Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? You should, because for decades now, he's been cooking up some smouldering heat with a select few individuals.
The Rock has built a nice reputation for himself of being one of the nicest guys any person can have the pleasure of running into on a movie set in Hollywood or a ring in the wrestling world. He has a come a long way from just being the venomously hated Rocky Maivia. Despite going through a long road to the top, it doesn't seem like The Rock carries any terrible biases towards anyone in the industry who didn't support him or didn't believe he would succeed. This kind of positive attitude has not only helped The Rock flourish in his professions, but also make many friends over the years. Especially friends among the wrestling locker room. However, that is not to say that The Rock has not been subject to heat over the years.
A successful man doesn't become successful and make dozens of friends in the industry without making at least a handful of enemies along the way. When The Rock first reached the main event scene at the height of the Attitude Era, there was a long line of guys pouring out of the locker room who were envious enough of The Great One's success that they wanted to politic in order to knock him down the card a few pegs. It did not work, but the fact remains that as the highest grossing leading man in Hollywood, The Rock's list of real life rivals must be stacked with names as wide as his list of allies. Even recently, he reportedly butted heads with Fast co-star, Vin Diesel, on the set of their latest movie. But we're not going to delve too much into that story for now. For now, we're going to focus on the wrestlers who The Rock adores and the wrestlers who he probably hates.
15 Loves: CM Punk
Given the off-handed comments that CM Punk made against The Rock during their on-screen feud, it would be easy to assume that many of those comments stemmed from real animosity on Punk's behalf. At one point, that may have been true, but it seems like the two made for good adversaries in real life. We've seen more pictures and heard more stories of the two being friendly with each other than harsh, which says a lot. The closest they had to a dispute was when CM Punk expressed on Colt Cabana's podcast his dissatisfaction for having to drop his WWE Championship at Royal Rumble as opposed to the main event of WrestleMania. Fans would share Punk's disdain by attacking Rock on social media. When Punk texted Rocky to explain what the hullabaloo was about, Rock was completely understanding and not the least bit hot about it. And let's not forget that when The Rock appeared to the live crowd on Monday Night RAW some months back, he tried to call Punk on the phone in the middle of the ring. Considering that The Rock and Punk still have each other's numbers must mean that they're still on good speaking terms, if nothing else.
14 Hates: John Laurinaitis
For the last few years, The Rock's tendency to come back every year for one big WrestleMania match or segment and leave again has been criticized by many detractors. One of those detractors was John Laurinaitis, long before The Rock made it an annual tradition. When The Rock first left for Hollywood in 2003, he didn't want to leave WWE completely behind, so he planned to come back for one big Mania match a year, the first being teaming with Mick Foley against Evolution at WrestleMania XX. For WrestleMania 21, he was going to unseat JBL of his 10-month WWE Championship reign and then drop the belt a couple days later. However, Laurinaitis refused to sign The Rock to a part-time contract under the impression that The Rock's Hollywood career would flop and then he'd come crawling back to WWE full-time. Seeing as The Rock went on to become the highest paid actor in Hollywood, not only was this a massive oversight on Laurinaitis' behalf, The Rock might also feel a little salty towards someone who didn't believe in him.
13 Loves: Nia Jax
The Rock has always let it be known just how much he loves and cares about his family members and his love for young upstart Nia Jax is no different. From her rookie days at the developmental Performance Center all the way to now, The Rock has always been a vocal supporter of his cousin. He has even tried his best to help her along the way by working out with her and getting her some mainstream exposure by shouting her out to his millions (and MILLIONS) of followers on social media. It is clear that The Rock is trying to instill a strong mindset into Jax that would be necessary to succeed in not only the wrestling business, but life in general. If Jax truly takes all of The Rock's advice and work regimen into consideration, she will have a long and successful career going forward for years to come.
12 Hates: John Cena
The real-life feud between John Cena and The Rock has been the subject of public attention for years now. Before there were ever plans in line for a "Once in a Lifetime" WrestleMania match, these two were throwing jabs at each other in their respective interviews. Cena threw the first shot in 2008 by criticizing The Rock in an interview with The Sun for abandoning WWE. Cena expressed how it was "pissing [him] off" how The Rock would claim to love WWE when he wasn't there in the ring to prove it; how he ran off to Hollywood the first chance he got. Needless to say, The Rock wasn't too pleased with Cena's comments. Three years later, when The Rock did return to the ring, the two brought their feud in front of the cameras, but nothing was able to cool down the heat behind the cameras. If anything, all of the things they said to each other merely intensified the flame between them. They claim to have buried the hatchet since WrestleMania 29, but considering all of the brutal remarks the two lashed at one another, we find that hard to believe.
