If 2022 taught us anything, it’s that there is no age limit for pro wrestling. Sting was working seemingly weekly at points in AEW, Bill Goldberg showed up to battle Roman Reigns, and Ric Flair walked the aisle one last time.
Note I didn’t say there was no age limit for GOOD pro wrestling – just that there was no age limit FOR pro wrestling. Heck, the “Nature Boy” won the Gooker award in the process!
Today we are going to look at a bout featuring another fossil that definitely falls into the crapola category. Let’s giddy on up over to Arlington, Texas and head back to WrestleMania 38, which saw our old pal Vince McMahon getting into the ring one more time to “entertain” fans with his wacky antics.
Since he owns WWE (at least as of this writing) and the concept of WrestleMania was his brain child, if anyone has carte blanche (and the massive ego) to put the spotlight on himself at the biggest show of the year, it would be Vince. After all, it’s not the first time he’s done it. For who could forget such legendary contests as…
….Vince vs. Hulk Hogan, where the 24″ pythons were no match for the might Mac’s bulging biceps! Then there was that incredible bout where Vince…
…submitted to Bret Hart’s sharpshooter and was locked in the hold for so long he was sure that the fans would turn him babyface? (SPOILER ALERT: didn’t happen.)
And then there was the time when he got his head shaved by some other weirdo with dumb hair whose name I don’t remember (but I’m sure will no doubt generate a lot of vitriol in the comments section below). Such is the in-ring Mania legacy of Vincent Kennedy McMahon Jr., putting on stupid bouts that almost always get inducted here at WrestleCrap.
But at nearly eighty years old (!!!), there seemed to be no chance (ha, see what I did there?) that he would appear in the ring at Mania in the year of our Lord two-thousand and twenty-two. After all, he was not promoted as being in a match and one would believe that if he were going to wrestle, the company would hype such a bout to the moon so as to generate additional interest. But even with nothing formally announced, rumors persisted that he would get in the ring, and his opponent would be none other than this man:
Former Colts punter Pat McAfee. I have called Indianapolis my home town for the past 30 years (got here just in time for WrestleMania VIII in fact!), and this is how I will always picture McAfee. He can work for WWE until 2089 but this will always be the McAfee I know – drilling coffin corner kicks, shocking folks with surprise onside kicks, and going for drunken dips in Fall Creek near Broad Ripple. What can I say? Dude made an impact on this town.
McAfee retired from football and became his own best hype man, becoming a star and generating interest from all comers, including World Wrestling Entertainment, coming in to announce and also do some limited matches. But could McAfee seriously be the guy who was pegged to be in the ring with VINCE MCMAHON?
I suppose at some level it made sense. After all, McMahon had been aligned with McAfee’s announced opponent Austin Theory, who became bosom buddies when he stole the egg of Cleopatra so he could take selfies with it. And yes, we have inducted that already, thanks for asking.
So at Mania, it wasn’t McAfee vs. Vince. No, it was McAfee vs. Theory, who may or may not have been allowed to have his last name at this point, I’ve lost track. And the graphic I have for him doesn’t even bother to give either of them. Maybe he lost BOTH names by that point.
So we got McAfee vs. Theory and despite it being the most paint by number encounter imaginable, it was…fine. Not great or anything, but also not atrocious. Certainly not induction worthy or anything. If that had that been it, we would have just said, “well, it was a match” and all moved on with our lives.
In the ring, however, McAfee had other ideas. He wanted more.
He wanted the big guy.
McMahon, for his part, looked completely baffled. Can’t blame you dude, I was too.
Regardless, Vince couldn’t possibly afford to be challenged and not accept, so he takes off his jacket and starts to loosen his tie in the most absurd, creepy manner possible. Vincent Price in House of Wax ain’t got nothing Junior here (and come to think of it, McMahon is looking almost mannequin-esque as he starts disrobing).
Soon enough, Vince is in the ring and not only is he in there, but so is a referee signifying this is an actual, official match.
The best part of all this is the poor zebra looking so sad, likely thinking “my grandchildren will only remember me as the guy in the ring when Vince McMahon keeled over in front of 60,000 people.”
Naturally, this is just a set up and Theory clobbers McAfee from behind. I was going to do that image as an animated GIF, but pretty sure I’m going to need as much bandwidth as possible for the ‘action’ yet to come.
Plus, that still image looks quite comical, with Vince having his O-face with Theory and McAfee in that position. Could totally see that in ‘real life’ as well.
At this point the match begins, with Vince hitting (something we are told is) a clothesline and McAfee throwing himself into the turnbuckles and looking like a total moron in the process.
As Michael Cole hypes up Vince as the baddest man to have ever walked planet earth, the in-ring buffoonery continues as we get another “strike” from Vince…
…and Pat going face first into the corner once more. I guess if you’re gonna go clown for the owner, you go total, all out, full on clown I suppose. If that was the goal, congrats – red-nosed mission accomplished.
But then, all of a sudden, McAfee appears to realize the stupidity of the situation. Here I am, he seems to be thinking, near my physical prime at 35 years old, a real athlete who was an ALL PRO in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE…and I’m selling for a geezer who can barely move?
And sure enough, Vince also falls into line, starting to beg off. Pretty sure he tried to do his patented BIG GULP as well, but his weary old chicken neck wasn’t cooperating.
But before things can start making too much sense, Theory grabs McAfee from behind and crotches him on the post. Gotta add some intrigue I suppose before Pat punts Vince into the 17th row, right?
We get a couple of kicks from Vince that would have Orange Cassidy shaking his head before we head for the finish. Theory jumps to the apron holding a football that he presents to McMahon. At first glance I legit thought it was the Cleopatra egg being brought back.
If only we could be so lucky.
Vince teases kicking the ball into the stands but thankfully doesn’t follow through. I have zero doubt if he tried, he’d have torn both his quads again.
And probably dislocated his hip.
And maybe had a heart attack.
Instead, he love taps the ball into McAfee’s ribs and then…covers him for the pin???!!!
Yes kids, that’s exactly what happened.
No kids, I can’t explain it.
Who on earth thought THIS was a good idea?
I don’t know either, dude.
Good to see you back by the way. Been too long.
But hey, the fun’s not over yet! See, after Vince was able to put down one of the new guys in the company, a guy who is likely going to be around for years to come, we get the return of…
…”Stone Cold” Steve Austin for one more round. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a huge Austin mark, but after a while, don’t you ever say, “You know, maybe we should try something new so folks aren’t always saying the old days were way better than the crap we get now”?
Anyway, y’all know what happens next. KICK WHAM STUNNER to Theory (who takes an AWESOME bump)!
KICK WHAM STUNNER to Vince (who celebrates his 25 year tradition of never taking it right by taking the worst Stunner in recorded history)!
Last but not least, McAfee comes in to have a beer with his boyhood idol…
…and of course pays the price for being such a total idiot.
With that, we have (what I sincerely hope) is the final ever match featuring Vince McMahon. I expected it to suck, but it went way beyond my wildest expectations. And while I’m not a drinking man, after forcing myself to watch this…
…I think Pat may have the right idea.