Pat McAfee made his surprising return at WWE Royal Rumble, and Michael Cole’s reaction was reportedly genuine, as he didn’t know about it ahead of time.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider reports that McAfee’s appearance on Saturday was a “legitimate surprise” to most people in the company. Johnson wrote that most of the production team was kept in the dark about his return, so they had to “scramble” to get him a seat and a headset. The report notes that Cole and Graves were unaware of the plans for McAfee’s return, so they were operating as if they would be calling the duration of the show themselves.
Per Johnson, it’s unclear whether McAfee will be back full-time on SmackDown moving forward.
McAfee had been part of the SmackDown commentary duo alongside Cole, but he stepped away in September 2022 after he joined ESPN College Gameday.
WrestleZone will provide more information as it becomes available.
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