ARLINGTON, Texas – Pro Bowl punter. Podcast host extraordinaire. WWE star.
Pat McAfee, the boisterous former punter for the Indianapolis Colts, stepped into the ring during WrestleMania 38 at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.
And McAfee certainly made an entrance, coming through the tunnel surrounded by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
McAfee, a commentator for SmackDown, squared off against Austin Theory on the second night of WWE’s signature event, flashing the same athleticism that got him into the NFL.
The back-and-forth match had it all, with McAfee taking some punishment and dishing it out. He bounded off the top rope but failed to land the hit as Theory rolled out of the way. He hopped over his opponent after being thrown toward the corner and then landed a flying elbow.
“ATHLETE,” McAfee wrote in a tweet showcasing the highlight.
With Theory stunned near the ropes, McAfee sprinted toward the side and sent his opponent flying into the broadcast table. He put on a headset and joined the broadcasters live.
“Pat McAfee’s beating the hell out of Austin Theory,” he said of his own handiwork.
He slammed Theory’s head against the table five times and then tossed him back into the ring.
It looked like the match would end with McAfee performing a superplex off the top rope, flinging Theory onto the canvas. But Theory kicked out at the last second before the three count.
Theory had the momentum at the end of the match, holding McAfee on his shoulders. But McAfee surprised Theory with a reversal and pinned him to win the match, much to the chagrin of WWE chief Vince McMahon.
“THE DREAM HAS COME TRUE,” McAfee, a longtime wrestling fan, wrote of his victory on Twitter.
McMahon took off his suit and tie to confront McAfee, undoubtedly intending to teach the newcomer a few things in an impromptu match.
With Theory’s helpful interference, McMahon punted a football at McAfee and ultimately pinned him.
But WrestleMania wasn’t done with McAfee just yet.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin made an appearance to clean things up.
It certainly looked like Austin was on McAfee’s side, delivering his signature “Stone Cold Stunner” to McMahon and inviting McAfee back into the ring. He and the former NFL punter shared celebratory beers before McAfee himself fell victim to the “Stone Cold Stunner.”
“Austin 3:16 says, ‘I just stunned Pat McAfee,’” one of the commentators said during the broadcast. “STUNNER STUNNER STUNNER,” McAfee wrote of the move.
It was definitely a great night “For the Brand.”