This summer, tight end Rob Gronkowski made waves in both the NFL and the WWE worlds. In March of 2019, after nine long years with the New England Patriots mega-successful franchise, one of his generation’s greatest tight ends retired.
Gronkowski cited a dimming interest in football during his retirement announcement. Despite being thankful for all his time in the league, and especially his time with the Patriots, he knew he had to step off the gridiron to find himself again.
Fast forward one year. In April of 2020, Gronk hosted WrestleMania 36 after a 3-year hiatus from WrestleMania (he had previously hosted the WrestleMania 33’s pre-show festivities in 2017).
Not only were fans treated to a promising athlete-to-WWE crossover, but the show came shortly after WWE announced Gronk had signed a contract with the company. Despite the fact that Wrestlemania 36 was lacking favorites like Roman Reigns, The Miz, and Andrade, there was, at least, Gronk.
Wrestlemania 36 aired on April 4-5. Only three weeks later, on April 21st, the New England Patriots traded the tight end-turned-wrestler to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with his longtime partner in crime, quarterback Tom Brady.
Now that Gronkowski and Brady are reunited in Tampa Bay, NFL fans and pundits will wait to see if the tight end-quarterback duo can make a difference. Sites that offer NFL picks for upcoming games are paying close attention to the Buccaneers to see how their offense stacks up compared to the Patriots.
So far, the Buccs have taken down the Broncos and Panthers, though they lost 34-23 in their opener against the Saints. Meanwhile, back in the wrestling world, the WWE lost what would be their biggest signing in years.
Now that Gronkowski has made a full return to the world of football… many wonder if he’ll return someday?
Not In The Clause
At least Gronkowski left the WWE in good standing. According to Wrestling Inc, the star had a release clause in his contract that would allow him to return to the NFL given he was still under contract with the New England Patriots.
When the Patriots exercised their right to trade Gronkowski to the Buccaneers, he was under no obligation to continue with the WWE as per their release clause. Under this same clause, Gronkowski can’t make appearances with other wrestling companies.
It’s likely the tight end will go forward with a few appearances with the WWE, though he won’t be stepping into the ring until the original contract is rehashed in the future.
Does The WWE Want Gronk?
Gronkowski would have (and still may) make a great addition to the wrestling world given his larger-than-life personality and skillset. Not only is he a born athlete, but he’s also got that ineffable charisma that makes him the Gronk fans know, love, and sometimes fear.
Still, it seems to the NFL star has some bucking up to do if he wants to impress WWE fans. In fact, there’s not a large crossover in terms of demographics for audiences of both leagues. Fans of wrestling are renowned for rejecting outsiders or, in the least, making them pay their dues.
It seems some fan circles didn’t appreciate a few of Gronk’s antics at recent WrestleMania 36, which included some underwhelming dancing and trash talk. Rather than making a show out of intimidation, the tight end seemed to be a bit over-the-top and jokey.
Additionally, Gronkowski was critiqued by fellow wrestlers (though none came forward to identify themselves) for his unwillingness to perform a dive spot. During the filming of WrestleMania earlier this year, it seems the NFL star put the entire schedule behind by a few hours.
Though it’s hard to tell if this information is true, or could simply be chalked up to first-time jitters, it seems that Gronkowski will have to rethink the next contract he signs with the WWE. Like any respected sports league in the US, the wrestling group isn’t shy about releasing performers that don’t engage the audience or fit well with the rest of the wrestling team.