Vince McMahon And Pat McAfee Talk WrestleMania 38, The Undertaker, Future Of WWE, More

WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon joined SmackDown commentator Pat McAfee for a rare live interview on The Pat McAfee Show today. Below are highlights from the interview, along with full video:

* McAfee opened the third hour of his show by telling everyone that Vince is flying in to Indianapolis, but he’s not sure if his flight has landed. McAfee will let everyone know when Vince arrives, they will take a 4 minute break, and then come back for the interview. McAfee stated on Twitter today that the interview will begin at around 2:15pm, but he just said they’re not sure when Vince will be at the studio. Within one minute of McAfee saying he doesn’t know when Vince will arrive, he took a phone call from someone, apparently WWE Executive Producer & Chief of Global Television Distribution Kevin Dunn, who wanted to make final arrangements and let McAfee know that they were 15 minutes away. McAfee says he has not talked to Vince about this interview, but he was told Vince wants to break massive WWE news today. McAfee insists he has no idea what will happen today, despite internet rumors. He was also told that Vince has no issues with time constraints

* Vince finally arrived right after 2:20pm and McAfee gave him a grand introduction. Vince insisted on being called by his first name. McAfee thanked Vince for the opportunity, saying this is big for his show, and Vince thanked him back

* McAfee brought up WrestleMania 38 and asked Vince if he thought he’d be doing stuff like this when he was a kid. Vince doesn’t think like that, but he didn’t not think he’d be doing this. Vince said he doesn’t think in terms of ceilings, or milestones, or pats on the back, he just thinks of something and doing it. They talked about the Peacock/WWE Network deal, and said it was given to them by Comcast pretty much, but the lawyers try tying your hands and such, and he doesn’t like that. Vince said it’s all about creative control and controlling your destiny

* McAfee asks Vince if he hears it when people talk about how good wrestling is because of him, or if he stays away from it. Vince said he stays away from it all. He’s not big on pats on the back. He mentioned how you have to listen to the negatives if you listen to the positives, and he doesn’t like negatives, and tries to stay away from those. He says the media will say what they want, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Vince said if people think you’re an a—–e, you can’t change that, you can’t change perception when you’re a public persona type. Vince says it doesn’t bother him. He cares what the general public thinks of him, and as far as the business goes, but that’s it. It took a while for him to get like that. When he first started out he spent a lot of time trying to correct a poor image of him, but he realized he could spend that positive energy elsewhere, and he feels like you just can’t care what the media and some of the others say

* McAfee brought up Vince McMahon Sr., how wrestling is in the name of WrestleMania, and how the business has evolved into what it is now. He asks why Vince doesn’t like the word wrestling. Vince said he wanted to separate WWE from everyone else. He mentioned how he didn’t even know the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) didn’t exist before WWE had to change their name years ago. He joked that the lawsuit was tried in England and he wouldn’t fit in with that environment where they “wear the wigs” and stuff

* McAfee brought up how there have been tons of highs, and some lows, over the years, and asked if Vince has always been this creative. He praised the team he has around him. Vince says he listens well and he thinks that’s important because usually you can’t learn when you’re talking. McAfee says everyone listens to Vince when he talks because he’s Vince McMahon. McAfee brought up how Vince doesn’t like that attention, and mentioned how there’s a rule to not mention Vince during WWE Hall of Fame speeches

* Vince revealed that he will be inducting The Undertaker into the WWE Hall of Fame. He said it will be one of the most difficult things he’s ever done because he likes, no he loves, the guy. Vince praised Taker the character and the man, and said it will be hard to talk about the man Taker is because he knows him so well and is close with him. McAfee jokes about Vince getting a bit choked up and they applaud him. Vince also talked about Taker’s loyalty

