Pro-Wrestling Rock interview
Last updated 16 January 2000
With every appearance you make, the response seems to get louder
What has been the key to your success during the past year?
The Rock:I think the key to the character's success are a couple of
No. 1: The ability to entertain the fans creatively, week in and week
out on a
day-to-day basis. And the simple fact that when you hear The Rock's
when the fans hear The Rock's music, the character comes out, and
he grabs that microphone they know they are going to hear something
different and not only different -- because anybody can say something
different -- but more importantly, entertaining.
You give the best promos in the business. Do you write your own
The Rock:I write all my own material, I do. I take a lot of pride
in being creative. I take a lot of pride in being innovative, and I
take a lot of pride in having my finger on the pulse of all The Rock's
fans. The character has established himself in such a way that it's
very important that the character continues to go out there and do
what he does best. And the fans want that, the fans expect
that, and the character gives that to them.
How did you come up with the "People's Elbow"?
The Rock:The "People's Elbow" came about two years ago during my
first heelrun and my second [Intercontinental] title reign. Basically,
right when I joined the Nation; my very first heel run in August of
1997. . . . I decided to drop an elbow, and then one day I kicked the
guy's arm in and just dropped the elbow Then one day I kicked his arm
in, hit the ropes and dropped it. And then I was at a house show one
night, and I thought 'I'll kick his arm in, hit the opposite rope and
jump over him.' So I did that, I ran, I jumped over him, came back,
dropped the elbow, got a minimal reaction and I thought "I'm going to
do that." . . . It turned into the most electrifying move in sports
What does the immediate future hold?
The Rock:Well, right now I just think it's important to continue to
raise the bar in sports entertainment, that my peers have no choice
but to follow, in terms of
entertaining the fans promo wise, and
continue to break barriers in things I say.
And I don't mean in terms of just going
out and cursing, because anybody can
do that. Just in terms of putting
together very creative interviews.
When we talked before you said you loved
being a heel. Are you happy
with the current direction of your
character as a babyface?
The Rock:Yes, because the great thing
about it is, The Rock is still the same,
the character of The Rock is still the
same. He can be the colossal, arrogant
[expletive] that he wants to be. Or he
can be entertaining, sing to old ladies and
give them $100 if he wants to. The beauty
of the character of The Rock, and I
sincerely mean this, is that there is so
much depth to the character. The
character can do anything he wants to and
get away with it. . . . It is a very
nonlinear character, and that, I think,
makes the character very special.
How important is it for you to get the
world title back?
The Rock:From a business standpoint, I
am in no rush to get the WWF title
again. There is such a great intangible
about the character of The Rock that he
doesn't need to have the WWF title around
his waist. Some guys, you have to
do that to elevate them. We did do that
with The Rock to elevate him to that
level, but after that it's almost like,
everyone says "Give the belt to The Rock,
we want him as our champ" but it's really
not needed. But I will say this, down
the line, it will happen when it's right.
People can say "Well, it's got to be right
now." It could be right now, but
anticipation . . . it will happen.
How does it feel to hear the fans "Sing
Along with The Rock?"
The Rock:It's a great feeling, it's a
humbling feeling to get the reaction I get . .
. in the arena like tonight, how it's
going to be in Richmond, at restaurants, out
on the streets. It's very humbling to me.
What makes the "Sing Along with The
Rock" special is that when he was a heel,
and essentially in this industry, we
all work for a reaction. Every single guy
wants whatever he says, the people to
say it with him. . . . What's made it
special was the first time people started
starting singing to The Rock, The Rock
said, "Uh-uh, this ain't no sing-along,
this ain't karaoke night here in
Richmond. The Rock says it by himself." And
right away, the people liked it even
You have come a long way in the past two
years. When you struggled
early in your career as Rocky Maivia, did
you ever think you might have
chosen the wrong profession?
The Rock:Never, no, I never thought
that. I never at anytime when my
character was not getting over whatsoever
as a babyface when I first came in, at
no time did I ever think I chose the
wrong profession, because this industry is in
my blood. I grew up in this industry, I
have a passion for what I do, I absolutely
love what I do. But to me, what was
imperative was just that I knew someday,
somehow, some way, I was going to make an
impact on this industry. When I
was approached with the heel turn in '97,
I thought absolutely. Not only that, not
only do I want to be a heel, but I want
you to let me be me.
