Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson changed the face of professional wrestling. “The most electrifying superstar in the history of professional wrestling” took World Wrestling Entertainment to the mainstream with his fire-spitting promos and incredible chemistry with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
However, things weren’t always that good for Johnson. Long before he became the people’s champ, Dwayne debuted in WWE with the character of Rocky Maivia. This character was starkly different from the edgier character of The Rock.
A cheesy babyface, Maivia was heavily rejected by the WWE Universe. Many thought that Dwayne Johnson’s professional wrestling career was over. However, the advent of the attitude era gave him the opportunity to debut the most iconic character in the history of professional wrestling.
Rocky Maivia was sent down the drain and the era of The Rock descended upon us. Many consider this the greatest reinvention ever done by any wrestler. In fact, his on-screen persona became so popular that soon Hollywood came calling.
The rest as they say is history. Like many others, The Undertaker had completely dismissed The Rock as a superstar. In an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk, The Undertaker revealed that one superstar who exceeded his expectations was The Rock.
The Undertaker found the answer very easy. As per him, Dwayne really surprised everyone with his success.
“He came in to Madison Square Garden, and they give him the name of Rocky Maivia. Oh my gosh, it was awful, it was totally, I mean they handcuffed him right out of the get go, right? I remember watching him, and the Garden, they’re merciless. If they don’t like what you’re doing, and man, they just lit him up.”
“I had no clue how charismatic he was. I was like, ‘such a shame, he’s not going to be here long’. Once he got to The Nation of Domination… by the time he was at the end of his run with them, I was like, he’s not gonna be here long.”
The fact that The Undertaker, who is one of the greatest minds in professional wrestling, could not figure out the talent of The Rock is surprising. It just goes on to show how horrible of a character Dwayne had to play. He eventually proved to the world that just one bad run can’t end the career of a legend.