The Rock Speaks On His Early Troubles In WWE
The Rock has went down in history as one of the greatest to ever enter a ring for WWE. He was the perfect blend of charisma, athletic ability, and having a great look. Despite this, his debut put him on the exact wrong path. WWE recognized they had something huge on their hands, and The Rock would debut as Rocky Maivia at Survivor Series 1996, where he would be the sole survivor for his team, which also contained Jake Roberts, Marc Mero, and The Stalker (Barry Windham) as they would defeat Crush, Goldust, Hunter Hearst Helmsley & Jerry Lawler. The Rock would defeat both Crush & Goldust to finish the match.
By February of 1997, he would already be WWE Intercontinental Champion, and fan backlash had begun. This is such a harsh feedback, that chants of Die Rocky Die would not be uncommon to hear from fans. This prompted a change for The Rock, and he would speak on this during a Q&A session on Instagram.
The Rock And His Attitude Change Made Him Into A Star
In 1997, the wrestling industry would be changing. We have more attitude being put into wrestling, Stone Cold Steve Austin is becoming an anti-authority icon, and meanwhile Rocky Maivia is playing the role of a classic 80’s babyface. “”I represented everything, at that time, that was wrong with pro wrestling, and the fans turned on me. They started chanting, ‘Rocky sucks,’ at every arena that I went to. Now imagine, at every arena that I went to they chanted, ‘Rocky sucks,’ and it was hard for me, as you can imagine psychologically, but also hard as a company. The company’s scrambling like, ‘what do we do?’ They’ve never seen anything like this before. Vince McMahon said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ a visceral reaction that is so anti what we want.”
This would prompt the change to the man who has gone down as one of the greatest wrestlers to ever enter the ring. He would become a sarcastic, smart mouthed and cocky heel, a character which would instantly resonate with fans, to the point where by late 1998 he was one of the most popular fan favorite wrestlers in the company, with him being too charismatic to ignore. It was one of the best choices WWE ever made as a company, and it’s hard to imagine what would have been if Rocky Maivia didn’t get a chance to show his true colours. Do you think The Rock would have became a star if he was never able to change his character? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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