Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock” from his professional wrestling days, is one of the greatest performers in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment. He, along with others such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, helped the WWE survive and then win the Monday Night Wars that involved World Championship Wrestling as the opposition, and The Rock has since gone on to become an international superstar of the movie world. No wrestler in history, not even Hulk Hogan, has enjoyed so much success outside of the squared-circle as has The Rock, who still makes returns to the WWE from time to time.
The Rock is largely remembered for playing part in some of the more memorable feuds of the Attitude Era. His matches with Mankind were downright brutal, hard to watch in this day and age where we know far too much about the seriousness of head injuries. Those battles that featured The Rock and Austin are legendary over a decade after that feud wrapped up, as the duo helped propel each other to superstar statuses that made them arguably the two most important sports entertainers of the 1990s. Austin would have been huge without The Rock, no doubt, but “Stone Cold” would have only gotten so big without one of his biggest rivals being there.
The Rock remains known as “the most electrifying man in sports and entertainment,” and not only because of his stellar in-ring work. Johnson has, over the past two decades, had a unique ability to bring in-arena fans to their feet with his promos that he has cut on other wrestlers, on Vince McMahon or on other celebrities. North American pro wrestling has not since seen a performer of the caliber of The Rock, and some have stated that nobody will ever be able to equal what he contributed to the business. The Rock truly was the total package, which is why he is so beloved even though he stepped away as an active wrestler long ago.
20 Flex Kavana Debuts
This is the first of the unintentionally funny pro wrestling moments involving The Rock. Long before he became “The People's Champ” and the best entertainer in the business, Johnson was merely an athletic good-looking guy who was able to cut adequate promos on opponents. We are, because of the lack of technology at the time, unable to go back and watch Babe Ruth participate in Minor League Baseball. Wrestling fans can see the infancy of what became the career of The Rock, however, and doing so is nothing short of fascinating considering what that young man grew to become.
19 Rocky Maivia Debuts
Long before he was raising eyebrows, dropping elbows and developing an electrifying personality, Johnson was Rocky Maivia, a smiling babyface who wore blue trunks and tassels – yes, tassels – to the ring. Maivia would have, in an earlier day, been a hit among crowds of adults and children alike, but he was perceived to be a joke and not much more when he made his debut at the 1996 Survivor Series. The Rock would, in storyline, go on to use that hate to his advantage, eventually turning on the fans that had turned on him and becoming the entertainer we know him to be today.
18 The Rock Calls Out Shawn Michaels
17 The Rock vs. Stephanie 1.0
16 The Rock vs. HHH and Brock Lesnar
15 The Rock Returns: November 2011
14 Rock Hits Out at Jeff Hardy
13 Rock vs. Cena
12 The Rock vs. Mankind in an Empty Arena Match
11 Rock's Concert in Sacramento
10 The People's Strudel
9 The Rock Makes Friends
8 But My Name's Billy
7 Y2J Debut
6 The Rock Takes on The Alliance
Now, in the PG era of World Wrestling Entertainment, such a segment would not even be considered, let alone actually make it on the air. That was not the case during the feud involving the WWE and the Alliance, when The Rock and Chris Jericho took to the stage to have some fun at the expense of Rhyno, Booker T and, most notably, Stephanie McMahon. It is a promo that is not safe for work, certainly not appropriate for all ages, and it is also, in the eyes of some fans, The Rock at his best.
5 The Rock vs. Hurricane
4 The Rock vs. Cleveland
3 This is Your Life
2 The Rock and Austin Sing
1 The Rock Responds to DX
This segment is largely remembered for Triple H and D-Generation-X mocking The Rock and The Corporation, but the response was just as noteworthy. Shawn Michaels began the promo by cutting into who were, in storyline, his former friends, but The Rock had his moments when, after challenging Triple H to a match, he had a go at the competitors of the WWE. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, the Macho Man Randy Savage and Bret Hart of WCW were all mocked by The Rock on that fateful night, and it offered proof of where those two wrestling federations were in the Monday Night Wars as of that evening.
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