private plane, which was stacked with steaks and DirecTV. Once he got to the arena, McAfee still didn't know quite what he was doing.
"I land an hour and 45 minutes before the show starts. Nobody there. Everybody is stuck in transit. I see [Triple H], he's talking to Brock Lesnar. I go over to Brock, shake his [hand]. I go, 'Nice to meet you, sir. You're a legend.' He goes, 'You too.' I talk to Mr. H and go, 'What's the plan?' He goes, 'We got a good one for you.' An hour before the show, we go into Vince McMahon's office. I'm wearing a sleeveless hoodie and jorts. I had a sportcoat and button down, just in case what happened at WrestleMania happens here."
Fans may recall McAfee was scolded by Michael Cole for wearing shorts at WrestleMania 35. You can read about McAfee's WrestleMania 35 experience by clicking here.
McAfee ended by noting, "I had the time of my life out there. When I say I had a blast, I mean I had a blast! They let me do my thing. Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon were in my ear a couple of times. I think I heard them laugh once. It was a success."
Along with cheerleading NXT on commentary during the invasion, McAfee joined the group in the ring as part of the closing segment.
If you use any of the quotes above, please giving a h/t to Fightful for the transcription.