Pat McAfee’s next career endeavor will involve stepping into the ring for a wrestling match against one of WWE’s brightest up-and-coming stars.
The former NFL punter on Friday accepted a challenge from Triple H to fight Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver XXX on Aug. 22.
The match figures to settle a feud that recently began brewing on McAfee’s podcast and escalated when the two-time Pro Bowl selection delivered a vicious kick to Cole on Wednesday night’s episode of NXT.
“I’ve got two weeks to prepare for this guy who’s been wrestling for 12 years,” McAfee said Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “Over a decade, this man has been traveling around the globe, wrestling. He was in Ring of Honor, he was in New Japan, he was in CZW. This guy has made a living wrestling for over a decade now. Some consider him the next Shawn Michaels, the next best wrestler of all time. In two weeks, I’m gonna walk in there and beat his ass. I accept the challenge, for sure.
“I have a lot of respect for that man, I have a lot of respect for the business,” he added. “But getting to do this is gonna be awesome, it’s gonna be a dream come true. And now, since I enjoy vitamins a lot, I’ve gotta figure out my cardio so I don’t puke all over the ring.”
McAfee, 33, retired from the NFL and joined Barstool Sports in 2017 after eight seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He since has enjoyed a successful career in sports media, even appearing on WWE and NXT programming. (NXT is WWE’s developmental system, although it has grown in popularity in recent years.)
Jumping into the squared circle for a match is a whole different ballgame, though. And McAfee, who explained Friday that he once bought a wrestling ring after a few drinks, is hoping to show he belongs.
“I have to not look like an idiot like the ‘Saturday Night Live’ guys that have gotten in the ring before. I have to go in there and do my thing, not get injured and hopefully put on for the NFL,” McAfee said. “A large portion of the NFL is not gonna be happy that I’m representing them. But I’m gonna do this for the punters and the kickers, and I’m gonna be an athlete out there and I’m gonna walk out undefeated like I’m Goldberg back in the day. Who’s gonna be next?”