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The WWE is nearing the home stretch on the road to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, which is causing former legends of the franchise to get all nostalgic about classic matches from pay-per-views past. Dwayne Johnson, for example, posted a tribute marking the 16-year anniversary of his match against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18, sharing a touching story behind one of the biggest matches of his career. And naturally, we get to smell, er, see The Rock cooking up a few electrifying moments from that showdown.
In his Instagram post, Dwayne Johnson told fans his win that night signified Hulk Hogan's "passing of the torch" the unofficial big stage endorsement that Hogan similarly received from Andre The Giant a decade and a half prior. The Rock and Hogan's "Icon vs. Icon" match at Wrestlemania 18 was a most epic conclusion to a year-in-the-making project that was first constructed by Vince McMahon. The win would signify The Rock as one of pro wrestling's "greatest of all time," a title he would carry on into other forms of entertainment soon after. Just one month after The Rock faced Hulk Hogan, his first starring film, The Scorpion King, would debut in theaters. The Rock has certainly starred in far more successful films since, but it signaled the career shift from wrestler The Rock to actor Dwayne Johnson.
This emotional tribute to Hulk Hogan could almost be seen as a little dicey by WWE's top brass, given the organization severed ties with the wrestling legend some time ago. Of course, Johnson is the most globally successful entertainer to emerge from the organization, so one wouldn't expect Vince McMahon to revoke The Rock's invitation to WrestleMania 34 just because he showed some respect to Hogan's athleticism on social media. Johnson's post may have even been planned as rumors have swirled in the wrestling community that the WWE may be bringing Hogan back prior to or at WrestleMania 34, as other wrestlers have attempted to work the former wrestling superstar into the upcoming festivities. '80s wrestler Hillbilly Jim, who will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on WrestleMania weekend, even went so far as to say he'd like Hogan to give his induction speech:
WWE will air WrestleMania 34 on the WWE Network on Sunday, April 8, with coverage beginning sometime in the afternoon ET. For a look at more upcoming programming, head on over to our midseason premiere guide to see a list of premiering shows new and old. For more on Dwayne "The Rock," Johnson, check out what the actor had to say about the success of Black Panther and how its motivated him to up his acting game even higher than it already is.