Hollywood Megastar (2003)
The Rock had left WWE to kick start his Hollywood career in 2002, so when he finally returned to the ring in 2003, there was a sense of enthusiasm among the fans. People were expecting the old People's Champion to return and reclaim his throne. But what they got was completely different from his old gimmick.
The Rock was no longer the People's Champion. Due to his success in Hollywood, he had turned arrogant and started looking down at the wrestling business, an industry that made him famous in the first place.
Even though this run as the arrogant heel was short, it produced some of the best heel work of all time and Rock went on to overshadow his corporate guy heel run. He started disparaging the crowd and his opponents on a weekly basis and debuted the “Rock Concert” segments, where he’d mock the show’s host city.
During this time, we saw Rock getting prominent victories over wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin before falling to Goldberg at Backlash. After this, he again went to Hollywood to resume his movie career, but this was truly Rock's best run in a very brief period of time.
Rock vs Cena Trilogy
By 2011, The Rock was one of the biggest names in Hollywood and John Cena was the face of the wrestling business. So, naturally, the rumors about a possible rivalry between the two created a lot of hype when Rock was announced as the guest host of Wrestlemania 27.
WWE saw it as a big opportunity and booked the match for Wrestlemania 28 a year in advance. They promoted it as a "Once in a Lifetime" match and attracted lots of casual fans. The match itself felt special and The Rock prevailed at the end.
Writers should have left this feud here, but they decided to bank on the success of the first match a year later when they again booked the match between the two at Wrestlemania 29. By that point, Rock had overstayed his welcome and fans were not happy to see CM Punk getting buried due to this rivalry, who at that time was doing wonders with the WWE Championship.
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His promos for the first time in his career felt repetitive and their match was not even half as enjoyable as the first one.Since 2014, Rock had made several guest appearances in WWE. He was a regular guest from Wrestlemania 30 to Wrestlemania 32 as part of different shticks.
At Wrestlemania 31, he helped Ronda Rousey overpower Stephnie McMahon, and at Wrestlemania 32 he appeared to announce the record-breaking crowd attendance before squashing Erick Rowan in just 6 seconds.Even outside the Show of Shows, he keeps on embracing the fans with his presence on special occasions like Royal Rumble 2015.
Even though these appearances do not mean anything as far as the storyline goes, it always attracts a large number of crowd and brings in a sense of nostalgia.
Due to his success in Hollywood and his busy schedule, he might not wrestle again, but these one-off appearances still feel special.He might be known as a Hollywood legend to a bigger group of people, but for the people who grew up hearing his energetic promos, he will always be the People's Champion.