One of the greats in our industry Dwyane The Rock Johnson, will appear on Sunday night’s Oprah’s Master Class. To hype his appearance, Oprah’s YouTube released a clip, showing the initial struggle that a young green Rocky Mavia learned when he made his first appearance at Wrestlemania 13. A show which saw the entire crowd chant Rocky Sucks. Does this sound familiar?
“I had great angst every night I went out, because I wasn’t able to be myself,” Rock explained. The Great One mentioned that how during his first WrestleMania, the entire crowd chanted “Rocky sucks. Two weeks later, I tore my knee and was on the shelf.”
When he debuted at Survivor Series 1996, Rocky Mavia was a highly smiley super baby face. He was pushed far too quickly, capturing the Intercontinental championship from Hunter Hurst Hemlsely within 3 months of being in WWE. Yet the crowd didn’t take to him.
“I came to the realization that it wasn’t me personally that they didn’t like. I wasn’t being real, authentic. Who’s this guy in wrestling smiling while he’s getting beat?,” Rock said. “I got a call from WWE and it was Vince McMahon, who said ‘When you come back, we could continue to shove you down people’s throats, or we could turn you heel, because they want to boo you anyway.'” Rock agreed to the change, however wanted to say a few words to the crowd.
Rocky joined the Nation of Domination stable in 1997 whilst turning heel. The Rock addressed the crowd and cut his historic promo that transformed Rocky into The Rock.
“In that moment, The Rock was born. About a month later, I was the hottest heel in the company and things were on fire. The greatest lesson in that is to be you. In entertainment, whether it’s in public, a celebrity, whatever. The most powerful thing you can be is yourself,” Rock said.
These word’s can be easily said for the entire locker room. Greatness is never given from day one, it takes time, adjustment of character to truly find yourself. How many awful characters has Vince McMahon given wrestlers; only for them to grow out of them and find themselves.
Roman Reigns is prime example for his, after the Shield departed, it was obvious that he was being groomed as the next guy to main event Wrestlemania 31. This was obvious to the hardcore fans who would boo Reigns; they could see straight through the guy. He didn’t have the IT factor that fans wanted accept. Just like his cousin, luckily Roman got hurt; this gave him time off and a chance to reflect. Roman knew promo’s wasn’t his strong point. When Reigns returned, his first promo bombed. All WrestleMania plans seems to fall through; even Vince got involved. This led to more horrific promo’s.
Following the disappointment at Wrestlemania 31 Roman stood tall, determined and strong to succeed. Crucially he became himself, the journey to the top is not a quick one; even if WWE decide to push you through the roof as the chosen one. Ultimately fans decided if they accept you or not. Surely Roman Reigns can learn a thing or two from his cousin.
Img Credit: Dwyane The Rock Johnson Facebook Page