I don’t often blog about more personal stories and wrestling. But with the return of The Great One, The Most Electrifying Man In All Of Sports Entertainment, The People’s Champion… THE ROCK… on the premier episode of Friday Night SmackDown on Fox Sports this week, I felt compelled to write a little bit about how Dwayne Johnson has played a key role in my love of professional wrestling, and how he’s really played a key role in my life.
People often ask and speak about their earliest memories of what they love. For Wrestling mine is back in late 1999/early 2000 time when I lived in a house with my Mum, her brother sister (my Auntie and Uncle) Vicky and Scott and my Grandma Brenda. We would have wrestling on regularly, and at that time the WWF as it was known then had The Rock as the top good guy with Stone Cold Steve Austin out injured. On the opposite side fighting him for the Championship was Triple H. In our house me, Mum, Grandma and my Auntie were Team Rock. My Uncle Scott played spoiler and was team Triple H. I can’t recall specifics but Triple H was champion a lot back then, so when The Rock did triumph it was special.
A couple of years ago I took a Video (asked your parents kids) to my Grandma’s house to watch with her and My Uncle. The video was the King of the Ring 2000 show that took place on June 25th that year. The main event saw a 6 man tag team match with The Rock, Kane and The Undertaker on one side and on the other… The McMahon-Helmsley faction made up of the champion Triple H with his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley accompanying him, Shane McMahon and Mr McMahon. The stipulations of this match were that whoever got the pinfall at the end of the match would be the WWF Champion, so even if Triple H wasn’t pinned he could lose the title he held so dear. The finish sees The Rock hit the Rock Bottom on Mr McMahon for the win. My Grandma, not recalling the result despite it being over 15 years ago, cheered and pumped her fist in delight. The Rock became WWF Champion and still well over a decade later it still means a lot.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has pretty much been there in some form all across my life. Be it getting multiple requests from Mum/Grandma/Auntie Vic to repeat The Rock’s ‘IF YOU SMELL… ALALALALALALALALALAAAAA’ catchphrase, as I did so often when I was younger, or even the joy from me and Mum whenever we hear the Wycleaf Jean song ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ that The Rock featured on which I think if you ask the people who worked on The Box music video request channel my Mum pretty much kept running with the number of requests she made for this song some years ago!
Around 2003 time I became friends with a set of brothers who lived next door to my Grandma. They all loved wrestling too. At WrestleMania 19 that year Stone Cold Steve Austin faced The Rock having beaten him at two separate WrestleMania’s before. Everyone loved Austin. Not me. I preferred The Rock and back then Steve Austin, possible the biggest good guy in the history of the business, was the Devil to a 8 year old Josh Headey! FINALLY though at long last The Rock beat Stone Cold at a WrestleMania. It turned out to be the final match of Steve Austin’s career. What a way and a stage to end it on. I finally got what I wanted, The Rock had beaten Stone Cold at WrestleMania. Perfection.
More recently as Dwayne Johnson’s Hollywood stardom increased, the WWE appearances of The Rock became less and less frequent. That changed when ahead of WrestleMania 27 The Rock was revealed as the show’s guest host. ‘FINALLY… THE ROCK HAS COME BACK… HOME’ he said, and all us fans simultaneously swooned. Our conquering hero was back. The Rock’s return would all center around the modern-day version of The People’s Champion; John Cena. At WrestleMania 28 in his hometown of Miami, Florida The Rock defeated John Cena in the main event. A year later in what would be his final ‘proper’ WWE match John Cena defeated The Rock to win the WWE Championship (a title The Rock had won some months earlier). After all those years away The Rock returned and created more magic with the top guy in the company. He’s still got it.
Before this Friday the most famous recent appearances of The Rock back in WWE came at WrestleMania in 2015 and 2016. At Mania 31 Rock called Ronda Rousey out of the crowd to get back at Stephanie McMahon who had just slapped him. A year later as The Rock had come out to announce the attendance record for WrestleMania 32 in AT&T Stadium he was confronted by The Wyatt Family. After a fascinating interaction with Bray Wyatt, The Rock challenged either him, Erick Rowan or Braun Strowman. Rock ripped of his tracksuit bottoms to reveal his classic wrestling shorts, he was ready to go… NOW… Rowan stepped up…………..
The Rock defeated Erick Rowan with Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman
Rock hit the Rock Bottom on Rowan immediately as the bell rung and got the pin. The match lasted around 6 or 7 seconds.
Enraged by this humiliation the Wyatt Family beat down The Rock after… and who should come out to save him but JOHN CENA! Tremendous stuff.
And until this Friday that was pretty much it for The Rock in WWE as Dwayne Johnson was busy becoming the number one star in Hollywood.
Basically The Rock means a lot to me. Along with The Undertaker he’s my favourite WWE Superstar of all time. He was the favourite of My Mum, My Grandma and My Auntie. A lot of memorable moments in my life I can relate to what The Rock was doing in a wrestling ring or what Dwayne Johnson was doing in a movie. I often hear of people going to see a movie for one actor and I never got it. Until recently…
One Friday this past August ahead of my birthday this year me and my Mum went to the Cinema. We went to see the spin-off film from the Fast and Furious series entitled ‘Hobbs and Shaw’. It is produced and starred in by Dwayne Johnson alongside the likes of Jason Statham and Idris Elba. In one scene Johnson’s character is face-timing his daughter, the daughter says questions on if he will do ‘that eyebrow thing’ he does when he is flirting with a woman… ‘no, surely not’ me and Mum thought… Johnson’s character laughs off the question… BUT just before he ends the call he says her name… AND THEN DWAYNE JOHNSON RAISED THE PEOPLE’S EYEBROW!!! Mum cheered, I jumped around and giggled like an excited school girl. I was a man in my 20s next to my Mum and I was not embarrassed at this reaction one bit. All these years later The Rock is still the coolest.
This Friday Night The Rock comes back to Layeth the SmackDown on ALLLLLLLL YOUR CANDY ASSES!
This Friday Night on the premier episode of SmackDown on Fox, The Rock comes back… home…