WWE WrestleMania Flashback: John Cena battles The Rock at WrestleMania 28

With the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble now a thing of the past, the road to WrestleMania is all clear. While both Monday Night RAW and SmackDown Live each have their own brand-exclusive pay-per-view to get to before the biggest show of the year, we’re all already looking towards WrestleMania 33, aren’t we?

Being firmly on the road to the latest edition of the Showcase of the Immortals, it’s time to take a look back at some of the best clashes in the illustrious history of the event. We’re going to start this weekly journey by traveling back to another ‘Mania event held in the state of Florida, WrestleMania 28 in Miami.


It was a match a year in the making, billed as a “Once in a Lifetime” event and hyped as the “greatest main event in WrestleMania history.” As we near the five-year anniversary of this historic encounter, let’s take a look back at John Cena vs. The Rock from WrestleMania XXVIII.

When The Rock left WWE for the bright lights of Hollywood following his tag team match with Mick Foley against Evolution at WrestleMania 20, I think most WWE fans expected him to come back at some point. I mean, that’s what wrestlers do, right? They leave or “retire” but they always come back for that one final match. But outside of the occasional pre-taped video segment, The Rock was really gone, and as they’ve done after every other big-name star is finally done, WWE just moved on and found a new star to build the company around.

And that star’s name was John Cena.

But given that The Rock had become one of the biggest movie stars in the world, you still couldn’t get away from his infectious presence and so many WWE fans always held out hope that he would someday make a triumphant to his roots for that one final moment. And the new stars of WWE, like John Cena, couldn’t escape questions about him either.

While so many others praised The Rock for what he had done for the business, John Cena had no problem stepping up to the plate and bashing him for leaving, something that Cena later says he apologized for. But it did cause a little rift between the two in the media, but no one at the time thought it would turn into anything more than that. That was until 2011, when it was announced that The Rock would finally be returning to WWE to host WrestleMania XXVII, and during his return appearance on RAW for the first time  in seven years, he immediately inserted himself into the WWE Championship feud between Cena and The Miz. That resulted in Cena giving laying him out with an AA a few weeks later and The Rock returning the favor by hitting a Rock Bottom on Cena during the closing bout at WrestleMania, which cost him the WWE title.

Okay — so now what?

The two confronted each other the next night on RAW, and while maybe you thought we were going to finally see these two have a match that night or maybe at the next pay-per-view, they shocked everyone by announcing that they would indeed get it on — in one year at WrestleMania 28. And all of a sudden, The Rock was gone again.