WrestleMania 36 is almost here, with former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski set to serve as the host of the two-day event. The former NFL star has received some advice and encouragement from a wrestling legend ahead of the event, too, as Ric Flair said that he recently spoke with the three-time Super Bowl champion while hyping up the event during an appearance on ESPN Friday.
“All I did was text him ‘you are phenomenal,’” said the 16-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer. “The kid is a world-class athlete. He brings so much to us. He loves wrestling. He’s respectful. The first time I met him, he was just a regular guy. As are all the guys. LeBron loves us. The cross-demographic appeal of pro athletes from wrestling to football to baseball, I could go down the line of people I know and hang out with. They can’t wait for this. They love it. This is a huge, huge venue. Keep in mind that if they don’t understand football in Japan, they understand wrestling. They don’t understand golf in Saudi Arabia, they understand wrestling. It’s a worldwide demographic that loves wrestling, loves entertainment, loves the superstars. And I have to give my daughter (Charlotte) love. She’s the greatest female wrestler of all time. Tune in for her.”
Flair’s daughter, Charlotte, won the 2020 Royal Rumble. That victory earned her a championship match of her choosing at the event. She faces NXT Champion Rhea Ripley this weekend. Charlotte Flair main evented last year’s event in a triple threat match that saw Becky Lynch defeat both Charlotte and MMA icon Ronda Rousey.
WrestleMania takes place annually as the biggest event in professional wrestling. The 36th edition of “the showcase of the immortals” was originally scheduled for this Sunday from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The events of the coronavirus forced WWE to shut down the event and relocate all activities to its performance studio behind closed doors in Orlando.
WrestleMania 36 boasts multiple main events. One sees former WCW icon and Georgia Bulldog Bill Goldberg defend the WWE Universal Title defend his championship. His original foe was slated to be Roman Reigns, who pulled out of the event to due his own battle with leukemia and health concerns related to the coronavirus.
“Well you know, in this time I think we believe, WWE, I think our talent, our staff, our crew -that probably now more than ever, entertainment for people is a necessity,” WWE executive and former champion Triple H told ESPN on Sunday night. “And them having something that they can tune into, forget about everything that’s going on or what they have happening in their lives or not being able to leave their house, or whatever it is, and just tune out for a few hours, tune into something that’s just fantastical, and just forget about it all. And we feel not only the need to do that but sort of the obligation to do that for people.
“Our fans are there for us year-round. They’ve been doing it for years, and we have a message in the WWE that is, we say what our jobs are every day is to put smiles on people’s faces all over the globe, and we truly believe that. And in this time, maybe more than any other in my memory, people need those smiles right now more than anything. So you know, we choose to carry on and to try to be able to deliver those smiles.”
Other marquee matches include the in-ring return of John Cena, who faces Bray Wyatt, and Raw Women’s champion Becky Lynch against challenger Shayna Baszler. Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey for the title at WrestleMania last year.
The expected main event will be Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre against Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.