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Why is Pat McAfee wrestling at Wrestlemania 38?

The former NFL punter will lace up his wrestling boots to fight Austin Theory on Sunday.

Miami Dolphins v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Wrestlemania is always a prime showcase spot for celebrities, as evidenced by last year’s show when international pop superstar Bad Bunny stepped in the ring to participate in the show. For Wrestlemania 38 this weekend, there will be plenty of celebrity involvement for the two-night show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Former NFL punter and successful podcast host Pat McAfee has become a staple on WWE television over the past year, joining Michael Cole on the Friday Night Smackdown commentary team. On Night 2, however, he’ll step into the ring and face Austin Theory in one-on-one competition. Let’s take a look at how this came together.

Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory backstory

This began in the beginning of March when McAfee brought Vince McMahon onto his daily podcast. During the interview, McMahon himself confirmed that the former NFL special teamer would be lacing up his boots and wrestling a match at Wrestlemania but didn’t say who he’d be facing.

The following night on Smackdown, McMahon’s protégé Austin Theory arrived and revealed that he’d be the one facing McAfee at the grand spectacle, delivering a slap in the face to the commentator in the process.

It’s been a cat and mouse game between these two in recent weeks, with McAfee at one point attacking Theory but being forced to issue an apology for it later on.

As far as the match goes, this could low key be one of the better matches on the card for Sunday. McAfee has natural athletic skill from his days in the NFL and he’s already shown his acumen to put on a good performance in a wrestling match. He turned heads in 2020 when facing Adam Cole at NXT Takeover XXX.