WWE Releases Statement on Rob Gronkowski's NFL Return, Do Not Strip Him of WWE 24/7 Championship

WWE found itself in a bizarre position on Tuesday when one of its newest acquisitions, Rob Gronkowski, announced he would be returning to the NFL to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 season. Gronk signed a WWE contract back in March that reportedly included him competing in several matches, but his time with the company amounted to him making an appearance on Friday Night SmackDown and hosting both nights of WrestleMania 36. The last time he was seen on WWE television, Gronk jumped off the announcer's platform at the Performance Center and pinned Mojo Rawley to become WWE 24/7 Champion.

On Tuesday night WWE released a statement regarding Gronkowski's career decision, declaring that he had not been stripped of the 24/7 title.

"Congratulations to Rob Gronkowski, the current WWE 24/7 Champion, on his return to football," the statement read. "Per the rules of the 24/7 title, Gronk must defend his championship at all times in any location. He could be celebrating a touchdown pass from #TomBrady...anytime, anywhere."

Gronk isn't the first sports personality to win the 24/7 title, though other former champions like Enes Kanter and Kyle Busch quickly dropped the title back to a full-time WWE Superstar (usually R-Truth). Technically Gronkowski already has one of the longest reigns in the title's history given that he won it roughly 27 days ago (counting from when WrestleMania was taped).


The All-Pro tight end's NFL return marks the end of one of the strangest weeks in recent WWE history. On Wednesday the company announced it would be going through a series of cost cutting measures, which resulted in staff members, backstage producers, Performance Center coaches, announcers, referees and on-air talent getting either fired or furloughed. On top of all of that, more than 30 active wrestlers were let go.

Here's a full list of every wrestler who has been released:

  • Rusev
  • Drake Maverick
  • Karl Anderson
  • Luke Gallows
  • EC3
  • Curt Hawkins
  • Heath Slater
  • Eric Young
  • Lio Rush
  • Aiden English
  • Sarah Logan
  • Erick Rowan
  • Primo
  • Epico
  • Mike Kanellis
  • Maria Kanellis
  • Zack Ryder
  • No Way Jose
  • Deonna Purrazzo
  • Aleksandar Jaksic
  • MJ Jenkins
  • Dan Matha
  • Alyssa Marino
  • Taynara Conti
  • Nick Comoroto
  • Cezar Bononi
  • Tino Sabbatelli
  • Kassius Ohno (Reportedly)
  • Mohamed Fahim
  • Marcos Gomes
  • Faisal Kurdi
  • Hussain Aldagal
  • Yifeng (Rocky)