In a piece for Sports Illustrated, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal talked about the ups and downs of his pro wrestling career. From being released by WWE to becoming champion, Mahal has definitely had a story to tell and the 31-year-old doesn’t seem like stopping soon.
But there is one notable moment which has seemingly bugged him. It seems so long ago but at this April’s WrestleMania, Mahal was in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. When it came down to him and Mojo Rawley for the trophy, Rob Gronkowski hopped the barrier, got in the ring and shoulder-tackled Mahal, setting up Rawley to throw him over the top rope and win the match.
— WWE (@WWE) April 2, 2017
You would think that since he’s WWE Champion, Mahal got the last laugh and would forget being screwed over of a win on the WrestleMania pre-show. But Mahal hasn’t forgotten and had a message for the Patriots tight end.
“Rob Gronkowski cost me the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and I haven’t forgot that,” said Mahal. “There is definitely unfinished business between myself and Gronkowski, and I can guarantee he’ll be getting his receipt.”
In all seriousness, I can’t tell if this is real or just part of a story (that’s what makes this better) but it allowed me to let my imagination run wild. What if WWE actually had Rob Gronkowski face Jinder Mahal and Gronk wins the WWE Championship?
Now, you would think WWE would have some trepidation of making a non-wrestler the champion of your most prized belt. There is the infamous story of WCW making David Arquette WCW World Heavyweight Champion and that has been largely criticized as one of the worst things ever to happen to pro wrestling. You would think WWE wouldn’t even consider Gronk as champ because in many minds, it would cheapen the championship.
But we live in different times and it’s not the year 2000. In today’s society, making Gronk as champion would guarantee WWE dominates sports headlines and social media. This may even make mainstream news and have everyone talking about how an NFL player became WWE Champion. Sure, the traditionalist wrestling fan would absolutely hate this but I think that ship has sailed when it comes to WWE writing storylines for traditional fans.
Also, look at how Mahal became champion. About a year ago, Mahal was pretty much a jobber who was barely getting on Raw and SmackDown. He didn’t even get on the main show at WrestleMania and was losing to guys like Mojo Rawley. And then just a month and a half later, he defeated Randy Orton to become WWE Champion. Mahal was even made champion largely because WWE wanted to expand their fanbase in India and throughout Asia.
Mahal’s scenario is much different than Gronk’s in that Mahal is actually a skilled pro wrestler and has been able to keep his championship due to merit and not due to gaining fans in India, but his meteoric rise from jobber to WWE Champion in less than six months should be noted in that WWE is willing to make bold decisions if they view it helps the company.
WWE could make such a bold decision by setting up a match involving Jinder Mahal and Rob Gronkowski and Gronk winning the WWE Championship. Obviously, this likely couldn’t be a one-on-one match because there’s a good chance of the match being terrible. More than likely, it would be a Triple Threat or Fatal Four-Way so Gronk’s lack of wrestling training isn’t noticeable and since he wouldn’t need to do much, it would assure the Patriots that the injury prone tight end wouldn’t get injured. In addition, in a match with more than two participants, WWE can leave its wrestlers still looking strong despite losing to an NFL player.
Obviously, there are some caveats to this that could derail things. For one thing, Gronkowski is currently injured so even if he doesn’t do much, the Patriots would have concerns and may nix everything before it ever happens. Also, there’s no way Gronk is going to be a part of a WWE match during the NFL season and since WWE has to plan these storylines out somewhat in advance, they have to assume the worst case scenario and the Patriots would be in the Super Bowl, therefore keeping Gronk out until mid-February. And as far as Mahal goes, who knows whether or not he would remain champion by then. This really only works given Mahal and Gronk’s history. Putting Gronk against AJ Styles just doesn’t work.
But all this means Gronkowski could be open for WrestleMania and just like this year’s event, could factor in a match. Just this time, he would be competing for the WWE Championship. Think about it, the one pro wrestling event most people watch, the event that shapes the entire year in the wrestling industry and the event where celebrities most want to be a part of, it almost seems too perfect to make Gronkowski the champion and have a “WrestleMania Moment” for the ages. And if you think a pro football player cannot compete and win at WrestleMania, well you need to watch the Lawrence Taylor-Bam Bam Bigelow WrestleMania XI main event.
[Sports Illustrated/Photo: WWE]