Hack-Man Pro-Wrestling Rock interview

Last updated 16 January 2000

Question: 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 reasons. 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 music, when the fans hear The Rock's music, the character comes out, and every time 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.

Question: You give the best promos in the business. Do you write your own material?

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.

Question: 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 entertainmen

Question: 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.

Question: 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.

Question: 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.

Question: 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 more.

Question: 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.

Question: 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 room?

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."

Question: 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.

Question: 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 working toward?

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.

Question: 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.

Question: 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.

Question: What has been the highlight of your career?

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 appearances.

Question: 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 our program.

Question: What would be the dream match for The Rock? You can pick any venue and opponent.

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, laughing].