It is getting harder and harder to argue against the idea that The Rock is the most popular wrestler of all time. While men like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan certainly had a bigger run at the top of the wrestling business, nobody has come remotely close to the movie career Rocky has enjoyed. Referred to as franchise Viagra in the past, his very inclusion in a film is enough to bring a lot of people to the theaters and that is due in large part to the lovable persona he has crafted. While there are certainly some wrestlers whose statements make it abundantly clear that they too hold him in high esteem, we’d be lying if we tried to pretend there aren’t dissenting voices. That is what inspired us to create this list detailing some of The Rock’s most outspoken proponents and detractors.
While we don’t have a personal relationship with The Rock or any of the people we’ve chosen to list here, we do have public statements to rely upon. In that light, we searched in order to bring you this depository of the people who’ve said the most about The Rock on either end of the spectrum. We’ve also done our very best to decipher when comments seem to be meant to set up a wrestling storyline. Additionally, we didn’t limit ourselves to in-ring workers, instead including anyone who made their name in the business.
15 Love: The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz are probably the most decorated tag team of all time and beyond the belts they’ve won, they’ve accomplished enough to consider them amongst the best teams of all time. Embroiled in some legendary feuds with the like of The Hardys, Edge and Christian, and too many others to list here, they should be first ballot Hall of Famers. While none of those statements should come as a surprise to long-time wrestling fans, we’re guessing a lot of people had no idea they were so close to The Rock. While appearing on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast, Bubba Ray revealed his belief that he and D-Von were closer to him than anyone else in the company during their first time there. While we realize that the wrestling business can make strange bedfellows, it is hard to picture Bubba Ray and D-Von at the height off their camo wearing days hanging out with Rocky.
14 Hate: Randy Orton
One of the biggest stars in the WWE since the 2000s, it seems surprising that Rand Orton wouldn’t have some level of kinship with one of the biggest stars of the 90s, The Rock. Despite that, it certainly seems like he has no love in his heart for Dwayne considering the statements he has made about him in the past. While making the rounds promoting WrestleMania 27, Randy was understandably asked questions about one of the show’s headline acts, The Rock, and pulled no punches.
“You see the interviews that The Rock does and he says that he doesn't want to be known as a wrestler. He doesn't want to be known as a sports entertainer or a performer with WWE or a WWE superstar. He wants to be known as an actor. Now all of a sudden he's back in our world telling the fans what they want to hear. He's telling them, "I promise that I will never go away again. I promise that I'm back for good and that I'm here to stay." He said that, what, six or seven weeks ago? Have we even seen him live since then? No. Via satellite. I think Cena will own The Rock. I think Cena is wittier and can go off the cuff. Cena writes his own stuff, while The Rock has stuff written for him.” While he may have a few good points about the strong points of Cena in relation to Rocky, the level to which he delves into it speaks loudly about his distaste for the return of the legend.
13 Love: Goldberg
Two former football players who would transition to the wrestling business after their days on the field came to an end, each was able to stand at the very top of international wrestling empires. While WWE would eventually reign supreme in the wrestling world and buy out their competition, it is fair to say that at one time Goldberg was one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. Perhaps the sheer quantity of experiences they have in common led to them being fast friends but whatever the reason, this pair remains close. During an interview with the website Bleacher Report Bill Goldberg made his feelings on The Rock clear.
“Oh, I love Rock to death, man. He doesn't inspire me as an actor but, I mean, come on. Let's be perfectly honest. I love Rock to death, we're all different people, but Rock's a showman. To think The Rock wasn't going to prosper in this arena, he'd have to be an imbecile.” Bill said that he loves the man to death twice in the span of four sentences, it doesn’t get clearer than that.
12 Hate: Ahmed Johnson
Ahmed Johnson is an interesting figure in the history of the wrestling business. A massive man who had the type of build Vince McMahon has always seemed to gravitate towards, he received multiple high-level pushes but never surpassed the mid card, probably due to his mediocre matches and unintelligible promos. Still, he spent roughly three years in the company and as part of that tenure spent a lot of time feuding with the Nation of Domination. According to a shoot interview, the man gave after his time in the sun came to an end, he claimed that he didn’t like that The Rock seemed to be getting too big for his britches. Saying he got into a fight with the future megastar, if his version of events is accurate it was broken up Farooq and Kama but the very fact that he went out his way to bash The Rock is pretty noteworthy.
