In a stunning turn of events, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson made an unannounced return to WWE during Friday night’s SmackDown. His surprise appearance was met with an emotional exchange with his former wrestling rival, John Cena, leaving fans overwhelmed with nostalgia and excitement.
An Iconic Reunion: The Rock and John Cena Shine
As reported by PEOPLE, the wrestling world was in for a treat as former WWE rivals Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and John Cena unexpectedly crossed paths during WWE SmackDown at the Ball Arena in Denver. The heartwarming moment shared by these legendary wrestling champions sent ripples of joy throughout the fan community.
The Backstage Reunion That Stole the Show
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According to PEOPLE’s account, a clip posted on WWE’s official social media platforms captured the magical encounter. It all began with ESPN sports analyst Pat McAfee wrapping up a conversation with the 51-year-old Johnson. Just as they were parting ways, McAfee slyly pointed out Cena, 46, lurking behind Johnson. In a humorous nod to Cena’s famous catchphrase, “You can’t see me,” McAfee’s gesture ignited a frenzy of excitement among the crowd.
The camera then unveiled Cena, standing stoically behind Johnson, who greeted his former adversary without breaking his composure. However, their stern expressions were short-lived as both wrestling legends couldn’t contain their grins.
“I see you trying to smile!” Johnson playfully teased Cena, who responded with a nod. The star of “The Peacemaker” extended his hand for a handshake, warmly uttering, “Welcome home.” The emotional embrace that followed resonated deeply with the audience, resulting in thunderous cheers.
A Legacy of Rivalry and Respect
John Cena and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson share a storied history of wrestling rivalry that captivated fans for years. Their feud led to epic battles in the ring, and it became the focus of season 2 of the A&E series WWE Rivals.
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Cena didn’t hold back in criticizing Johnson, both on and off-screen, paving the way for dream matches in 2012 and 2013. In 2011, Cena openly questioned Johnson’s commitment to wrestling, sparking a fiery exchange of words between the two icons.
The WWE Rivals series even featured an archival clip of Johnson quipping, “This is what happens when idiots have confidence,” in response to Cena’s verbal jabs before their Wrestlemania showdown.
Despite the verbal sparring and legendary bouts, Cena has recently showered his former rival with praise. He expressed his hope for Johnson’s return to the wrestling scene and acknowledged his unparalleled impact on sports entertainment.
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“He’s earned the right not to be pressured into that choice. I can say he is a fan of the WWE. He is the most electrifying man in sports entertainment,” Cena remarked in 2021. While eagerly anticipating Johnson’s potential return, Cena holds immense respect for his fellow wrestler’s decisions and legacy.
Fan Reactions: Embracing the Authenticity
Fans took to social media with an outpouring of positive responses to this heartwarming reunion. Many were delighted to witness the authenticity of the bond between these two longtime rivals, appreciating the genuine connection they share.
One fan expressed, “This was cool to see, Strikes did us fans wonders low-key,” possibly alluding to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in Hollywood that have garnered significant attention.