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Dwayne Johnson is one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time. But, in an Instagram post Monday, The Rock paid tribute to the greats who inspired him.
In the post, which came after an appearance at the WWE 17th Anniversary “ICON vs ICON” match, Johnson listed Ric Flair, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan as the three greatest wrestlers of all time—and thanked the three legends for the paving the way for him.
“I just worked very hard, connected with the audience and caught a break,” Johnson wrote. “These GOATS were good enough to recognize I had something to offer and graciously passed the torch.”
“Grateful,” he added.
Johnson, who has since become one of the biggest and most bankable movie stars on the planet, shot to fame in the 1990s alongside Austin—another of the biggest stars of wrestling’s “Attitude Era.” Flair was among the Rock’s high-profile “feuds” in the ring.
Johnson’s Instagram post came after a weekend meeting on the mat with Hulk Hogan, one of the most iconic wrestlers of all-time, at WrestleMania in Toronto to determine “who would go down in [WWE] history as THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME.”
“There was no Heavyweight Championship on the line,” Johnson wrote. “Just two men. Just two careers.”
Johnson “won” the bout with his “childhood hero” before an enthusiastic audience he described in the post as “the most insane ELECTRIC crowd I have ever had the privilege to perform in front of.”
“It was almost as if every single person that night in the Toronto SkyDome made up their mind that they would give every ounce of energy they had because they knew this match was only going to be seen once in a lifetime,” he continued.
“My friend and childhood hero, Hulk Hogan passed the torch to me on this historic night,” Johnson said. “But the truth is—to me—the GOAT are the three men…who paved the way for me and so many others in pro wrestling.”