11 Loves: Roman Reigns
Although the two may not actually be cousins like WWE want us all to think, the two are still strongly bonded by their Samoan heritage. That makes them just as tightly-knit together as a family. Let's be clear, if there is one thing to take away from the Royal Rumble 2015 fiasco—other than how much the WWE Universe hates Roman Reigns—is that The Rock was willing to make a trip outside of his busy Hollywood schedule in order to stand beside Reigns' side for his would-be coronation. The Rock didn't have to fly all the way to Philly for that one five-minute appearance, especially when it interrupts his big movie schedule and filming. He doesn't need the money. But he still showed up because he wanted to. He wouldn't do that for just anyone, especially if he disliked the person in any way, shape, or form. He must have taken a liking to The Big Dog.
10 Hates: Randy Orton
Once upon a time ago, Randy Orton was synonymous with the name Legend Killer. Not only did he knock down legends in the ring, he was known to throw some verbal jabs as well. The Legend Killer did not hesitate to throw such jabs at The Rock when The Great One returned to WWE in 2011. That year, in an interview with ESPN, Orton was quick to point out that he didn't think The Rock had it in him to hang with the top brass of WWE anymore. He predicted that The Rock would look rusty in his on-screen feud/subsequent match with John Cena because unlike Rock, Cena had been wrestling thousands of matches for the last seven years. Whereas Rocky wrestled none and since Cena was witty enough on the mic to come up with his own material, Orton thought that The Rock would fumble his way through scripted promos. Orton has since taken back his scathing remarks, but Rock hasn't been asked to comment on Orton's comments. Rocky might be holding a grudge against the third-generation superstar for all we know.
9 Loves: Tamina Snuka
As another member of the Anoa'i Family, Tamina Snuka is someone who The Rock loves to death. When compared to more prominent members of the Samoan tribe like Roman Reigns or even The Usos, Tamina is one of the least-popular members of the family among the WWE Universe. However, Tamina is numero uno in The Rock's book, so much so that he went as far as to buy his cousin an SUV just for the hell of it. It wasn't for Christmas. It wasn't for her birthday. The Rock just felt like giving somebody he cares about a nice gift out for a big price out of the kindness of his big heart. Speaking of big hearts, The Rock has often praised Tamina for being an all-out amazing person with a "heart of gold." We can easily give The Rock a Cousin of the Year Trophy for this one, but given how much Tamina seems to be an important and cherished factor in The Rock's life, she'd have to be in contention for that one as well.
8 Hates: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has always been a guy in WWE who just can't catch a break. No matter how hard he works and no matter how hard he tries, he's never been close to being a top guy in WWE in the decade-plus-long run he's had in the company. Even when he was inches away from grabbing that brass ring, there is always something keeping him from grasping it fully (i.e. nagging injuries). The further away Ziggler gets himself pulled down the card, the more vocal the Zig-Man has been in venting his frustrations about his spot in the company. Worse than that, he even name-drops the names of guys whom he thinks don't deserve the top spots within the company. Such name-droppings have been directed towards the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, and even The Rock. In The Rock's case, Ziggler has voiced his frustrations on a part-time guy like The Rock getting unlimited golden opportunities from WWE instead of letting a “full time guy [like himself] be there every single night doing what [WWE stars] do best." The Rock never responded, but he couldn't have been too happy about Ziggler's comments.
7 Loves: Meng/Haku
Call him Meng, call him Haku, call him King Tonga, or hell, call him Mr. Fifita if you're nasty. One name that is hard to deny him as is the baddest man in professional wrestling. Many wrestlers over the years have identified this guy as the definitive badass of the wrestling industry. His nephew, The Rock, is another wrestler who has a bit of a reputation of his own of being a badass. With that connection, it makes sense for the two family members to have a strong bond with each other. The two have shared many funny, sad, and heartwarming memories over the years, but the recent story The Rock shared on social media that had us all teary eyed was when he gave Haku a truck for Christmas. The gift was The Rock's way of showing gratitude towards a man who supported The Rock ever since the very beginning of his wrestling career, going as far as to loan The Rock a pair of wrestling trunks for his first WWE tryout. Upon picking up these trunks, Haku gave his nephew a big ole hug and said “I’m so proud of you. Go get ’em nephew!” How touching.
6 Hates: Triple H
Ever since the very beginnings of their careers, The Rock and Triple H have always been competitive with each other. Coming into the WWE at the same time—back when they were just Rocky Maivia and Hunter Hearst Hemsley—the two were in contention for the WWE brass ring, that prestigious, if imaginary brass ring that confirms a wrestler's role as WWE's top dog. Both were hungry to be the sole owner of that ring and even when both were definitively top guys of the company by the tail-end of the Attitude Era, both were still competing to become the top guy. Even now, with The Rock as the highest grossing leading man in Hollywood and Trips being the Head of Talent Relations (and heir apparent to the WWE throne), it seems like the two are still in a thick pissing contest with one another. Frequent backstage worker Bruce Prichard once confirmed that the two have had a competitive rivalry for decades now, and Ric Flair went as far as to add that he doesn't think the two even like each other. It doesn't look like this feud is close to ending any time soon.
