Rob Gronkowski is back in the NFL, and it’s probably for the best.
The veteran tight end apparently ruffled a few feathers during his brief stint with WWE.
Gronkowski, who sat out the 2019 season after announcing his retirement from football, signed with WWE in March and served as the host of WrestleMania 36 on April 4 and 5. His new wrestling career seemingly started with a bang, too, as Gronkowski won WWE’s 24/7 title as part of the company’s two-night ‘Mania spectacle.
But Gronkowski later decided to return to the gridiron, where he’ll reunite with former teammate Tom Brady after a trade from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And details about Gronkowski’s time with WWE that since have emerged don’t exactly paint the NFL legend in a flattering light.
First, Fightful reported in May that Gronkowski was so “terrified” to perform a stunt — diving off a platform onto a group of wrestlers below — at WrestleMania 36 that WWE chairman Vince McMahon, who’s 74 years old, executed the move himself to prove it was safe. The scene reportedly drew a “did that just happen?” reaction from those who witnessed it.
Now, we’re learning more about the fallout, as Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported Tuesday — H/T to WrestlingNews.co — that “even those with a reputation of being easy, helpful, and good to work with, all had negative things to say about working with Gronk after his WrestleMania fiasco.”
Gronkowski’s hesitance reportedly put WWE’s WrestleMania filming two hours behind schedule, with one top name calling the 31-year-old “a f—— clown who we are so much better off without.”
Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise. While Gronkowski is both athletic and charismatic, his general goofiness is much more charming when it’s not scripted. He seemed like a fish out of water while on screen with WWE, and it’s easy to see how his shtick could rock the boat in the locker room if he’s also complicating matters behind the scenes.
But hey, you live and you learn. Gronk isn’t the first celebrity or cross-over athlete to flop in WWE, and he almost certainly won’t be the last, either.
Gronkowski, who lost his 24/7 title to R-Truth on Monday night’s episode of “Raw,” had a release clause in his WWE contract that he exercised by returning to the NFL, Wrestling Inc. reported Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the situation.