While he has not wrestled in a match — outside of his six-second victory squash of Erick Rowan at Wrestlemania 32 — since losing to John Cena at Wrestlemania 29, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s in-ring career is not over.
In a recent YouTube video posted to WWE’s channel, the company examined the top four free agents that were not selected in the recent WWE Draft. The Undertaker, Emma, Luke Harper, and Johnson were listed as the free agents; Johnson, along with The Undertaker are part-time performers whereas Harper and Emma are currently injured.
“In the original brand extension draft in 2002, Mr. McMahon chose The Rock as the top pick for SmackDown,” the narrator said. “The most electrifying man in all of entertainment has created a Hall of Fame worthy resume but as he showed at WrestleMania 32 with a record-breaking win over Erick Rowan his in-ring career is far from over.”
Johnson, 44, was recently named by Forbes as the highest-paid actor in Hollywood — making $64.5 million over the last year. The former 10-time World Champion has dominated the film industry since he left the WWE, but has made sporadic returns since 2011. “The People’s Champion” has wrestled six matches since making his in-ring return at Survivor Series in 2011, teaming with John Cena to face The Miz and R-Truth.
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 29, 2016
However, after his rematch against Cena at Wrestlemania 29, Johnson spoke about his in-ring future, stating the possibility that he could be retired.
“I’d like to leave it open. But if I’d never wrestle again, I’d be very content with that,” Johnson said, via Associated Press. “Winning or losing never really mattered to me. The whole idea was to put on a great match. Got injured in that match. Still was able to walk out on my own, which I was more happy about. I don’t know. We’ll see.”
With Wrestlemania 33 set to take place in Orlando, Florida, on April 2, 2017, there have been rumors of a special attraction bout taking place at the show. Johnson and his longtime co-star in the Fast and Furious film series, Vin Diesel, have reportedly experienced some personal issues — something Johnson addressed in a lengthy Instagram post.
“This is my final week of shooting #FastAndFurious8. There’s no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one. An incredible hard working crew. UNIVERSAL has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ’em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken sh*t to do anything about it anyway. Candy as*es. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling – you’re right. Bottom line is it’ll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that’s embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part????. Final week on FAST 8 and I’ll finish strong. #IcemanCometh #F8 #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses”
However, reports have surfaced stating that Johnson and Diesel have agreed to continue to play up their issues, leading to a match at Wrestlemania 33.
“It’s all for publicity,” an insider with knowledge of the situation told Life and Style Magazine. “The Rock convinced Vin to amp up the drama between them so they could turn it into a WWE match to help promote the April 2017 release of Fast 8.”
— WrestleZone.com (@WRESTLEZONEcom) August 26, 2016
Whether it be Diesel, Roman Reigns, or Brock Lesnar, the allure of having Johnson headline another Wrestlemania — and the money involved for all parties — makes at least one more match for Johnson a possibility.
[Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images]