Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33 on Sunday, and it was partially due to the interference of…Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. This seemed pretty random unless you know the backstory that Mojo Rawley and Rob Gronkowski are friends in real life. So what’s the story behind the friendship between these two? How do they know each other?
Mojo Rawley actually used to play football before he became a professional wrestler. In May 2009, he was drafted to the Green Bay Packers, though he was waived in September 2009. In January 2010, he was signed to the Arizona Cardinals.
Rawley had previously played football for the University of Maryland. During this time, Rawley met Dan Gronkowski and Chris Gronkowski, Rob’s brothers who also played for the University of Maryland. It was through Dan and Chris that Mojo Rawley and Rob Gronkowski met.
Rob Gronkowski says that it was because of Mojo Rawley that he got into wrestling; he says he had been into wrestling as a kid but didn’t follow it as much as an adult until his friend joined the WWE.
“[E]ver since he’s been in it, now I know way more about wrestling and I’m definitely a way bigger fan now,” Gronkowski told Cageside Seats. “It’s always something like that, when you have a buddy [doing] something, you always pay a lot more attention to it. Say like a pro athlete team, if you have a buddy on that team, you pay attention a lot more to that team.”
Rawley and Gronkowski frequently hang out, and back in February 2016, they spent a week partying on a cruise ship, according to SB Nation.
Back in October 2016, Mojo Rawley said that Rob Gronkowski really wanted to get into the wrestling ring himself, and so in retrospect, his role in WrestleMania 33 was not random at all.
“Trust me we’ve had that conversation many times, me and Gronk,” Rawley told KUSI News in San Diego. “He’s dying to get in the ring. I can tell you it won’t be while he’s in season. He’s got to focus.”