* McAfee talked about competition and mentioned AEW, and how they bought ROH last night. Vince did not comment on AEW or ROH. Vince said he’s probably one of the few people in the world who enjoys confrontation. It’s one of the things that revs you up and puts you on your toes. He enjoys physical confrontation. Vince mentioned how Taker never asked him about going to WCW during the Monday Night War. McAfee asked Vince about what makes him different from everybody else. He says he’s just wired differently, you are who you are and you accept that, and use your strengths and weaknesses how you can

* Vince talked about coming from an 8 foot trailer to where he’s at now, and McAfee mentioned how rich he is. Vince said it’s not about what is in the bank for him, and he doesn’t pay attention. McAfee yelled about how rich Vince is and they gave him an applause. Vince says after WrestleMania 4 or 5 he thought he was someone, had a bit of an ego, but that lasted for just 6 months. He realized he’s doing what he loves to do. He says even being here on McAfee’s show is astronomical considering his background and where he came from

* McAfee brought up The Rock’s Young Rock on NBC and asked if he’s seen the guy who plays him on the show. Vince said he hasn’t and probably won’t. McAfee brought up how competitive the territory days were and Vince joked about receiving death threats and how he was supposed to be at the bottom of several rivers

* McAfee brought up WWE working with Saudi Arabia and if Vince has noticed the country getting better in some areas, which is better for the world. Vince says he’s known about the fans there for years as WWE has had a presence there. He said people around the world love Western entertainment, they might not like our governments, but WWE fits in with everything as its larger-than-life, and Saudi Arabia is no different. He said you have to respect people and their culture

* McAfee asked Vince about his daily schedule and if he has one of the routines like the other billionaires. Vince laughed and said he’s not like anyone else. McAfee asked about Vince’s gym schedule. Vince said he finishes training at around 3am every day and starts at around 1:30am. He said sometimes he has to force himself to get out of the gym. He’s always over-trained, which is bad for you, but working out is his only socially-accepted form of getting the steam off. Vince loves that he takes care of himself the best he can, including eating right. Vince said working out helps him mentally, which helps him with the job as the job is emotional because you’re dealing with people. Vince said he really doesn’t have a down-day

* McAfee asked Vince what’s next and how far he thinks in the future. Vince loves branding and WWE is trying to brand everything, marketing is fascinating to him. Vince said WrestleMania 38 is about what makes this one different, and the word “stupendous” hasn’t been used yet so they are using that in the billing of WrestleMania 38. He said the word is not one of everyday-speak, so using it gets people’s attention. Vince laughed at McAfee asking if he does his Billionaire Strut around the WWE HQ office. Vince said when being creative, you just need to keep your head wide open and be able to accept whatever is coming in from any source. Vince said he’s fortunate because he has a second wheel going on at all times in his head. He said sometimes it gets confusing, and when he gets really tired, which is rare, then he can focus on one thing

* McAfee asked again about Vince thinking ahead for WWE, past WrestleMania, and how much he has to think in the future while also knowing that the current product will get them there. Vince said you constantly have to look at the big and little pictures. Vince talked about the importance in WWE of treating people right, knowing how to show respect, and said respect is huge in everything they do at WWE, and McAfee has probably picked up on this. McAfee agreed and said respect is huge in WWE backstage. Vince talked about how they hug each other and shake hands at the Gorilla Position, with the basis of this being two people who are going to the ring to work with each other, and they need to protect each other and keep them safe. The respect factor is there, and it’s about trying to not maim each other, and put on a good show. Vince said it obviously hurts, but that’s part of it. McAfee said the amount of times Vince has allowed them to chat and talk advice is incredible, and they’ve had a number of hysterical conversations. McAfee brought up how Vince has allowed the Mr. McMahon character, and himself, to be a robot of a character. He asked Vince if he’s going to live forever, and said everything views Vince as 1 of 1. Vince said his mom was 101 when she passed away, and that was a benchmark. He said he could get hit by a bus today and if he could, he’d just want 1 second, before he kicks the bucket, to say thank you. He just wants to be thankful he was alive, appreciate the fact he was alive

