Pat McAfee got to live out a dream at NXT TakeOver XXX when he stepped in the ring with Adam Cole.
The match was widely criticized when it was announced as Cole was coming off his historical NXT Championship reign and a bout against McAfee was viewed as nothing more than a publicity grab. But McAfee proved his worth in the ring, turning in one of the best performances of the weekend against Cole.
Speaking on his show, McAfee reflected on NXT TakeOver.
"When you wrestle on TakeOver, it's the best wrestling show, so I understood there was going to be a massive amount of pressure and hype. I made a couple mistakes in there, and I lost. I made a lot of mistakes in there. Shouldn't have kicked the steel steps. Watching it back, he obviously baited me. I blew his mind, obviously. Backflip, leap up, superplex, which I was JACKED UP about because those were things that, as a kid watching wrestling, I would see people do and think, 'that looked awesome.' I've always been a good flipper on the trampoline. He pushed me, backflipped on him, jumped up, didn't know if I could get up there. Had no idea. I had done it in my ring but when I got into [the NXT] ring, I felt like it was a little higher. Getting up there, I think he had his mind blown. Couple of other mistakes, shouldn't have gone up late to the top rope for the double axe handle, I realized when I got up there, 'nothing I can do.' Then, he kicked me in the face. Couple of mistakes, more than a few, I ended up with the loss. But what a bucket list item to say 'I got a chance to do something I always thought I was supposed to do.' I enjoyed the living hell out of it. A win is a lot better. Aside from this loss, I'm still undefeated," he said.
When discussing the reaction to the match when it was booked, McAfee said, "I saw a lot of people, as soon as Mr. H made this match at TakeOver, a lot of people just started burying it. I was getting buried by people and I thought I was part of their community. I follow all the dirt sheets and I'm just watching all these people bury me. I'm just like, 'You guys have no idea.' The cliche is that punters and kickers are not very athletic, but if you watch half a game of my career, I think I'm a little different than a lot of people. I hoped that a lot of people got to see that. Although I wanted this to end quick, we had a hell of a show."
McAfee did admit that he was still sore following the bout and noted he was paying tribute to Jeff Hardy with the swanton dive during the match.
Later in the show, the question came up about whether McAfee would continue to pursue a career in wrestling. Triple H discussed the possibility during the NXT TakeOver XXX media call, saying McAfee told him a long time ago that he wanted to be a weapon for WWE.
McAfee said about his future, "It's a question I've been asking myself a lot since Saturday. I heard Mr. H said a lot of very nice things after and talked about a conversation he and I had a few years ago how I wanted to be a weapon for the WWE as a commentator and I thought as a wrestler. A lot has happened since that conversation. It's something I wondered [getting back in the ring] and I'm not 100% sure. It's one of those things where I am incredibly thankful that I got to do, but going forward, I'm like, am I a guy who can that? My schedule is insane. I didn't even want to think about it until [Sunday] because I'm focused on [the immediate] what's next. It seems like there is a conversation of me doing more and I am thankful for that."
Though many questioned the decision to have McAfee in the spot before TakeOver, his peers were believers after the match.
"A lot of my friends, who are wrestlers, I got a lot of texts and DMs from people who said, 'Thank you for what you did.' I've always been a fan of wrestling and whenever an outsider comes in, it always appears as if they gave zero effort in attempting to make the match how a wrestling match should look. I always said, if I got an opportunity to get in there, I was not going to disrespect the business," he said.
It is unknown if McAfee will return to the ring following his loss to Cole at TakeOver XXX.
You can view a full recap of the match and highlights by clicking here.
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