Pat McAfee On Interviewing Vince McMahon: He's Human, You Have To Talk To Him Like He's Human

Ahead of WrestleMania 38, Vince McMahon appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" for a rare interview.

The interview went nearly 90 minutes as McMahon covered some highlights of his career and booked McAfee in a match for WrestleMania 38. McAfee was working as an announcer for WWE SmackDown at the time.

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Speaking to Jimmy Traina on the SI Media Podcast, McAfee was asked if he was nervous to interview McMahon.

"No. When I was doing SmackDown, I started learning the business a little more. Obviously, as a fan my entire life, I understood and thought I knew what was going on, but once you start meeting people and kind of learn about people and the process of it all, I'm genuinely a curious person too, so I would just go ask Vince questions. 'Why do you guys do it this way? Why do you do this?' I feel like he's naturally a teacher. I feel if people approach him and ask him questions, he wants to tell people why he did what he did. The way he goes about telling people, we've all seen, certainly an interesting thing and he's certainly made mistakes as a human, I think he would recognize that and we all recognize that," McAfee said.

McMahon retired as WWE CEO months after the interview after the Wall Street Journal reported on his alleged sexual misconduct and hush money allegations.

McAfee continued, "Whenever you're talking about business acumen in American business humans in history, one of the best feels for business and what the future looks like. I just started asking him questions and I think he respected the questions I was asking because a lot of questions I was asking was for my own business, my own show, he knew about that. I'd ask him stuff about things we were thinking about doing with partners and sponsors and exclusivities and it would like take him back to 20 or 25 years ago. We, naturally, built up a little bit of a conversation almost every single week at SmackDown because I'd be going through a lot with my show, and at the same time, my SmackDown thing is growing, and there are two different silos. My show is sports, football, wrestling, but kind of similar because they're both entertainment, but it wasn't a lot of crossover. Some of our people won't ever watch wrestling, some of the wrestling people came over, but it was certainly two different real worlds that were happening."

Discussing his relationship and interviewing style in regard to McMahon and others, McAfee said, "I just started asking questions about decisions I would have to make. I think he appreciated it, I think he respected the questions I was asking, and anytime you talk to anybody, I learned this with Peyton, I was very lucky to be teammates with Peyton Manning. These are humans, at the end of the day. You have to talk to them like they're humans. Soon as you start treating them like they're not humans, they're going to not act like humans. If you get showed up in front of somebody, they're going to immediately shut down and not really talk to you. If you talk to people like they're humans, they appreciate that. Him blessing us, he flew in for that. Didn't know if it was going to happen. It was reported, it was talked about, day of though, before we went live, did not get a confirmation. I just assume he's coming. Then we get a text, '30 minutes out, 15 minutes out.' Plane, SUV, all by himself, no security, walks right in, sits down, does an hour and 15, hour and a half, comes out, takes a picture, says thank you to everyone, back on the plane, back home, probably had another 12 hour day after that. I was pumped more than nervous. I knew that he doesn't talk to a lot of people. I, being a wrestling fan for a long time, have obviously followed his trajectory business-wise on top of everything else. I felt pumped for the opportunity, for sure."

The standalone interview McAfee did with McMahon has over two million views on YouTube. McAfee defeated Austin Theory at WrestleMania 38, but was then defeated by McMahon.

It is unknown when McAfee will return to WWE. He left his position as an announcer in the fall of 2022 to take a gig with ESPN College Gameday. McAfee recently signed a deal with ESPN to bring his show to the network.

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