Despite recent speculation that he wouldn’t be at Wrestlemania in 2016 due to ongoing movie commitments, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson confirmed via Instagram Monday that he would indeed make an appearance at the WWE’s marquee event.
The show is expected to set an all-time pro wrestling attendance record and Rock admittedly wants to play his own part in helping set that attendance record.
Here is his official statement:
“IT’S OFFICIAL: People’s Champ is coming home to do 3 things with THE PEOPLE: Set an ALL-TIME attendance record, ELECTRIFY Dallas like never before & make all time #WRESTLEMANIA history. And we have FUN. Ok that’s four things but you know what the hell The Rock’s sayin’.. . THANK YOU #WWEUniverse! It’s always an honor coming home and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. #PeoplesChamp4L #MakingElectrifyingHistory #SmackethLaidDownOnThyCandyAsses”
Wrestlemania 32 will be held at AT&T Stadium in Dallas as part of a big weekend that also features an NXT TakeOver event, the annual Hall of Fame ceremony and the always-raucous post-Mania RAW, traditionally the hottest and most highly rated show of the year.
This will be the fifth straight Wrestlemania appearance for Johnson, who had a two-year break during which he and the company were on tenuous terms in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, he made his return to host the Atlanta show, and got involved in the WWE championship match between John Cena and The Miz, leading to a challenge to Cena at the following year’s show in his hometown of Miami, which would end up being a non-title match.
Following that show, Rock announced that he was “back” and his goal now was to win the WWE World title. He did just that at the following year’s Royal Rumble, ending CM Punk’s year-plus reign. This set up a return match with Cena, who had won the Rumble match. Rock dropped the belt to Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania 29 and suffered a serious injury in that match. The injury delayed the filming of the big-budget Hercules movie and put into question the idea of Rock ever wrestling another match.
In 2014, at the New Orleans Superdome (or Silverdome), the Rock made an announced and unadvertised appeared in the show’s opening segment. He, Steve Austin and Mania host Hulk Hogan went back and forth in an entertaining verbal sparring match. The three shared beers without any physical confrontation.
At least year’s show in another unadvertised, but not unexpected, appearance, Rock appeared again to break up a Stephanie McMahon/Triple H interview segment. This led to a verbal barrage by Stephanie on the Rock in which she also got physical. Not one to bestow physical violent on a woman (especially in this PG era), Rock introduced then-UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey to physically confront Stephanie. Rousey was seated at ringside and entered the ring in perhaps the most memorable moment of the entire show.
This was expected to set up a potential match, or even matches, involving Rock, Rousey, Stephanie and Triple H at this year’s show. Rousey’s movie commitments and UFC contract led to her being taken out of the equation fairly early, and it was reported a couple months back already that Rock would not be available for a match either.
His appearance on the show this year should help to some degree, but him not being in a match will prevent it from making a major impact. Nothing is going to top last year’s appearance and we’ve already seen him wrestle in high-profile matches at recent shows. But this certainly won’t hurt and gives WWE a name with some mainstream credibility to put on the show’s marquee and in advertising hype for the event.
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