Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Makes Surprise Return to WWE, John Cena Responds: 'Welcome Home'

The former foes faced off backstage during the broadcast of WWE 'SmackDown' Friday night and decided to hug it out

<p>WWE/ Twitter</p> Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (left) and John Cena (right)

WWE/ Twitter

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (left) and John Cena (right)

It would appear that former WWE foes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena are real-life friends after all!

In a clip posted to the WWE's official account on X (formerly known as Twitter), the two wrestling champions surprised fans by facing off during WWE SmackDown! Friday night at Ball Arena in Denver.

The backstage clip begins with ESPN sports analyst Pat McAfee finishing up a chat with Johnson, 51.

When the two are done shaking hands, McAfee points out of the camera frame behind Johnson, telling him, "Hey, there's a guy, he can't see you," referring to the 46-year-old Cena's famous wrestling catchphrase, "You can't see me."

The camera then pans over to reveal Cena standing silently behind Johnson, staring straight ahead with his hands behind his back. As the crowd erupts, an unsmiling Johnson greets his former foe.

Straight faced and showing no emotion, the two men square off, but they're unable to hold their stoic posture before both breaking into grins.

"I see you trying to smile!" Johnson said as he pointed at Cena, who nodded his head in agreement. The Peacemaker star then held his hand out for Johnson to shake, telling him, "Welcome home." The two hugged it out and the audience cheered loudly.

Mel Evans/AP/Shutterstock John Cena and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had a long wrestling rivalry that saw them battle it out on several occasions.
Mel Evans/AP/Shutterstock John Cena and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had a long wrestling rivalry that saw them battle it out on several occasions.

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Fans responded positively online, with many happy to see the longtime opponents having mellowed out.

"This was cool to see, Strikes did us fans wonders low-key," wrote one wrestling fan, likely referring to Hollywood's ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes that began over the summer.

The two fighters maintained a professional rivalry that delighted WWE fans over the years, with season 2 of the A&E series WWE Rivals exploring the notorious competition between the two wrestling icons.

Related: The Rock Lives On! Amazing Throwback Pics from Dwayne Johnson's Wrestling Days

Cena publicly criticized Johnson on and off-screen, which led to dream matches in 2012 and 2013. In 2011, Cena began rattling off to fans how Johnson hadn't been in a ring in eight years and "questioning whether or not The Rock even cares about the business," an expert said in WWE Rivals.

The show featured an old clip of Johnson saying, "This is what happens when idiots have confidence" when discussing Cena "popping off at the mouth" before their Wrestlemania match.

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Despite the war of words over the years and the legendary matches, Cena has had nothing but nice things to say about the Black Adam star lately.

Cena, who returned to the ring in 2021 after a break, told Entertainment Tonight he hoped Johnson would return to wrestling.

"He's earned the right not to be pressured into that choice. I can say he is a fan of the WWE. He is the most electrifying man in sports entertainment," the Barbie star said in 2021, acknowledging Johnson's career. "So as a fan, do I want to see one of the greatest performers of all time step back in the WWE ring? Yeah. But in no way am I gonna call him and if I'm gonna talk to him about something, it's not gonna try to be to get him back in the WWE ring."

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