WWE's Wade Barrett stepped in for Pat McAfee as co-commentator on SmackDown when the latter left to work on College Gameday, but the college football season is over, and McAfee isn't back on SmackDown. Outside of one appearance during the Royal Rumble, McAfee has been largely absent from commentary, leading some wrestling fans to wonder if he'll return. That answer might be clearer based on Wade Barrett's recent comments about his future in the role going forward.
Wade Barrett took some time recently to have a conversation with Daily Star, and his future status as a commentator was brought up. While Barrett made sure to mention that things could change, it sounds like he might remain on SmackDown for the foreseeable future:
It’s as permanent as you can ever be in a role in WWE! Historically things have always been switched around and teams have been moved from here to there, and I’m not saying I’m going to be in the SmackDown hot seat for the next ten years or anything like that. But in terms of the foreseeable, it’s going to be me and Cole going forward.
Wade Barrett's done a phenomenal job on SmackDown, so there's nothing bad about hearing he'll be around for many upcoming WWE events. At the same time, one can't help but see it as a bummer considering how great of a duo Pat McAfee and the other SmackDown commentator, Michael Cole, was. Cole remains a part of the commentary team alongside Barrett.
WWE fans began to wonder what was going on with Pat McAfee when he returned as a commentator at the Royal Rumble but didn't return to his normal duties after it was over. The story has only gotten more complicated after McAfee openly pondered his future with the WWE in a tweet posted in February.
The former NFL punter mentioned that he had a daughter on the way and also talked about the eventual sale of the WWE. McAfee was unsure if he'd want to work for the new owners of the WWE should it sell. This tweet arrived weeks after rumors that Vince McMahon arranged a deal with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
Wade Barrett didn't comment on anything Pat McAfee has said in the past month about returning to the WWE, but did shower him with compliments. While it seems Barrett will be behind the commentary desk on SmackDown for a good while, McAfee will always be welcome.
Pat McAfee is always going to be a friend of WWE. He’s an incredibly talented guy and we’re all fans of his, too, but he has a lot on his plate.
Barrett is right about Pat McAfee having a lot on his plate. Beyond any obligations he'd have as a commentator or father, McAfee hosts the popular program The Pat McAfee Show every weekday. Traveling once a week for SmackDown and an additional day or two a month for pay-per-views is a big commitment on its own, and he's juggled a lot of plates in addition to that in the past year. As such, I wouldn't be surprised if McAfee eventually decides he's done at the WWE.
For now, the WWE is doing just fine with Michael Cole and Wade Barrett on SmackDown. Given Barrett's recent comments, it seems possible he'll continue to provide commentary during WrestleMania 39, but who knows what could happen? As Barrett hinted, things are always changing in the WWE, so we'll just have to wait and see.
With WrestleMania 39 coming up on April 1st and 2nd, now is a great time for wrestling fans to ensure their Peacock Premium subscription is in working order. The match card for WrestleMania is looking great, and I'm sure it'll only look better as more matchups get locked in for wrestling's two biggest nights.