5 Loves: Mark Henry
Long before The Rock was anywhere close to being pushed as a main event talent, Mark Henry always had The Rock's back. Before he was ever The People's Champ or The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment, he was just a young rookie placed in The Nation of Domination as he was still reeling from the crowd's "Die, Rocky, Die!" chants. Fellow Nation member Mark Henry took the opportunity to take the young upstart under his wing and teach him the ropes. Henry even had to watch Rock's back in the locker room. Henry once recollected having to save Rock from eating a sandwich that an unnamed locker room mate had done unspeakable things to. Henry also admitted that after everything they have been through, the two are still good friends to this day. After teaching him a few lessons about life and wrestling, it makes sense for The Rock to still be grateful for everything that The World's Strongest Man did for him back in the day.
4 Hates: Kevin Nash
Given all of the animosity that the Monday Night Wars created between members of the WCW and WWE rosters, it's only natural that both rosters would butt heads upon WCW's arrival to WWE when the company went under. Two of those opposite head-butters happened to be The Rock and Kevin Nash. Some of that heat still resonates to this very day. It all started in 2002 when Nash and the rest of the nWo came to WWE. Allegedly, The Rock was worried that Nash and his boys would try to politic their way to the top backstage just like they did in WCW, and was vocal about it. Nash took offense to this, but took even more offense when The Rock called Nash "Big Daddy Bitch" during an on-screen feud with the nWo. As retaliation, Nash has heavily criticized The Rock in interviews, even to the point that he challenged The Rock's masculinity by questioning Rocky's sexuality. These are some hefty cheap shots that suggests that there might still be some bad blood between these two after all these years.
3 Loves: Goldberg
Both Goldberg and The Rock were at the peak of their careers when they worked respectively in WCW and WWE. As top stars of their respective companies, these men are essentially from two different worlds. Two words that were at war with each other until the very end. Despite the Monday Night Wars, unlike most wrestlers from the opposing sides, The Rock and Goldberg never had any disparaging remarks to say about each other. In fact, the two seemed to be on pretty good terms with each other, given how the two have been seen in public acting friendly with each other and have spoken fondly of each other on several occasions. Goldberg in particular has admitted on numerous occasions how much he loves The Rock. During one interview in particular, a 2016 interview with Inside the Ropes, Goldberg recounts being honored to wrestle The Rock in 2003, especially for The Rock's final match as a member of WWE's active full-time roster. Even though he admits to wanting to do more in the ring—he couldn't pummel The Rock's face too badly on his way to Hollywood—but he was still happy with the way the match turned out. Considering all of the love and admiration that Goldberg has dedicated to The Rock over the years, it's safe to say that the feeling is mutual between the two of them.
2 Hates: Shawn Michaels
It has been well documented that Shawn Michaels was a jerk in his pre-Christian rebirth days. Egotistical and drug addled, the majority of wrestlers backstage felt the wrath of a constantly politicking Heartbreak Kid. One of those backstage victims was The Rock, or at least he nearly was. In the late-'90s, Shawn Michaels was a vocal critic of The Rock being pushed as the top heel of the company. In fact, in the weeks leading to WrestleMania XV, HBK tried to politic for his friend Triple H replacing The Rock in the main event role as heel champion against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Thankfully, there were enough backstage influences who recognized that The Rock was far too talented of a character to keep away from the main event. Even before that, The Rock never liked HBK because when Michaels was a just a Rocker working for Peter Maivia's wrestling fed, a young Rocky sat back and watched Michaels verbally disrespect his grandmother. The People's Champion always held a grudge for The Showstopper, since before either even debuted for WWE. It was reported that the two buried their hatchet at the 2008 Hall of Fame, but just because one forgives doesn't mean they'll ever forget. The Rock could still carry a grudge against Shawn Michaels to this day
1 Loves: Stone Cold Steve Austin
As the Attitude Era's two biggest stars and rivals, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin made a lot of money together. Naturally, the two took a strong liking to each other for that reason. After all, as the saying goes, friends that make each other loads of money together stick together. That is how the saying goes, right? If not, that's how it should be. Anyway, a strong bond grew between the two during the heyday of their respective wrestling careers and continued long after they retired. While still working in the ring, the two even went up to each other for advice. The Rock admitted once that Stone Cold at one point gave him advice that would change his life forever. Back when The Rock didn't know how to respond from backstage critics and "main event wrestlers" telling Vince McMahon that The Rock didn't belong in the main event of WrestleMania XV, Austin simply told him, "F*** those motherf***ers. We're here to draw and make money and that's exactly what we're gonna do. We draw big money, then everyone benefits." Sounds like a valuable life lesson from a valuable friend. Advice that The Rock would cherish and remember for everything he would continue to do in his career.
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