In his latest piece for PWP Nation, John “JCD” Dimiceli expresses his thoughts on how The Rock isn’t who we think he is.
Back in 1996, I sat in Madison Square Garden, as a wide eyed rookie made his WWE debut at Survivor Series. His name was Rocky Maiva. As the sole survivor, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross proclaimed, “that’s a bluechipper right there” and at the time I couldn’t agree more. Exactly two years later Rocky was on top of the world as WWE Champion. For the next four years, Rock would emerge on top of WWE and beginning a rise in Hollywood as well.
Rock was working with all the top stars of his generation: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Undertaker, Mick Foley, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and many others. Wins, losses, who got over on who didn’t matter because there was loads of 50/50 booking, and during that era it worked. Even during his 2003 heel run, he worked with some undercard talents and event put guys like Booker T and The Hurricane over.
But after that, something changed… actually, The Rock changed. To me it started around the build for WrestleMania 20. The Rock would Team with Mick Foley to take on Randy Orton, Ric Flair and Batista in a 3 on 2 handicap match. Looking back at the build on Raw and even the match itself, he seemed off. He did not seem as into it as he was in the past. To me it seems that he was in a program that he wasn’t going over, and was taking off again right after, so it wasn’t a top priority to him. There is also the story that he was asked to put Randy Orton over in the summer of ’04, and supposedly responded “That’s Mick’s job.” The same Mick that got him over in late 1998 into 1999.
Then in 2005, his contract expired, it has been greatly debated as to whether or not WWE “owed” it to him to renew it, or were they right to let someone who brought nothing to the table anymore walk away. Personally, I leaned toward the latter. After barely making a handful of appearances in the next few years, it truly seemed like he was gone and done for good.
In late 2010, an idea, based off real life comments, started to go into motion. Bring The Rock back for WrestleMania, and set up at least one match with John Cena. Rock was introduced as the “Guest Host” of WrestleMania 27. The Rock would return on Raw and claim he was back and was never leaving again. This was a bold face lie. This would lead to several interactions with John Cena that would overshadow Cena’s main event match with then WWE Champion The Miz.
Rock would be at WrestleMania and appear in far too many segments. It has been speculated that due to the multiple Rock segments, the match featuring the WrestleMania debut of Wade Barrett and The Corre was cut disgustingly short. Once The Rock got involved with John Cena, it was obvious where we were headed, and the night after WrestleMania 27, The Rock and John Cena would agree to set up the main event for Wrestlemania 28 one year early. For reasons unknown to this day, The Rock and Cena had to randomly lay out the Corre led by Wade Barrett.
Along we went to the road to Wrestlemania 28, and the idea was hatched to have The Rock and Cena team at Survivor Series against the red hot act that was the Awesome Truth (R–Truth & The Miz). In the build to the match, The Rock never even took a bump for Miz & Truth. Now to be fair, I have always believed and stated that if R-Truth had not gotten suspended, Awesome Truth would have won the match due to a Cena/Rock miscue. The show still would of ended with a rock bottom to Cena, but the result would have been different.
From that point on, The Rock’s next appearances would be to build the WrestleMania 28 match with Cena. The build was fine and The Rock going over Cena at WrestleMania was fine, even his appearance the night after was fine, except for him revealing his intentions to once again be WWE Champion.
But then, Raw’s 1,000th episode happened.
At Raw 1,000, it was announced that The Rock would challenge CM Punk for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble, and that’s when things with him would get even more out of control. While everyone remembers the end of the show, everyone seems to forget his promo mid-show where he verbally craps on BOTH CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. There was no reason other than to feed his over inflated ego to verbally bury both guys who for months were tearing it up. The match was more than made with Punk going heel and leaving The Rock laying at the end of the show. The mid-show promo and burial was beyond not needed.
To his credit, CM Punk verbally hung with Hollywood. Punk was able to use his ability to master the microphone to fire shots and laugh off the same old verbal Rock crap. They had some pull apart brawls, but Punk never got the physical edge. Rock would only take a triple power bomb from the recently debuted group, The Shield. Now before anyone starts with “well John, there you go, he gave a rub to the young guys,” NO, he only took that triple power bomb because Roman Reigns is his relative. I refuse to believe that if anyone other than Roman was the third guy, he would have still taken it.
Fast forward to the Royal Rumble, CM Punk pins The Rock to retain the WWE Championship. Who cares if someone turned out the lights and beat up the Rock. Punk wins, wait why is Vince McMahon out here? Apparently Vince doesn’t care about anyone else getting screwed, only Dwayne. Sadly the match is restarted and within minutes, 434 days of Punk’s reign is ended by an elbow. As if that wasn’t bad enough, The Rock and Vince thought it would be a great idea to make Punk job again at Elimination Chamber. Imagine how much better the story would have been if at Elimination Chamber, Rock finally over came Punk, Paul Heyman and The Shield to take the title and finally end Punk’s reign. But NO, Hollywood wanted no part of putting Punk over… not even once.
