February 14, 2011. Valentine’s Day. But even more important in WWE circles, the big reveal as to who would be the WrestleMania 27 host. It was a unique circumstance, considering it was rare WWE would have a host for its biggest event of the year. In recent years, it has become a custom almost as The New Day, Hulk Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, and Alexa Bliss have all been hosts. But before 27, it was mostly about celebrities showing up and making simple appearances. But on this special episode of Monday Night Raw, they made it a real event. As ring announcer Justin Roberts got on the microphone all he did was tease it as the fans watched the stage. And then as the electricity went through and the lights went off, it was clear this was huge. For the first time in seven years, The Rock was back on WWE television.
The crowd erupted like it was 2000 and the Attitude Era was strong as ever. He enjoyed the moment. Took every single moment in as he stared into the crowd. The Rock was home.
“After seven long years… Finally… Finally… Finally The Rock has come back to Anaheim. Which means finally The Rock has come back to Monday Night Raw. Which means finally The Rock has come back home.”
It was as though he never left. Hollywood never happened. The catchphrases were back, the witty flavor was all still there. He told Michael Cole it did not matter what he thought. Just like that, he had the fans in the palm of his hand once again. Everything was right about The Rock being back. His guarantee was to make the world know “The Most Electrifying Man” was home. And then he dropped the massive bomb that no one was prepared for. He called out “The Franchise” himself, John Cena.
He mocked his colorful t-shirts and what he represented before going back to electrifying WrestleMania. It was surreal to see him back in the arena and little did the world know that his words to Cena would be the beginning of the biggest feud since Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. In the weeks and months following, Cena would pass jabs back and forth ahead of Cena’s WWE Championship match at “The Grandest Stage of Them All” against The Miz.
After all, it was Cena who took the first shot physically as he hit the Attitude Adjustment on Rock in an episode of Raw after helping him fight back against The Miz and Alex Riley. It was only right for Dwayne, as Cena teased once or twice, to hit him back on the biggest stage. A Rock Bottom in the middle of the ring during the main event of WrestleMania was the exclamation point to inspire the “Once in a Lifetime” match the following year.
Never did anyone expect Rock to come back, despite him saying he always would. And little did anyone know that his return to host WrestleMania would lead to him competing the following year. It led to six matches since that moment, with two massive WrestleMania bouts against John Cena. He won the WWE Championship for the first time since 2002 in 2013 when he ended CM Punk‘s 434 day reign as champion and has made sure to be a part of WWE moving forward, even if he’s not always there.
As we celebrate the decade long anniversary of The Rock coming home to WWE, we realize he is still not done. The Rock has said in the past he is retired, but it’s unlikely he finishes his career with his final match against Erick Rowan. There is one match worthy of him coming back one last time to get in the ring. The Rock vs. Roman Reigns. That is the match and with Los Angeles on its way as a WrestleMania stage, you know it is coming.
So appreciate the return and prepare for him to have that one final match soon enough.
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