Former NFL star Rob Gronkowski was billed as the host of WWE’s two-night WrestleMania 36 event. But Gronk couldn’t just stand outside the ring holding a microphone all weekend. He wasn’t just going to be a host, folks. He had to get involved in the action.
As a result, Gronkowski is now a WWE titleholder as the promotion’s new 24/7 champion.
The former New England Patriots tight end won the championship Sunday night by jumping from an elevated platform onto a scrum of wrestlers and pinning his buddy Mojo Rawley.
GRONK WINS THE WWE 24/7 CHAMPIONSHIP ? #WrestleMania
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 6, 2020
Gronk showed his flair for performing by looking to the crowd before making his daring leap. Except there was no crowd for the event, held at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida due to COVID-19 social gathering concerns.
The pin on Rawley was a bit of revenge for what happened on WrestleMania’s first night of action on Saturday. Gronkowski nearly pinned R-Truth during an interview, taking advantage of his close access to lay out the champion with a forearm to the chest.
But Rawley pulled Gronkowski off R-Truth before the referee could finish her three-count, then jumped in for the pin himself. Buddies no more! We’ve got a feud!
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2020
Only in pro wrestling, people. Can you imagine Erin Andrews interviewing Odell Beckham Jr. on the sideline, then decking him so she could run out to play wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns?
For casual fans who might be unfamiliar with the title Gronkowski now holds, WWE created the 24/7 championship in 2019. Competition for the belt is open to anyone — in or out of WWE — and has to be defended any place, any time. All that’s needed is for a WWE referee to be present to count the pinfall.
Previous non-wrestler winners of the championship include NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, NBA player Enes Kanter, and Fox sportscaster Rob Stone. (But were those guys “non-wrestlers” if they were, in fact, wrestling and won a championship?) But Gronkowski isn’t really a non-wrestler anymore. Though he was presumably a host for WrestleMania 36, Gronk signed a deal with WWE to perform.
Gronkowski joined Fox Sports as an NFL analyst last season, appearing on the network’s Thursday Night Football pregame show in addition to Fox NFL Sunday. If he’s still the 24/7 champion during football season (if we have an NFL season), will he need to watch out during his studio appearances?
Could a WWE rival run onto the Fox NFL Kickoff or Fox NFL Sunday set for a sneak attack while Gronk is providing analysis for a matchup that week and take away the title? Should Gronk be on guard around Michael Strahan, Howie Long, or Terry Bradshaw in case either of them decides they want a WWE title? (Are we overlooking Curt Menefee in this scenario?)
These pregame shows may have just become more intriguing.