In the aftermath of WrestleMania 37 in 2021, Pat McAfee joined the WWE’s announcing team, teaming up with Michael Cole on Friday Night SmackDown. Before this pairing, Michael Cole and Corey Graves had been the voices of Friday nights since October 2019.
During his appearance on The Kurt Angle Show, Graves shared insights from that time in his career. He mentioned his interest in collaborating more with McAfee in the commentary booth and also expressed his curiosity about working alongside Jim Ross and Taz.
He said, "I've never been on air with J.R. It'd be intriguing to work with him, and Taz too... It's possible our styles might clash, we might not gel as a commentary duo because we kind of occupy similar roles... It's surprising for me to admit this, but I'd genuinely enjoy more sessions with Pat McAfee. Pat brings something unique to the table that perhaps hasn't been seen before. I feel more myself, more authentic, when he's around compared to many others."
Graves also touched on the moment McAfee replaced him in 2021, stating that from a career perspective, he was disappointed. The frustration wasn't about McAfee but stemmed from the fact that after spending nearly two years alongside Michael Cole, he suddenly had to switch shows. He took it to heart.
In his words, "It might be surprising, but I have immense respect for Pat (McAfee). His powerful personality makes it easy for me to engage with him. It did bother me, on a professional level, when I discovered that I'd be leaving Friday Night SmackDown on FOX, the show I launched with Michael Cole. I felt slighted (when McAfee stepped in). It wasn't about Pat but more about the recognition of my consistent contributions. I've been the regular face, week in and week out. I served both Raw and SmackDown continuously for two years without a word of complaint, and then this happens? I recall discussing with my wife how this didn't feel right, that I needed to address it. It truly affected me. It wasn't about Pat being Pat. It was purely a professional matter. Thankfully, my wife provided the support I needed, and I also had some heart-to-heart talks with Cole. Michael Cole has been both a supervisor and a confidante to me. He helped me see reason. In retrospect, it's just the nature of the industry. Kurt (Angle), you understand this better than most. At times, you need to make sacrifices to get where you want to be... This move was unexpected for me, but in hindsight, I think we're all in a better position."
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