The short fact (from Variety) is that The Rock has (finally) come back to the WWE after a seven year absence. He appeared on Raw last night to announce that he’ll be hosting Wrestlemania XXVII next month for some mutually-beneficial cross-promotion. Basically, the Rock wants to “put over” Fast Five while McMahon hopes that having Mr. Johnson on the bill will give the pay-per-view sales a much-needed spike. Not surprisingly, he’s been trying get the people's champion to return to the WWE ever since the ol’ Hollywood career took off.
This announcement’s kind-of a timely follow-up to my editorial about whether tough guys have become passé at the movies because, let me tell you, it’s absolutely thrilling to watch an actual superstar at work in his element. And it's doubly-awesome to hear him just rip into the current crop of dudes like Cena and the Miz.
I was too obsessed with wrestling for too many years to ever totally lose an interest in the stuff (even if that interest is at arm's length, now, and even if I haven’t been watching in years.) Chalk the drop to "growing up" or whatever, but I’m still convinced that the WWE’s more organized approach to content has cut the teeth off any crossover appeal it could have these days. Sure, it makes sense internally for them to script their stars' promos, but it also dampens any of the awesome, wild spontaneity you use to get regularly from the likes of the Rock, Austin, Hogan, Savage, Roberts and, yeah, even the Warrior.
Seeing Johnson back in his element also harps on how frustrating it is to see him so often blocked from being himself. It’s the same thing that happened with Piper. Did you really want to see him as a laconic leading man in They Live, or were you just waiting for the Hot Rod to bust out (even if that sounds dirty?) The Rock promises he's here to stay and I hope that's true. I do hope so.