Despite a well received in-ring debut Saturday at NXT TakeOver XXX against Adam Cole, Pat McAfee has no plans to return to the ring…for now.
On his own show and in an interview with ESPN Monday, McAfee said that he doesn’t have any additional contract or commitments to NXT but didn’t close the door on a return.
“So for when it came to the match on Saturday, I was only focused on that match. I was only focused on, “OK, how do I go in here, put on a hell of a show, hell of a fight and get a win? And then, we’ll worry about everything after that on Sunday.” We’ll cross that bridge whenever we get to it. And I’ve heard the conversation start all around me and there was a lot… even my mom was asking, “Well, are you going to do this again?” I’m like, “Well, let’s worry about that on Sunday.”
And then I got to Sunday, obviously, and I woke up. Neck was sore, back was sore, foot was sore. I got flipped on my head. To be completely honest, I’m not 100% sure what’s going to happen. I’m not under contract to do anything else with Mr. H. I assume he and I will talk about this at some point because I heard his comments in the press conference afterwards, which were very nice.”
McAfee said that his goal was to put on a performance that showed respect to the business and he thinks he did that. He said he knew what people were saying about the opportunity he was getting as an outsider and observed that other “outsiders” didn’t seem to really want to learn how to wrestle which was very important to him.
He said he watched the match back and noticed a lot of mistakes, but heard so many positive things from wrestlers following the match that he felt validated for his effort and respected the business.
Following TakeOver, Paul “HHH” Levesque said on a conference call that while McAfee has a lot of commitments, “he’s very serious about this. We’ll see where it goes. When we first talked about this process, he said to me, ‘Let’s remember this phone call when you do my Hall of Fame speech.’ Pat doesn’t lack confidence.”
Levesque later added, “He’s a heat magnet and when you add in the incredible athlete on top of that who has a feel for the business…what he wants to do, he can do. I’m here to help him. I look forward to that future. I don’t know what it’ll be. We’re going to have that conversation. I can certainly say that I do not believe at all that this is the last time that you will see Pat McAfee step through those ropes and do what he does. I think he’s silenced a lot of critics tonight, a lot of people in the, ‘Ugh, a celebrity’ camp left with a different opinion.”