Rocky Maivia aka, The Rock, competed in his first WWE match at Survivor Series 1996. On November 17, 1996, inside New York’s legendary stadium Madison Square Garden, Rocky Johnson walked into the ring with a smile.

It’s been 25 years since the first third-generation wrestler, baby-face Rocky, won his first match for the company. He eliminated Goldust and Crash at his debut match in a traditional survivor series match. After that, however, the joy around The Rock’s debut victory disappeared.

Recently, on Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard, Conrad Thompson talked to WWE Chief and Producer Bruce Prichard to know about the meteoric rise of “The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment.”


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How did the fans react to Rocky Maivia’s debut match?

Bruce Prichard mentioned what a great card it was overall. Rocky Maivia inside the Madison Square Garden for his debut match at Survivor Series 96. Unfortunately, he said, “They just s**t all over him. I mean that crowd that just s**t all over him.” Bruce Prichard acknowledged Conrad’s fact that the crowd loved the bad guys such as Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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But, sadly, The Rock being Mister White Meat Babyface; the audience booed him at his first match. Bruce recollected the memory of the pay-per-view Survivor Series 96. He mentioned Rocky came inside the ring and asked the audience to cheer him, but the audience was like, “F**k you,” Bruce added.

Conrad Thompson later asked the WWE producer about the reaction backstage. Instead of being the Blue Chipper baby-face, the New York crowd backfired at Rocky Maivia. Bruce responded, “The audience was sick of us telling them how to feel, and that was something we were conditioned to do. You’re gonna love this guy; cheer him.

It was Vince McMahon’s decision to put The Rock as a baby-face

Thompson pointed out the similarity between The Rock’s debut situation with the current WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. When the company pushes the audience to like a WWE superstar, it might get back at them. “I think that’s what probably hurts Roman to a point. If you let the audience choose them, and then it happens organically, or at least they think it happens organically, then it just usually works so much better. We can oversell and over hype to the point that no matter what you do, they can walk on water.


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He admitted it was Vince McMahon’s and the creative fault to push a WWE Superstar, The Rock, in front of an audience to like and cheer him. “Vince is just stubborn, and he felt the same here. Whether they like it or not, they are gonna love him,” Bruce Prichard added this, mimicking Vince McMahon’s voice.

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However, Bruce Prichard stated that Vince McMahon’s decision has sold out ideas in some cases. For instance, when the creators wanted to turn John Cena into a heel, Vince McMahon declared he wouldn’t be a heel. As a result, years have passed, The Champ has been a baby-face, and the people fell in love with him.


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The people’s favorite, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was booed at his debut match at Survivor Series 1996. The man of the company Vince McMahon thought it was a right decision to put Rocky Maivia as a baby-face and tell the audience to like him. Irrespective of The Rock’s first night in the wrestling ring, he has proved the wrestling industry that he is unstoppable.