With your rise to the top, jealousy is
going happen, and the "Road Dogg"
has been critical of you in the past. How
are you treated in the locker
The Rock:I don't get a lot of jealousy.
If there is a lot of jealousy, it's kept in
the closet. The professional jealousy, I
can somewhat understand. The personal
jealousy, I can't even fathom. Because
there's a selected few I get close to, and
not that many people really know me. I
wasn't disturbed, nor was I surprised at
the comments that "Road Dogg" made in his
interview with you. He's very
insecure, and he's one that can be very
jealous. Ironically enough, the guys at
the very top of this industry in our
company, and I'm going to speak of right now
two guys -- the Undertaker and "Stone
Cold" Steve Austin -- have without a
shadow of a doubt been my two biggest, my
two biggest supporters and
confidants in this industry. And why I
say ironically is, because with those guys
at the top of the business, we are
competing for the same spot. But those guys
are secure enough with their characters,
secure enough with their positions
within the company to realize we got a
guy in The Rock, who is 27, who has
already done what he's done, he's going
to help us make millions more dollars.
We welcome him. A guy like the "Road
Dogg" is very petty."
You and Austin are the top two guys in
the business now. Do you see
where people could think there would be
personal friction between the
two of you, especially since both of you
are babyfaces and essentially
competing for the same spot?
The Rock:When I first turned babyface,
there was a lot of rumor that there was
friction between The Rock and Austin,
almost coming to blows one night at a
house show in California . . . which is
the farthest thing from the truth. Again,
"Stone Cold" is the ultimate professional
who realizes what we have here. And
what we have here is an X-factor, an
unexplainable fire between The Rock and
"Stone Cold." Whether it be as a babyface
against a heel or two babyfaces or
two heels. There's a magic, there's a
chemistry there that is . . . amazing. And
we've become tight that way, so I don't
think there can ever be personal friction
there. We are too good of friends, and I
know that may surprise a lot of people
reading this, but what we do is
entertainment, it is a show.
I believe if you and Austin headlined
Wrestlemania in a match as two
babyfaces, it would set records. That is
the match people want to see. I
know it is a few months down the road,
but is that what the WWF is
The Rock:I can't say that. . . . I will
say this: If that were to ever happen -- The
Rock against "Stone Cold" as two
babyfaces -- it would set a box-office record.
What is your career goal in wrestling?
The Rock:Well, I am 27. I am very
fortunate, very lucky, very blessed. To be
blessed with a wonderful family, to be
blessed with a career that I absolutely
love. . . . My goals are, again to
continue to raise the bar, to continue to do
things and say things that nobody does.
And to go down in the history books
as one of the best, if not the absolute
best, this industry has ever seen. And
there's been a lot of great ones. No pun
intended. There's been a lot of great
ones, literally. From [Hulk] Hogan to
[Ric] Flair to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
How many years are left on your contract,
and do you foresee yourself
ever working with WCW?
The Rock:"Five, and do I ever foresee
myself working for them? No, absolutely
not. There's a quality here that I take a
lot of pride in, which is loyalty to ones
that are loyal to me. I have known Vince
[McMahon] since I was 10. Obviously,
my grandfather worked for his dad, so the
roots are there. The WWF is The
Rock's home. The Rock was born in the WWF
. . . the hill of the WWF is the
hill that The Rock is king of.
What has been the highlight of your
The Rock:So far the highlight of my
career has been headlining Wrestlemania
XV with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
Although I passed the torch that night in
terms of giving the people what they
want, which was him as the WWF
champion. Of course, I had no problem
with that. But to headline Wrestlemania,
which is the biggest attraction in sports
entertainment, and what made it
special is we did a record number without
the star power of celebrity
You've had many great matches. Which one
stands out as being your
best and why?
The Rock:Wrestlemania was a great match,
but actually Backlash was better.
. . . We went all over the place, and
completely destroyed Providence [R.I.].
And it was a very fitting match to end
What would be the dream match for The
Rock? You can pick any venue
The Rock:Wow. . . . It's in Madison
Square Garden, a triple threat match, in
1978. [Against] my dad, Rocky Johnson,
[and] my grandfather, "High Chief"
Peter Maivia, for the WWF title. Double
"People's Elbow,' The Rock goes over
clean; 1,2,3, the WWF champion [he says,