11 Love: Mark Henry
It’s starting to seem clear to us that former athletes have an affinity for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A record-breaking strongman before joining The Nation of Domination, the stable that Rocky also made his name in; it appears the two of them developed a real kinship while working for the company. Training in developmental at the same time as one another, Mark spoke about how he feels about The Rock during his appearance on Talk is Jericho. Saying that he is still tight with him, he literally says that he loves him like a brother. Also discussing the fact that Rocky provides him the wisdom to reflect on where he started out, it is abundantly clear that his former stable mate has made a big impact on his life.
10 Hate: Triple H
If you a long-time wrestling fan who looks back on The Attitude Ear with pleasure it may strike you as sad to think that Triple H and The Rock were not friendly. Forever linked with one another, the pair feuded multiple times over the years, both as singles stars and leaders of the Nation and DX. Well if you believe the version of events told by Bruce Prichard, the pair’s backbiting and aggression for one another wasn’t limited to their characters.
Evidently, The Rock didn’t appreciate Hunter going off script and began to follow suit which led to their real life dislike for one another boiling over both on and off screen. Interestingly enough Ric Flair himself, a long-time friend of Triple H has lent this story credence by publically saying that he thinks they still don’t like each other today.
9 Love: Brock Lesnar
We know what you’re thinking. Brock Lesnar doesn’t seem capable of caring about someone but trust us, there is even footage that proves that he has smiled at the sight of his former co-worker. One of the gruffest and tough men alive, Brock has said time and time again that he doesn’t like people in general but we have to admit that it makes sense that The Rock might break down that wall. One of the most charismatic men alive, it seems almost impossible to resist his charms, despite the people in the hate column of this list, and Brock can’t count himself among those who dislike him. When The Rock attended one of his UFC fights, cameras picked up the moment when Rocky went backstage and Brock’s reaction at seeing him. Cracking a huge smile before immediately standing up, hugging him and happily receiving a kiss on the cheek, we’re pretty sure he’d kill most people in that situation instead of welcoming them.
8 Hate: Kevin Nash
We’re just going to say it, The Clique did not get along with The Rock. First Triple H made this list and now Kevin Nash and that is to say nothing about the fact that HBK offended Rocky enough at some point that he categorically refused to work with him. According to interviews given by Kevin, when he rejoined the WWE in the early 2000s, he and Rocky did not get along, to say the least. He claims to have put the future movie star in his place but according to some Rocky calling him Big Daddy Bitch on the air was a direct shot at him. Perhaps, that is why Nash made inappropriate jokes implying The Rock may be gay in the last few years and has out and out said that he was a dick.
7 Love: Stone Cold Steve Austin
The greatest of enemies in the ring, Steve Austin, and The Rock clearly are pretty good actors as they are the best of friends in real life. When The Rock spoke on a Facebook Live Stream about his match in the WrestleMania 15 main event against Steve Austin, his respect, and admiration for his onscreen foe was clear. Speaking about the fact that Austin could have put the kibosh on his involvement in the match, he revealed what it meant to him when Steve wanted to work with him. “he was like, 'I want you to be [my] partner. You're my partner - you're my dancing partner in this thing. I appreciated that so much and just in that moment, we created just this great bond of trust and we went on to headline three other WrestleManias.” He then went on to refer to Steve as a “good man” and a “very good friend” which of course speaks loudly to the bond between the two.
6 Hate: The Locker Room
Ok, ok, this isn’t exactly a single person. However, the fact that there were so many murmurs about the WWE locker room resenting The Rock when he returned to wrestle John Cena made it impossible to leave it off. Evidently, the wrestlers who worked for the WWE year round and busted their asses in the process didn’t take too kindly to an actor coming in and taking the top spot at the biggest show of the year. Did they not realize how great it was for the business to have a star of his caliber lend his name to their company?
Incredibly enough, things got so out of control that the man himself actually addressed the aggression that was being sent his way, but in doing so he may have made things worse. “For the guys in the locker room, it has to be more than just, I'm ready to carry the company. It has to be, I'm ready to carry the company and then I'm ready to carry the company to places it's never been.” A clear shot at the level to which the current roster could drive business, we’re guessing they didn’t take too kindly to it and may have hated him even more.
