The Rock remains one of the most beloved icons in WWE history. No other wrestler has the star power of The Rock after his rise in Hollywood as a top tier acting superstar. WWE is the place where The Rock made his name first as a wrestling legend. The Rock played just about every style of character during his ascension to the top of the company.
We will look at the debate regarding his face character and heel character. Fans will have a preference for one over the other even though both found tremendous success. The face run would see The Rock showcase his ability to connect with the audience by having them support him. The Rock’s heel run also was executed well when making the audience hate him. Find out which side you prefer with five reasons why The Rock was a better babyface along with five reasons he was a better heel.
10 Face: Record-breaking Success During Return
The two most financially successful PPVs in WWE history came when The Rock returned for WrestleMania 28 and WrestleMania 29. Both matches against John Cena main evented the biggest show of the year with fans tuning in to attend and purchase the events.
Rock proved that the fan support for him was still there from diehard fans while also bringing in the casual fan that followed his acting work. WWE’s change to the WWE Network means that the PPV record for Rock’s matches with Cena will never be broken.
9 Heel: The Corporation Leader
The Rock’s first WWE Championship win came when he turned heel to join The Corporation with Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon. This new version of Rock’s character instantly became the top heel in the entire company.
Rock had strong feuds with Mick Foley and Steve Austin during The Corporation chapter of his career. The faction was quite successful during its time on WWE television due to having a leader like The Rock that instantly made them credible.
8 Face: The Rock and Sock Connection
Mick Foley and The Rock both found success when teaming together in the Rock and Sock Connection. Fans loved the odd couple pairing of Rock playing the cool face while Foley had no shame making a fool of himself in the name of comedy.
The Rock and Sock Connection was arguably the most successful makeshift tag team in WWE history. Foley and Rock had chemistry together as opponents, so it only made sense that their teaming up would lead to more positive moments. Both wrestlers benefited from showing their comedic timing together.
7 Heel: Proved He Was a Star After Face Flop
Things started poorly for The Rock in WWE playing the generic face Rocky Miavia character. WWE expected fans to like him due to his pedigree as a third-generation wrestlers. Fans instead rejected the generic character that did nothing but smile and high five them.
Rock’s heel turn would open the door for him to finally present his natural charisma. The career of Rock may have never taken off if he didn’t get the heel turn to change his career for the better. Every wrestler needs the timing to prove they could be a superstar and Rock found it as a heel.
6 Face: Saved WWE During The Alliance Storyline
The WWE vs WCW and ECW feud was disappointing in 2001, but it still had its fair share of good moments. Fans were upset that the angle couldn’t live up to the massive expectations especially with WCW’s roster looking weak due to the lack of main eventers.
Steve Austin turned heel to join The Alliance representing WCW and ECW. The Rock’s return is what turned the ship around in the storyline. Regardless of the disappointment in the angle, Rock still did a superb job as the leader of the company defeating WCW for the last time.
5 Heel: Hilarious Concert Segments
The Rock added another element to his heel character in 2003 by tapping into another talent. A feud with Steve Austin introduced the first of multiple concerts by Rock. Austin was banned from the venue when Rock delivered his original songs running down Stone Cold and the live crowd.
Sacramento fans still feel the burn from Rock referencing the Lakers beating them in the NBA Playoffs every year. Another concert came after defeating Austin when Goldberg debuted to interrupt him. Rock tried using the concerts as a face in his 2010s return, but it didn’t have the same charm.
4 Face: Catchphrase Popularity
The Rock was the best of all time at coming up with popular catchphrases. Fans would adore chanting along to the various one-liners Rock became known for as a face. Rock’s promos kept the audience tuned in and often created huge ratings spikes.
Fans enjoyed joining in on the “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” line whenever Rock owned a heel like Chris Jericho or Billy Gunn. Rock even created the name of Smackdown by using the term in a promo. The face run of Rock made his catchphrases an iconic part of his career.
3 Heel: Nation of Domination
WWE fans were introduced to the heel side of The Rock when he joined the Nation of Domination after the disappointing face run. Rock instantly turned it around by using his creative freedom to run down the fans and his opponents in entertaining fashion.
The positive changes finally gave Rock the confidence he lacked during his first few months in WWE. Rock was so good in the heel role that WWE booked him to replace Ron Simmons as the leader of the Nation. The group had a legendary feud against DX with Rock as the new leader.
2 Face: Became Face of the Company in 2000
An injury to Steve Austin would see him leave WWE to recover in late 1999. The Rock instantly took the spot as the face of the company with his only competition now on the shelf. Many wondered if Rock could match Austin’s success, but he passed it in terms of ratings and buy rates in 2000.
Rock and Triple H had their legendary feud with some of their top matches for the WWE Championship. The rest of the year would see Rock help make Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit credible upper level stars. 2000 was the best year of Rock’s career when becoming the face of WWE for the first time.
1 Heel: Hollywood Version of His Character
The heel turn of The Rock in 2003 saw him adopting a new look and new entrance theme. Rock tapped into the reality element of leaving WWE for a short time in late 2002 to start filming movies. WWE saw him return as a heel for feuds with Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Goldberg.
Rock would take his heel game to another level with comedic insults running down his peers and the fans. Despite loving seeing him back in the ring, fans booed Rock every week due to his superb heel work. Rock found the perfect middle ground of entertaining while upsetting the audience during this outstanding run.