Rob Gronkowski is getting ready to jump into professional wrestling.
WWE is close to finalizing a deal with the former Patriots tight end and current Fox analyst, according to a report by FS1’s “WWE Backstage” on Tuesday night. How Gronkowski will be used is still to be determined, but he could appear on WWE television as early as the March 20 “Friday Night SmackDown” on Fox.
The 30-year-old Gronkowski, who retired from the NFL a year ago, is close friends with WWE superstar Mojo Rawley. Gronkowski jumped the barricade and attacked Jinder Mahal to help Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33 in 2017. The two were photographed together at Gronkowski’s Super Bowl weekend beach party with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Patriots coach Bill Belichick in February.
Gronkowski addressed the possibility of joining WWE in August — saying at the time it could happen in “maybe five years.”
“I don’t feel like I would be a full-time wrestler, but there is one thing I’m down for and that’s one crazy match,” Gronkowski said. “Practice it for a little bit, go out there – like in a Royal Rumble – go out there, I got my friend in WWE [Rawley], practice and do a full-on WWE match.”
If Gronkowski does appear on WWE television in the coming weeks, it would leave open the possibility of him doing something at WrestleMania 36 on April 5. Also SummerSlam is at Boston’s TD Garden on Aug. 23. Rawley told ESPN in October that he could see the two of them doing a tag match if the three-time Super Bowl champion made the jump to WWE.
WWE linking up with the colorful and eccentric Gronkowski makes sense even if he is not a full-time wrestler. He is already under contract for Fox as an NFL analyst and the network is in the first year of a five-year deal that pays WWE $205 million annually for SmackDown. The network also has the “WWE Backstage” studio show. Adding Gronkowski to the WWE should bring more mainstream eyeballs and attention on the product and allow for even more cross-promotional opportunities if Gronkowski signs and his run extends into football season.
If Gronkowski does sign with WWE and gets in the ring, he would join the likes of Lawrence Taylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Tyson Fury and other pro athletes who have crossed over into the wrestling ring. WWE also currently has former UFC champions Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey and Cain Velasquez under contract.