Mojo Rawley was touted as a future star by WWE once upon a time, but a return to the company now looks unlikely. But what happened to him? How was he put in hospital and faced with a 19 month battle for his life and what is he now doing to help his fellow wrestlers in these tough times?
What Happened To Mojo Rawley?
Mojo Rawley was set to return to the ring in 2022, but his comeback match fell through. He was booked to wrestle at the controversial Wrestling Entertainment Series in Nottingham in July, but the event was ultimately cancelled.
The event was steeped in controversy, with the company booking out the 10,000 seat Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England. This was an outrageous number for an upstart company run by two former WWE midcarders (Sunny Dhinsa and Gzim Selmani, the former Authors of Pain in WWE).
Real name Dean Muhtadi, was booked to wrestle against Killian Dain on the event, but failed to make his in-ring return at the show. However, he made good on his promise to the fans in the area and put on a meet-and-great on the day of the show for those who had bought tickets to the event.
However, Rawley seems incredibly keen to continue his wrestling career, despite suffering horribly with COVID-19 during a scary time in the pandemic. He spoke to Sports Illustrated about training with Tyler Breeze and Shawn Spears en route to his comeback, stating he is “hyped and ready to get back in the ring”.
“I can’t sit back anymore. I’m hyped and I’m ready to get back in the ring, and it’s been awesome to work with two friends, who know my strengths and weaknesses, to get me back in the game.”
He also spoke about his battle with COVID-19, which almost killed the former Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner. Despite being in his 30s and in incredible shape, he almost sucombed to the illness and was affected for many months to come.
“My lungs took a serious beating. It got scary. For months, every breath I took was an active process. And it was early into Covid, so there really wasn’t an active treatment plan. Slowly, I’ve ramped up my training, but I did it smartly“
Whilst he could not wrestle for a long period of time, Mojo Rawley did not sit still. His natural state of “hype” was in full flow and he set up creating a business around something he is passionate about – helping out his fellow wrestlers. He recently set up his own talent agency called “Paragon Talent Group”, wanting to bring the world of NFL-style agents in the world of pro wrestling.
His goal was to have his agency handle “bookings and representation” and help out WWE superstars that were once in the system but fired from the promotion. He wants to help them out, protect them and get them paid fairly for their work in a world may they may yet to have learnt their true worth.
“We just want to do everything for our guys. When you’re with WWE, they take care of everything for you. They handle all your bookings and representation. You can’t have agents; you can’t have managers. So when you get out of WWE, there’s really no one out there to help you out. So with my business background and my business partner. We just wanted to come up with a place where we can protect the talent and ensure they’re getting the rates they deserve but reintroduce the outside world to professional wrestling again.
The former WWE star has not given up on wrestling but has found a new business to help him move forward in life outside of the ring. A Mojo Rawley comeback to WWE seems impossible now that he has built up his own business, although his services may be one WWE wants to use in order to help out their talents when they are released from their contracts.
There have been a number of WWE releases over the recent years (with Mojo Rawley being part of that), so aftercare for their former wrestlers should be a priority for the Triple H-run company. Mojo could help bridge the gap between WWE and the independent scene, doing some good for the famously controversial wrestling business.
However, like any good agent, he will also be making money off the deal. He’s not just a kind man, but a smart one too.
He has also revealed that his agency represent many different AEW wrestlers. This has left the door open for a Dean Muhtadi AEW debut, but he revealed that talks about him wrestling for the company have not been happening.
“I actually haven’t spoken person with Tony Khan at all. We do represent some AEW talent, and mission number one with them is not put them in a position that’s going to put them in a tough place with AEW … We’ve had plenty of conversations with the team at AEW. They’re familiar with what we have going on.”
Mojo Rawley suffered from COVID-19 which almost killed him
Mojo Rawley revealed last year that a bout of COVID-19 left him bedbound and fearing for his life. Despite being 35 and in great shape, as a professional wrestler, the illness left him gasping for breath and “did a number” on his lungs.
In an interview with TMZ Sport, the former WWE superstar revealed his 19 month struggle with illness that left him hospitalised and bedbound and gave him a “really bad lung injury” of which he thought may never get better.
“I’ve been struggling with a 19-month fight with COVID, actually. I got it last June 2020, far back as that. Really had a rough go. Had to go the hospital, I had a fever of 104 for quite some time and I developed a really bad lung injury out of it somehow.
“I guess that’s just kinda the nature of COVID. My lungs are just in bad shape. I couldn’t lay on my back or my side for a long time because it was suffocating me. Tight shirts were challenging and there were just days I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t get in enough air to talk, couldn’t leave the house. Kinda had to shut down everything and just focus on literally every single solitary breath at a time to try and make it through the day. It was a really challenging thing.”
Rawley tested positive for COVID whilst under WWE contract, but was released from his contract by the company in April 2021 as one of many budget cuts by the WWE. His last match was on the June 15, 2020, episode of SmackDown against Chad Gable and ended a mixed run in WWE that lasted 9 years.
Mojo Rawley wont be returning to WWE any time soon, unless the promotion plan to bring in his best friend Rob Gronkowski again. Both Rawley and the former NFL star have wrestled in WWE, with both men winning the WWE 24/7 Champion. The Gronk made his debut by helping his friend to eliminate Jinder Mahal to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 32, his first major championship victory of his career.
Would you like to see him return to the WWE? Let us know what you think and if you’d prefer to see him reunite with former tag team partner Matt Cardona (Zack Ryder) on the independent circuit.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.