Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski

With another Super Bowl in the record books, it’s as good a time as any to revisit the not-brief-enough WWE run of Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski.

On paper, it was a match made in heaven. After all, Gronk is a 6’6” future NFL Hall of Famer…

…and if there’s one thing Vince McMahon loves more than a big man, it’s the idea of liking football.

So if I’d told you ten years ago that Rob Gronkowski would show up to WrestleMania and rough up future WWE Champion Jinder Mahal

…Gronk’s involvement would be far from the most shocking part of that sentence.

Three years after Gronkowski’s first WWE appearance, the company wanted him again. But this time, it wouldn’t be a simple guest spot. No, WWE would actually sign Gronk for real.

Like, to wrestle. More than once.

Gronk had everything: size, athleticism, a lifelong WWE fandom, and a famous name. With the right training, he could make a huge impact in WWE with a multi-year wrestling deal.

Sure enough, after much hype from independent wrestling journalists…

…Gronk signed on the dotted line. The historic date? Wednesday, March 11th.

In an all-time case of bad timing, Gronk joined WWE the same day the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

By Friday, WWE had moved all its shows to the Performance Center for the foreseeable future, including WrestleMania 36.

And the host of that WrestleMania? One Rob Gronkowski, whose job of hyping up the crowd had just gotten exponentially harder.

Nonetheless, Mojo Rawley did his best to make his friend’s arrival to SmackDown seem like a big deal.

He smacked Michael Cole’s ass a bunch of times, at least. I think that helped.

So out danced Gronkowski to absolutely no crowd reaction (because there was absolutely no crowd).

And then he danced some more — limbs flailing, arms akimbo, feet kicking up dust.

It was a disturbing image, like the ending of Cry, Cry Again.

Ever the realist, Gronk made a point of admitting he’d have no real power as WrestleMania host

…but told WWE they really should consider making Mojo Rawley vs. Baron Corbin, please.

At the big two-night event, Gronkowski barely appeared…

…but during his only mic time, he screwed up his lines, telling Charly Caruso “I wouldn’t mind holding that WWE 24/7 Title by end of the tonight” [sic].

That seems like a minor goof, but WWE taped this promo days in advance and could have cut it up however they liked. Just how bad were Gronk’s other takes?

Gronk’s most (and only) memorable moment came during a 24/7 Title segment when he jumped onto a crowd of wrestlers.


Again, WWE could have cut this up however they wanted, but they still chose to show everyone waiting around like idiots for Gronk to do his dive.

Gronkowski then pinned Mojo to win (whose shoulder was up) to win the 24/7 Title…

…before delivering some pathetic kicks…

(What else is new?)

…and fleeing the building.

Infamously, Gronkowski was hesitant about the stunt, delaying WrestleMania 36’s already brutal filming schedule another two hours.

It was up to the 74-year-old chairman Vince McMahon to show Gronk how it was done…

…leaping off the platform with ease. Say what you will about Vince McMahon (like that he’s a perverted monster), but he’s no chicken.

Then, barely a month after signing with WWE, Gronk agreed to return to the NFL.

Impressively, Vince realized that, unlike his favorite football players Ernie Ladd and Wahoo McDaniel, Gronk wouldn’t be allowed to wrestle in the off-season.

That meant Gronk would have to drop his 24/7 Title to R-Truth…

…but not before cutting a massively lame promo. Wearing one of many unsold, “GrönkMania” shirts, Gronkowski led off with this quip: “R-Truth? More like R-Lies“.

He then spent the rest of the promo visibly reading his lines…

…and ended up wearing sunglasses backwards. Why? “Because I got eyes on back [sic] of my head“.

He turned away from the Teleprompter once, and he screwed up.

Not to get too personal, but this guy was a goober.

We all owe Lisa the security guard an apology.

And so, without wrestling a single match, Gronk left WWE to get another Super Bowl ring. It was win-win.

So underwhelming was Gronk’s time in WWE that, after winning the Super Bowl for Tampa Bay, in Tampa Bay…

…Gronk still didn’t appear at WrestleMania37 in that same stadium.

Meanwhile, WWE has another famous former pro athlete just waiting in the wings.

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