That old talking point about Vince McMahon being willing to do anything he asks of performers holds true.
Rob Gronkowski is back in the NFL, and carrying his WWE 24/7 Title all over the place, and Vince McMahon may be even more responsible for that than you realize.
"I think Vince would do pretty well on this show, the eccentric character that he is. You look at [Axe], and he's unassuming," Becky Lynch told Scott Fishman of TV Insider when asked about how Vince would do on the show "Billions." "Vince is such a larger-than-life character. At the same time, I watched him the other day demonstrate falling off a tower at 74-years-old without a bother, brushing his shoulders off and standing up again."
This led to Fightful Select poking around about what happened during this spot. We're told it was actually at the WrestleMania 36 rehearsals. A nervous Rob Gronkowski was preparing for his 24/7 Title spot, just a couple of weeks before he'd announce a return to the NFL. In order to show him that the spot was safe, Vince McMahon actually did the dive himself. The story was verified by a half dozen people within WWE, as well as some that have since left.
One person in the building said those there caught it and had a reaction of "did that just happen?," and that Vince McMahon said something to the nature of "not so bad, is it?" You may remember that Vince McMahon also did Shawn Michaels' zipline entrance at the WrestleMania 12 rehearsals....though that was way back 24 years ago.
After our original story ran, a WWE name contacted us and said that Gronk was "terrified" of the dive, and that he had the benefit of a dozen of the biggest NXT guys catching him. Even after Vince McMahon did the spot, it took a significant amount of time to convince Gronkowski. The low angle you saw on TV was because production had to make it look better as Gronk bent his knees and practically fell off the platform "like a toddler jumping into the pool for the first time."
This report first appeared on our premium Fightful Select service. Subscribe to support our exclusive and independent coverage of professional wrestling. You'll get access to exclusive news, and dozens of additional podcasts.