* McAfee asked at what point was the future of WWE brought to him and was he not happy with that because maybe it was broached that WWE wouldn’t be his. Pat said the future of WWE is a topic outside of WWE, very loudly. He asked if when that was brought up to him, was he pissed or what. Vince said he doesn’t think about it a lot. If you’ve built something you should want it to grow and prosper, with or without a family member. His view is that the business is best for everybody, whether you’re a part or not. He said you have to look at family members like anyone else, and he’s probably expected more from his family. He said you have to do the right thing for the business, and if this person isn’t working out, they shouldn’t be a part of the company

* McAfee praised Vince and said he should be celebrated more than he is. McAfee said he thinks this mostly because he got the chance to meet Vince, but Vince is the dude who we guys didn’t grow up with money, looks at and we think we can do it because he did. Vince took the praise and just said, “Right.” McAfee went to sign the show off and end the interview but Vince asked if that was it. McAfee said they can keep going because his staff probably has a few questions, and Vince said let’s go

* Vince interrupted the first question and said he wants to offer Pat something. Vince knows Pat loves what WWE does and he’s a part of the team. Vince said Pat is Pat and that’s why it works. Vince offers Pat the chance to actually wrestle at WrestleMania 38. Pat says that would be a dream, boss. Vince said unlike when McAfee was a punter for the Indianapolis Colts, now he will be a linebacker in the ring. McAfee bragged about having 24 tackles as a punter. McAfee brought up the internet chatter about him returning to the ring, and Vince said they will find him a worthy opponent and work it out. McAfee said this is incredible, but is it a real deal? Vince said he doesn’t b——t. McAfee cut a quick promo and Vince said he thinks it will work. McAfee’s crew joked about McAfee wrestling The Undertaker and Vince joked that this idea won’t work

* One of McAfee’s co-hosts asks about how the business is today vs. back in the day as far as cultivating talent goes. Vince said it’s a team effort. If it’s a character then you have to really be into that character and bring it into the ring, or the audience won’t break it. He said like Taker, you could never break him, Vince tried several times, but you could never get him to smile or anything. Vince praised Taker some more. Vince went on and said it’s important to call the talent Superstars and not wrestlers, because anyone can wrestle, poorly or well. He said it goes back to branding, do you want to be a wrestler or a WWE Superstar? Being a WWE Superstar sounds a lot better to him than being a professional wrestler. Vince also commented about growing and having the desire to get into things, and said he believes you’re dying if you’re not growing

* Another co-host asked Vince about being a part of other sports league commissioners when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and how WWE moved forward with their product. Vince said he likes to do their own thing, and everything is different. He said the NFL is a little more higher profile, and they did their own thing, but he was determined WWE wouldn’t miss a show. He praised the WWE Superstars for their hard work, and said they have this thirst to do whatever it takes to become better performers and human beings. Vince talked about the COVID-19 testing at the WWE Performance Center. He talked about how having no audience was difficult for the performers, and how the in-ring work hurts more because of less adrenaline. Vince said the audience is such a big part of the WWE product. Vince said their focus group every night is the crowd, and he agreed that they did rely some on social media when they had no crowd, but also you just look at what’s going on in the ring and you just know if it’s working or not. Vince said the internet audience can be very bias, and he doesn’t look at any of it, none of it

* McAfee thanked Vince for doing the interview again, and Vince pointed to how he’s already thanked him several times. Vince thanked McAfee again and said that’s it, you don’t have to thank him anymore. Vince said he’s not big on thank-yous. McAfee asked another question about perception of Vince and letting talent come up with their own ideas, and if he knew what was happening at the time. He mentioned how people have said over the years how he’s not hip or with it, but he’s never been cool and has never given a s–t about that kind of stuff. He then talked about giving talent some creative freedom because it gets them into it. If a performer has an alternative idea and it’s better, then he goes with it, but you have to be a leader at the same time and do what you feel is best

