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The Rock Returns To Host WWE WrestleMania 2011

One of the most exciting parts of WWE WrestleMania 27 for the average fan has to be the presence of The Rock, WWE legend Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, after a long absence from the industry that made him a star. The Rock — also known to wrestling diehards as The Great One, Rocky, or The Most Electrifying Man In All of Entertainment, and known to your daughter or nephew as "that guy from The Gameplan" — will host WrestleMania XXVII from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta this Sunday, and might well tussle with either World Heavyweight Champion The Miz, longtime WWE performer John Cena, or both.

You can imagine why WWE fans are excited about that prospect. The Rock's probably the most unimpeachable of the WWE's modern superstars, thanks to a run of charismatic dominance during the WWE's high point around the turn of the century, and his ability to work a mic during in-ring promos certainly hasn't deserted him.

Since that February 14 return to WWE Raw in Anaheim, The Rock has been part of the Cena/Miz storyline leading up to that duo's clash for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt at WrestleMania. And he's a great third vertex of that triangle: Cena's perpetually caught between his popularity as one of wrestling's most consistently interesting characters of the last half-dozen years and many WWE efforts to turn him heel, while Miz has parlayed fame from MTV's The Real World into a great heel character who never passes up a chance to remind the world of his greatness.

The Rock's something of a split between those two things: he's as popular and enduring a character as Cena, but has more than a bit of The Miz' arrogance to him. Oh, and he's a Far better athlete and wrestler, so seeing him get his hands a little dirty on this week's Raw have raised hopes that he'll be doing some work in the ring at WrestleMania 2011.

(That Cena rant? It's probably at least partly in response to recent anti-gay taunting in the Cena/Rock/Miz storyline, and maybe partly in response to the tough, hypermasculine character that The Rock and Cena have been riffing on for years.)

But in general, the WWE's idea is that having The Rock working the mic at WrestleMania XXVII will be at least far more entertaining than the average job done by announcers or other special guest. The Rock is still beloved in the WWE universe; it's possible that his presence at WrestleMania 2011 will make it one of the most memorable events in WWE history.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.