The Rock is considered one of the biggest stars to have ever been created by WWE. Following in the steps of Hulk Hogan from the previous generation, The Rock made the switch to acting after a hugely successful wrestling career. Dwayne Johnson became famous throughout WWE’s Attitude Era, given that his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin was a main event level rivalry and one of the most intense feuds in wrestling history.
He’s made the switch over to acting in 2003, but he has since continued to appear on WWE TV as a pull for many of the events that WWE are having trouble trying to sell to the WWE Universe.
The Rock made sporadic appearances for WWE until 2011 when he returned to help The Miz defeat John Cena at WrestleMania 27, and for the first time ever he set up a match the year in the making at WrestleMania 28 against Cena. This match then became known as “Once in a Lifetime” before WWE rebooked the same match with a different ending at WrestleMania 29 entitled “Twice in a Lifetime.”
The Rock has been a part of some of the biggest moments in WWE history, but he has also been a part of some of the more forgettable WWE moments. Here are 20 of them:
15. Rusev & Lana
The Rock made a shocking return to WWE in 2014 to confront Rusev and Lana, to then remove Rusev from the ring when WWE were in his hometown.
This was thought to have been leading to a showdown that never happened with the undefeated Bulgarian; instead The Rock returned to be a part of a segment with The New Day and whilst backstage, he talked to Lana about the night they had spent together before Rusev appeared (and didn’t look happy about it). Once again this failed to lead to a match or even a showdown between the two stars, and many thought the company were putting Lana in an unfortunate position, too.
14. Rikishi Did It For The Rock
Back at Survivor Series 1999, Rikishi decided to take the fight to Steve Austin, and ran him down in a hit and run attack. The identity of his attacker was not revealed until almost a year later when Rikishi revealed that he did it, and he did it for The Rock.
The angle would grant Rikishi an opportunity at stardom, but it was one of the most bizarre segments that WWE had aired. Along with the fact that Hornswoggle was Vince McMahon’s son, it was perhaps the worst “big reveal” in WWE history.
13. One Man Company
The Rock holds the record for the amount of episodes of Raw he main evented with 38 back in the 2000s. WWE fans conveniently forget about this when they talk about WWE relying on one person to be the face of their company.
John Cena has been a part of the company for 14 years and despite his 15 World Championship reigns, he still hasn’t come close to breaking this record. But Johnson’s cousin Roman Reigns could be close to this since Seth Rollins was injured (he has been a part of every main event segment leading into this year’s WrestleMania).
12. The Rock Goes Off Script
The Rock currently has so much power over WWE’s officials that it is impossible for him to land himself in hot water. He did come rather close on a recent episode of Raw, though.
“Rocky” can’t help but digress from the script that WWE had planned, but this time he noticed that there were four fans in the front row all dressed up as WWE legends – and one was Hulk Hogan. Given WWE’s recent problems with Hogan’s historical comments, they were not happy that the character was given TV time and neither were the WWE Universe.
11. WrestleMania 31
WrestleMania 31 is now considered to be one of the best WrestleMania’s of WWE’s current era, and one of the reasons for this is the fact that The Rock and Ronda Rousey appeared – and it looked like they had set up a match for this year’s event.
Ronda then lost her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship and The Rock was said to have only been attending the event in a non-wrestling capacity, nixing the idea that they would team to take on the Authority. WWE have failed to mention the altercation on WWE TV for a long time.
10. Chair Shots
In an era where WWE likes to make everything in the company child-friendly, they will find it hard to convince fans to forget about those chair shots from Royal Rumble 1999.
In one of the sickest beat downs in WWE history, The Rock savagely went after Mick Foley with 10 chair shots to the head after he had handcuffed the “Hardcore Legend.” Foley went on to state “I Quit” following this to allow The Rock to win the WWE Championship, even though his statement was pre-recorded.
