Maria Menounos has been the subject of several WWE-related rumors in recent weeks, but it looks like at least one of them was true.
The “Extra” host will be inducting Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame during the April 6th ceremony, according to an official press release from the WWE.
The two have worked together in the past, forming a close bond while filming the movie “In the Land of Merry Misfits” and running together in the Nike Celebrity Road Race.
Maria described her relationship with Backlund in saying, “He’s my hero and my friend.”
Menounos even attended last year’s SummerSlam dressed in a Bob Backlund t-shirt, pictured above.
Read the full press release below:
WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that Extra Host Maria Menounos will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013 as part of WrestleMania® Week.
Maria Menounos competed at WrestleMania 28 in Miami, FL on April 1, 2012. She will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall Of Fame Class of 2013 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013. (Photo: Business Wire)
Menounos has made multiple appearances on WWE programming dating back to 2009 when she made her in-ring debut and co-hosted Monday Night Raw with Nancy O’Dell. In 2011, Menounos appeared at WWE Tribute to the Troops where she teamed with Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox to defeat the team of The Bella Twins and WWE Divas Natalya and Beth Phoenix. Menounos continued her feud after Phoenix and Eve Torres interrupted an interview segment with Kelly Kelly on Extra. This led to a tag team match at WrestleMania 28 where she teamed with Kelly Kelly to defeat Torres and Phoenix.
Menounos, a lifelong WWE fan, idolized Backlund while growing up and met him through partner Keven Undergaro, who as Head Writer of MTV’s Singled Out, cast Backlund to guest star alongside Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick. Menounos then worked with Backlund on the comedy feature, In the Land of Merry Misfits, and the two have been close ever since. Backlund was present at Menounos Miss Massachusetts USA competition and ran alongside her at the Nike Celebrity Road Race.
“It is an honor to induct my good friend Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame,” said Maria Menounos. “Watching him carry the title for a since unmatched five years and then stage such an incredible comeback with a reinvented persona puts him in a class all his own. Add in his incredible work ethic and high moral caliber, and you have everything that defines the word champion. And astonishingly, he can still wrestle with guys a third his age! He’s my hero and my friend. I can’t wait for the ceremony on April 6.”
“I am truly humbled to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame,” said Bob Backlund. “Maria has been a friend for years and I can’t think of someone I would rather have induct me at Madison Square Garden.”
A one-hour Hall of Fame special will air on Tuesday, April 9 at 10:00 p.m. ET on USA Network. WrestleMania 29 airs live on pay-per-view Sunday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
The 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place April 6th in New York City.