Former Indianapolis Colts punter and sports media superstar Pat McAfee shared a powerful video on Friday (March 11) ahead of his WrestleMania debut next month.
McAfee, who has previously appeared in several matches for WWE's televised developmental brand NXT and currently serves as SmackDown's color commentator, will face Austin Theory during Night Two of WrestleMania 38 on Sunday, April 3, which he said will fulfill his lifelong dream of competing at WWE's biggest annual event.
"I get to live out a dream...but don't get this s*** twisted, I have been preparing for this my entire life," McAfee said while standing inside his own wrestling ring. "I've wrestled at WrestleMania in my mind millions of times and this dream, hopefully, inspires others to have the same damn one."
(Viewer discretion: some foul language)
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon offered McAfee the opportunity to compete in a WrestleMania match while appearing on the Pat McAfee Show last week, which the host quickly accepted, once again calling it "a dream."
Theory, a rising star who has been McMahon's on-screen protégé in recent months, revealed himself as McAfee's opponent during last Friday's (March 4) episode of SmackDown, which resulted in Theory slapping the popular commentator after making the challenge.
McAfee has shared numerous posts of himself training in Indianapolis since being announced as a WrestleMania competitor last week.
WWE announced McAfee would join veteran play-by-play man Michael Cole on the Friday Night SmackDown announce team in April 2021, after having previously worked numerous angles with current All Elite Wrestling star Adam Cole and his faction, Undisputed Era, during his time in NXT.
The 34-year-old was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and first-team All-Pro punter during his eight-year NFL career, as well as being credited as Pro Football Focus' punter of the decade for the 2010s.
McAfee announced his sudden retirement from pro football in 2016 in order to launch his media career, initially leading Barstool Sports' 'Heartland' branch, which marked the initial debut of the Pat McAfee Show.
The Plum, Pennsylvania native left Barstool Sports to launch his own business, Pat McAfee Inc., from his original office in Indianapolis in 2018, which continued to operate his charities and produced the Pat McAfee Show 2.0, as well as other podcasts.
In December, McAfee signed a massive new deal with the Pat McAfee Show 2.0's primary sponsor, FanDuel, and immediately donated a large portion to charities.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, a weekly guest on the former NFL punter's Pat McAfee Show, reported the two sides agreed to a four-year deal with an opt-out after three years to ensure the sports betting company remains the exclusive sportsbook of the show.
Sports business reporter Joe Pompliano reports McAfee immediately donated $6 million of it "to youth programs, children's hospitals, domestic violence."
McAfee confirmed the deal in a video shared on his YouTube account detailing his donations, which all had personal ties to his upbringing, as well as his collegiate and NFL careers; $250,000 bonuses for his Pat McAfee Show employees and $1 million to his parents, Tim and Sally McAfee.
CBS Pittsburgh reported McAfee donated $2 million to his high school alma mater's athletic program prior to details of the FanDuel agreement becoming public.
McAfee graduated from Plum High School in 2005 and was a three-sport athlete, lettering in football, soccer and volleyball, before accepting a scholarship to West Virginia University as a kicker on the Mountaineers' football team.
“I am so lucky I grew up in Plum,” McAfee said on KDKA’s Living Room Sports in June 2020. “Hardworking people, great people, and the greatest sandwich shop in the world – Rudy’s Subs.”
The GoFundMe page set a fundraising goal of $100,000 and finished with a total of $124,298 raised thanks, in large part, to donations of $20,000 and $15,892 made on behalf of "Pat McAfee Inc."
“Nesbit’s is a staple of the Plum community,” McAfee told TribLive.com. “I’ve had the privilege of bowling there, hanging out there, and using their parking lot in times of need in high school.”
McAfee also donated $20,000 to 102.5 DVE Rocks Children's Radiothon to benefit UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in September.