From Rocky Maivia to The Rock: The Spectacular Evolution of a WWE Legend

Published 02/07/2021, 9:47 PM EST

The Rock evolved from being a hated babyface to the most popular heel on the WWE roster. From his debut in 1996 to his last match in 2016, The Rock has undergone several appearance changes.


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Some were a hit with the WWE Universe while they disliked others. From losing his hair to growing a beard, these are the appearance changes the Rock went through during his WWE career.

The Rock during his debut years


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Making his debut at the 1996 Survivor Series, Rocky Maivia walked to the ring sporting a ridiculous outfit. He wore what appeared like a Hawaiian gown that made him look out of place, yet Madison Square Garden cheered him on.

His haircut was simple yet strange and even revealed that he cut his hair himself during that time.

Rocky kept up the look and gimmick for a while, but the fans turned on him soon enough. He then transformed into the brash leader of the Nation of Domination.

While he was a part of the faction, The Rock ditched his old attire and persona. The blue gear was out, and black trunks replaced it.

The People’s Champion is born

After his run with the Nation of Domination ended, The Rock settled into his role as the corporate champion. He became Vince McMahon’s poster boy opposite the hell-raiser Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Once his run as corporate champion was over, he transitioned into the People’s Champion.

The Rock began wearing sunglasses and sported flamboyant outfits that made him look like a movie star. While any other superstar would’ve looked hilarious in a flamboyant outfit and sunglasses, Rocky made it look incredibly cool.

The Rock that belonged to Hollywood

After his role in the movie Scorpion King, The Rock’s Hollywood career took off. He received several roles in various movies- Doom, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain and the Tooth Fairy.

His wrestling gear remained the same, but his appearance changed. He began sporting a beard and his head was now completely bald. The Rock maintained this look until he returned to the WWE in 2011.

Returns to WWE (2011- 2013)

The Rock returned to WWE in 2011 and became the host of WrestleMania 27. He returned and brought with him a ton of new gear. One of the most popular shirts simply said ‘boots 2 asses’, which became a catchphrase and crowd chant.

Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, enters the ring to talk smack about his upcoming opponent John Cena during the WWE Raw event at Rose Garden arena in Portland, Ore., Monday February 27th, 2012. (Photo by Chris Ryan/Corbis via Getty Images)

In 2012, The Rock returned with a moustache and beard for his match against John Cena at WrestleMania 28. This was a more intimidating look, and it was apparent that he added a lot more muscle.

The Rock lost the beard in 2013 to prepare for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. His match with John Cena was the main event of WrestleMania 29 and was his last wrestling match for three years. He appeared briefly at WrestleMania 32, defeating Erick Rowan in the quickest match of all time [8 seconds].

Current look


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Right now, The Rock looks absolutely shredded. He is probably the most shredded 48-year-old in the world. A strict workout routine and diet has helped him maintain his muscle mass.

It is unlikely that the Rock is ever going to age. At 48, he has a body of a Greek God, and one can’t help but wonder what he’ll look like at 60. It only gets better for the People’s Champion.


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Nathan Fulgado

1014 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.