* McAfee asked Vince to explain Brock Lesnar. Vince agreed that he is 1 of 1, and an extraordinary person. Vince went on to braise Brock for being very intelligent. People think Brock is some kind of neanderthal, but Vince said he’s smarter than most of those people. McAfee brought up how Lesnar appeared on the show and said Vince is like a father to him, and he credits Vince for some of his non-WWE success. McAfee pointed to how Vince’s world has come up with some of the biggest stars ever, like The Rock, Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg. He asked Vince if he keeps in touch with these stars. Vince said he does with some, he doesn’t like to forget people, but he loves for them to stay in touch. Vince talked about being busy with something every day. He hasn’t lost contact with the names Pat mentioned, but with others down the line it happens. Vince makes sure the company keeps in touch with former talents. Vince said everyone helped pave the way to where WWE is now and he’s appreciative, whether their contributions were big or small

* McAfee talked about how crazy the Attitude Era was and asked how much fun it was. Vince said the Attitude Era was a lot of fun every night, and it was just a blast. Vince said his WWE world is so wonderful and there’s nothing like it. Vince was asked why he loves live TV so much. Vince said you’re on the edge, and you don’t know what can go wrong, and the audience doesn’t know because they didn’t know what was going to happen. Vince said there’s so much pressure but you live for those big moments. Vince brought up how excited they can get at Gorilla when you have big moments, or how the mood is different when things go wrong.

* McAfee brought up Michael Cole’s longevity. Vince joked that he’s a horrible person. McAfee laughed hysterically. Vince said Cole has done a lot of good, but he’s horrible. They had a good laugh over this.

* Vince said he still gets very excited before shows, every show. He said when shows are being written, you’re really into it, and if it comes out as well as you think, it’s awesome. Sometimes it comes out better. He said it’s all about the audience and he gets chill bumps when the audience reacts to some of those moments like everybody else. Vince praised the crew for what they do twice a week, and said sometimes it’s hard for the corporate types to understand that because no one else in the world does what WWE does with their touring. Vince praised the behind-the-scenes workers and production. He said it’s like a family in WWE. Vince said it’s extraordinary that so many people want to do this job together, and he feels privileged to do it. He also said no one will ever know he’s tired. He said it would be wrong and bad business to bring that and your emotions to meetings and work

* Another co-host asked if Vince considered himself a WWE Superstar because there was a time when fans thought he was one of the greatest. Vince said he had to become a Superstar if he was going to be on TV, especially when working with Steve Austin. Vince said he’s really like Austin, and he understood, agreed with, and grew up with the whole idea of wanting to knock the s–t out of your boss. McAfee said Vince is seen as the greatest heel of all-time by some. Vince said when getting into character you have to really want people to honestly dislike you. Vince said it’s a big thrill to push buttons and get reactions out of people. He also mentioned how you can live vicariously through some of the characters. McAfee brought up Vince blowing out his quads. Vince said he’s had so many surgeries he can’t count, including his spine, neck, and others, all due to a combination of things. McAfee brought up the video of Vince doing squats. Vince said he does 1000 pound squats every week

* McAfee brought up Vince’s team who works with him backstage. Vince said they are all really good at the job, but also really great human beings, which is important. Pat said Vince doesn’t want to hear this, but he’s also a really good guy. McAfee gives Vince props for flying out for this interview, and Vince says but he was late. Vince apologizes for being late and talks about how he hates to hear people explain why they were late to something, saying he doesn’t give a f–k about why

* McAfee commented on how Vince is genuinely cool. Vince said he enjoyed the interview, and he thanked McAfee. Pat gave Vince a send-off and an applause from the crew. Pat plugged his WrestleMania ticket give-away and asked Vince if he wanted to pose for a photo like the rest of the crew did, but Vince wasn’t interested. Vince said he came to watch Pat work. Pat commented on the long flight to Miami for SmackDown and Vince said it’s no big deal because he will just handle more business on the flight. Pat thanked Vince again, and Vince thanked him to end the show

Stay tuned for more. You can see full video from the interview below:

Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]

counter

Leave a Comment