Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson returns to WWE

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Compiled by Ian Saleh
Washington Post Staff  
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 11:44 AM

News of the long-awaited comback of The Rock to professional wrestling has gotten people talking, as Celebritology reported:

Can you smell what "The Rock" is cooking? It has the distinct odor of publicity stunt.

The football player turned professional wrestler turned movie star made his first appearance in seven years on Monday night's "WWE Raw" to announce that he'll be hosting Wrestlemania 27. While that sentence makes about as much sense to me as "Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich," I'm assured by a WWE fan of my acquaintance that this is, indeed, big news.

Johnson, who used his WWE popularity as a launching pad for a career making a string of meathead-does-good movies, later found success as "The Scorpion King" and in kid fare like "Race to Witch Mountain." He is also one of the most surprisingly funny "SNL" guest hosts, most recently making appearances as "The Rock" Obama.

WWE is using social networking to engage fans and build hype for The Rock's return, as Justin Bank explained:

The WWE is focused on extending storylines from their cable shows to your Facebook feed. Mashable recently reviewed the company's social media strategies and concluded that:

The strategy seems to be working for WWE so far. It has 16.8 million fans across its Facebook pages, and its an active fan base. The main WWE Page ranks at #45 on the list of top pages by fan count, and each posts yields on average 5,000 interactions (comments and likes) each. Last year, WWE's top 30 Facebook Pages received more than 1 billion post impressions and 7.1 million interactions, according to WWE.

So the creative minds that once worked up angles turning Shawn Michaels's heel by giving Marty Jannety sweet chin music through Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake's window now help @TheMiz call @JohnCena a "midcard jobber" on Twitter. The Rock has parachuted back into this wider digital landscape where personality, mike skills, and the ability to shoot an effective promo are as important, if not more so, than actual ring skills. Last night, he even was asking fans to upload their pictures from the night to his Facebook page, demonstrating that the Rock wanted to smell-la-la-la-la-la what his fans were cooking.

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