Thursday, October 1, 1998
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
The Rock is on fire
The chants of "Rocky Sucks" are becoming less and less evident nowadays. The Rock is laying the smack down on the WWF and it doesn't look like he is going to stop anytime soon. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the self appointed People's Champ actually became the People's Champ, but get ready WWF fans, The Rock is here to stay, and you can do two things about it, nothing or like it.
Rocky Maivia was entered into the WWF as a face, and to put it bluntly, he flopped. The Fans didn't care he was a third generation wrestler, they didn't care he was a blue-chipper. So Vinny Mac took the hint, and he was eventually enrolled in the Nation of Domination.
Rocky was still a jobber, not in the real sense of the word, but he wasn't really a established mid-carder at that point. Time passed, and the gimmick of the friction between Faarooq and the Nation occurred. To make a long story short, Faarooq was out and Rocky took over. In the weeks that followed that, Rocky Maivia died, and The Rock was born.
The Rock is the ultimate heel. He was the man you loved to hate, feuding with Steve Austin, and eventually ending up with the IC title. He was booed everywhere he went, his People's Elbow was booed, everything. As I said, the ultimate heel.
Six months ago, if you told me how The Rock would end up as he is now. I would have laughed at you. People cheering for The Rock? Come on, it would never happen. Well folks, just as quickly as the Ultimate Heel was born, the Ultimate Face now emerges. The Rock is hot, and I mean red hot. The people finally clicked into his no nonsense attitude and snobbery, but why? And when?
The point I'd say The Rock got over with the fans was around the week after Summerslam. The HHH vs The Rock ladder match was the best match of the night, even better than the main event. If Triple H actually knew how to time it so it didn't look like The Rock forgot how to climb a ladder, the match would have been perfect. I think after Summerslam, we all finally saw what was always there, REAL talent, and since we've seen the talent, we now find the interviews with him that much funnier.
So let's put it all together, The Rock's got excellent mic skills, a great "look" as a wrestler, top of the line wrestling ability, and the fans love him. Folks, this is a recipe for a main eventer. He won't be champion yet -- The Undertaker will win the match on the November PPV and will reign for a while. But look for The Rock in the new year.
The WWF is looking stronger and stronger, with young fresh talent, and a lot of potential still brewing. The Rock is going to be a main eventer real soon and we are all looking forward to it.
Terry Dunphy is from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. He can be emailed at email@example.com