The Rock Praises Brock Lesnar as 'One of the Greatest Pure Athletes' He Ever Wrestled

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 27, 2022

The Rock (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson celebrated the 20th anniversary of his 2002 SummerSlam match against Brock Lesnar with praise for his former in-ring rival.

"I always had great chemistry with Brock as he was one of the greatest pure athletes I've ever danced with," The Rock wrote Saturday on Instagram. "We spent about six months wrestling around the world together, grooming Brock to become WWE heavyweight champion."

The Rock's loss in that match marked the beginning of his transition from being a full-time WWE Superstar to a part-time contributor over the next few years as he focused more on his burgeoning career in Hollywood.

"My contract was up in WWE and I quietly—and GRATEFULLY—retired as a full time pro wrestler after an incredible (and insanely short) six-year career," he wrote.

The People's Champion has returned to WWE on several occasions over the years, including a pair of WrestleMania main events against John Cena in 2012 and 2013.

Lesnar also left WWE after his initial run to focus on the UFC, where he captured the promotion's heavyweight championship during an initial four-year tenure from 2008 through 2011.

The former NCAA wrestling champion has since returned to WWE and served as one of its biggest draws despite a part-time schedule.

Meanwhile, the biggest question surrounding The Rock from a wrestling perspective is whether he'll return for one final feud, likely with Roman Reigns, the company's biggest star of the modern era and a fellow member of the famed Anoa'i family.

Reigns said Thursday on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast (via Marco Rovere of Wrestling Inc.) he's happy the idea is creating interest after it was teased on the NBC show Young Rock about Johnson's life, though nothing is set in stone.

"Update is Dwayne is dropping it with his own projects," Reigns said. "It's got to be pretty good, it's got to be pretty special. I think that just goes to show the clammer, the buzz for it, the chatter for it, the wishful thinking."

The Rock didn't provide a direct update in Saturday's Instagram post, but he did close with a note about why he's continued to make WWE comebacks over the years.

"I just f'n love wrestling," he wrote.

One more run, even if it's just for a few months to build to a WrestleMania showdown with Reigns, could be the perfect cap to his legendary wrestling career.

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