9. Heat With Shawn Michaels?
The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels will forever be a fantasy match, given that it is now one of the biggest WWE matches to have never happened.
Shawn was not a part of the business from 1998 to 2002 when The Rock was considered to have been a massive star, but the two did have opportunities when Michaels did return. But apparently when the match was offered to The Rock, he refused it. It was said to have been a historic problem between the two that stemmed from heat between him and a family member.
8. Debra As His Manager?
The Rock has been aligned with many superstars over the years, but one of the best story line ideas could have seen Stone Cold Steve Austin’s real life wife Debra manage The Rock during this rivalry.
At WrestleMania 17, there was a video package that showed Debra being assigned with the job as The Rock’s manager and Austin being furious about it. Debra then failed to make an appearance at the event and it seems the angle was completely dropped. There was no mention of this afterwards, and Debra then returned to TV following Austin’s heel turn a while later.
The Rock was always a talented performer on the mic and a lot of his insults were the reason that he gained a lot of attention – but it seems that his most famous insult was never actually his.
In the world of wrestling, the word “jabroni” was first used by The Iron Sheik. The Rock grew up around the famous star and in a 2014 documentary, The Rock revealed that he actually first heard the word from The Iron Sheik. He then decided to make it a part of his character, and Sheik allowed him to take the word.
6. He No Longer Considers Himself A Wrestler
While Johnson made a name for himself inside WWE’s four-sided ring, he has found fame as an actor all over the world, it seems.
In a 2007 interview with Ellen, The Rock stated that he was now going by Dwayne Johnson, and he no longer considered himself to be a wrestler. This makes sense, but it must be hard for many diehard wrestling fans to come to terms with that after such an illustrious career. Still, he’s known as The Rock every time he graces a WWE ring with his presence.
5. Willy Wonka?
The Hollywood star has been a part of many record breaking films since The Scorpion King, which was reported to have paid The Rock a record-breaking salary. But it seems that The Rock could have headed in a very different career direction.
Lately, The Rock has been a part of many films that show off the physical attributes that made him a household name, but he could have been cast in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory almost a decade ago. It was revealed that The Rock was Tim Burton’s second choice to play the character.
4. Rocky Maivia
The Rock wasn’t always known as The Rock; back when he made his WWE debut, he was billed as Rocky Maivia. This was considered an unsuccessful run, as he managed to make his name a blend between his father’s and his grandfather’s nicknames.
He then finally settled on the nickname that made him famous all over the world, and it would be hard to see him under any other name. The Rock, as a name, would be hard for WWE to push in today’s era of wrestling, but as a character, he paved the way for many stars of today.
3. Twice In A Lifetime
“Once in a Lifetime” was the main event match between John Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania 28 – a match that was a year in the making. The build up finally ended when The Rock defeated Cena on the “Grandest Stage of Them All,” and that should have been the end of the rivalry.
Because John Cena always deserves a rematch, WWE decided to set up “Twice in a Lifetime,” which saw the exact same match main event WrestleMania 29. Cena finally got the win over the “People’s Champion” and it was considered a huge “passing of the torch” moment.
2. The Roman Reigns Connection
Following his significantly fast rise to the main event of WWE’s roster, Roman has become one of the most hated members of the Anoa’i family, and it seems even The Rock couldn’t help his cousin win back the WWE Universe.
Following his 2015 Royal Rumble win, Reigns was heavily booed by the Philadelphia crowd. So WWE sent The Rock out to do some damage control, but this didn’t help at all as the fans continued to boo the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
1. His Moveset
WWE had many performers over the years that have managed to get by with a number of big moves; John Cena did this for many years, and The Rock managed it throughout his career.
“The People’s Elbow” is still considered to have been one of the most electrifying moves in sports entertainment, but at the same time, it is also one of the worst to have to watch as a wrestling fan. The move, much like John Cena’s “Five Knuckle Shuffle,” takes too much build and not enough pay off, and it’s something fans would rather forget than remember.