5 Love: Meng/Haku
The man known as Meng or Haku has become something of a legend in the wrestling world. Uniformly referred to as probably the toughest man in a business full of strong men, it is so crazy that when DX invaded Nitro it seems the one thing they feared was if this man was unleashed on them. Of course, despite that fact, he is a human being that seems to be extremely loyal; especially to those he feels are family like The Rock who he considers a nephew. Serving as The Rock’s best man at his wedding, they remain close to this day as best evidenced by the fact that Rocky shared a story in 2015 of when he had recently gifted him a Ford pickup truck.
4 Hate: John Cena
It is funny to think back to the comments that John Cena made once upon a time about The Rock, which set off the tension between two of the biggest wrestling stars of all time. “Explain to me why he can't come back for a 15th Anniversary show or why he can't make an appearance at WrestleMania. Simply put it's because he wants to be an actor.” “he's done very well for himself and associating with sports entertainment doesn't do much for his acting career. It only helps out the sports entertainment audience so I get why he doesn't come back. Just don't f*** me around and tell me that you love this when you are just doing this to do something else. That's the only thing that gets me really pissed off.”
From the Rock’s perspective at the time he’d done everything he could in wrestling and was off setting a new path for wrestlers in the mainstream world, one Cena is walking down today. Still, even the fact that The Great One would return to the WWE and bring his star power to WrestleMania, again and again, wasn’t enough to stop their real life dislike for one another. Even according to interviews given by the man, they continued to hate each other during their three-year feud with one another. The Rock has even said that he wanted to punch Cena at the time. The fact that tensions seem to have diminished in the years since isn’t enough to take Cena off this list considering it still took Cena several years to admit the error of his statements. That is just how deep the anger between them went.
3 Love: Chris Jericho
Isn’t there something especially heart-warming about the idea that two of the best promo artists in the last three decades of WWE are good friends? Teaming with and feuding against one another several times over their years in the company, they had a marvelous chemistry on our televisions but that didn’t mean that they were destined to be buddies. The fact that they are is just so great and we’d pay good money to see footage of them hanging out together. While The Rock has referred to Jericho as his friend on Twitter in the past, something he isn’t prone to do for those he doesn’t actually care about, there is lots of other evidence of their friendship. Jericho wrote about his affection for him in his books, Bubba Ray Dudley has also referenced how close Rocky and Chris were. The fact that they are cool with another is too epic for words.
2 Hate: CM Punk
CM Punk, from pretty much all accounts is a hard to get along with dude. Believing himself to be the best wrestler in the world, he completely resented the fact that he was never involved in a WrestleMania main event, the benchmark for the biggest stars in the business. While he was upset that people like The Miz took the spot that he thought should have gone to him, the idea that The Rock, a man who wasn’t a part of the company year-round, was in the main event was too much. Dropping the belt to him after one of the longest reigns of all time, he had a lot to say about his former opponent.
“He’s very bourgeoisie Hollywood, and I just wish he would say hello to people backstage and not act like he was above everybody. Cena doesn’t act like that. Cena sits and talks and fraternizes with everybody, but Dwayne just can’t be bothered. Then again, I don’t know if anyone really wants to hang out with him.” “I'm not somebody who failed at football and just tried wrestling." We could keep listing the shots Punk has taken at The Rock but the fact that the ones we included were from the period where he worked for the company and was holding back, says a lot.
1 Love: Tamina Snuka & Nia Jax
Two people that The Rock considers to be family, there is no question that they both have very loving relationships with the man they call their cousin. Nia Jax reportedly began dropping a leg while running during matches, a move she is said to have privately nicknamed the people’s legdrop as a tribute to Rocky and has been photographed working out with him. When it comes to Tamina Snuka, she not only acted in his movie Hercules but has been seen with him online multiple times. She was also gifted an SUV from The Rock in the past which is something he doesn’t do for just anyone. Additionally, The Rock once posted a tribute to Tamina online and when she read his touching words about her tears welled up in her eyes. There is no question that these two women have a special place in their heart for The Rock and so do we.