So now we are on the road to Rock-Cena II, you know “Once in a Lifetime… Again,” and this time Dwayne has the WWE title. It was a match that did not need the title, but in what has become the new norm in WWE, had the title anyway. Rock tears a muscle 5 minutes in, the match is garbage and minutes later, Rock loses the WWE Title to Cena.
As someone who lives in Brooklyn, New York, for months the advertising for the post WrestleMania Raw was centered around The Rock. And this is definitely one of those times I will call bullshit on Dwayne. In an interview, weeks after the fact, he claimed Vince gave him the ‘OK’ to blow off Raw. Now, you can say what you want about Vince, but the one thing that has been consistent with Vince is, he is a major advocate of delivering who and what you advertise. Now the story that was always consistent with anyone who reported on it was that mid-afternoon he was already on his plane and then told WWE he wasn’t coming to Raw.
The story for Raw has always been that Brock Lesnar was supposed to attack The Rock to set up a match with the two of them at WrestleMania 30. (You know the same WrestleMania 30 where Lesnar ended the Undertaker’s streak, and Rock appeared at anyway). If you go back and watch that show, other than Dolph Ziggler’s cash-in, that show is such a rushed rewritten cluster-mess of a show. That doesn’t happen if 20 hours earlier, like he claimed, Vince gave him the ‘OK’ to not show up. Guys get injured all the time, still show up even if it’s just to cut a promo, which he could have done. If he was hurt, no one said he had to get physical, he could have cut a promo, put over John Cena and left. HE chose not to even do that. HE chose not to honor his commitment to those people that paid to go to Raw to see him.
2013 would continue without him, however 2014, 2015, and 2016 would be infected with horrendous self-serving, ego driven appearances. Sure he would show up at WrestleMania 30, and do an opening in ring segment with Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin. That was fine, the image of the three of them in the same ring was nothing short of amazing. However, the next couple of appearances were the exact opposite.
The Raw in Brooklyn in October of 2014, where he showed up and confronted Rusev was just another example of #NeverGivesBack. Rusev was a white hot undefeated monster ripping through everyone. Well here comes Dwayne to stop all that. After verbally defecating on Lana, he finally turned his attention to Rusev. Now imagine the heat for Rusev if he had say, side-kicked The Rock and teased putting him in the accolade only to be stopped by who he was feuding with at the time. That’s a scenario where everyone involved would have really benefited. But no. Instead of giving a rub to the younger guy, Dwayne had to physically chase Rusev from the ring and once again get only himself over.
The same thing happened about a year later with The New Day. Instead of a 3 on 1 attack, which would allow The Usos to make the save, he verbally defecated on New Day and stood tall with The Usos, but without really giving them any kind of rub despite the fact that they are his cousins.
Then there was the 2015 Royal Rumble disaster. I don’t blame him at all for the booking of that match or the intent of him going out there and what he was trying to do. I did enjoy Philadelphia giving him a massive middle finger and the look of “how dare you people boo me,” that he had on his face. For one moment on one night in one city, he was told to take the garbage he was selling and stick it up HIS candy ass.
The last and quite possibly worse of the bunch was his WrestleMania 32 appearance. The Rock would appear with a flamethrower for some unknown reason, and would just ramble on until interrupted by The Wyatt Family. After a verbal back and forth, for some reason Rock needed to defeat Eric Rowan in 5 seconds. Just when it seemed the THREE members of the Wyatts were going to destroy Rock, John Cena showed up and the two dispatched the Wyatts with once again no heat gained off of Rock.
Thankfully he has not been seen since.
His title reigns have always been nothing more than transitional. There is not one of his eight reigns that are memorable. He is not good in the ring. For all the crap that John Cena and Roman Reigns get, at least they have brought new things to the table. He never did. If you want an idea about how bad he was, go watch him struggle to get through an hour with Triple H at Judgement Day 2000. He was never the reason a match was great, but instead he was the other guy in a good/great match.
The Rock needed Stone Cold, Stone Cold did NOT need The Rock. Austin was going to be Austin no matter what. Rock needed that late 1997 Intercontinental Title feud with Austin to finally begin to break away and not just be a guy in the Nation. At the height of his face run and popularity, Rock never had 100% support of the fans. He would still get boo’d, and chanted at. Austin never had that problem. Rock would run mostly at 80-20 fan support, while Austin was always at 100. It’s not up for debate.
“If you don’t want to be here then get the “F” out!” — June 2002. Gone August 2002.
“I’m back and I’m never leaving again!” — Feb 2011. Gone April 2011.
There it is. I know there are some who will disagree with me. Some will tell me I’m 100% wrong and that’s OK. For months I have expressed my views and for months I have said I will present my case. I hope if you read this, that you enjoyed it even if you disagreed with my arguments.
In closing, #FuckTheRock.
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