The Rock is easily the most electrifying wrestler in the world today. Originally known as
Rocky Maivia Jr., The Rock has gained the popularity of fans everywhere. The “People’s
Eyebrow” and the “People’s Elbow” set up his devastating Rock Bottom finisher, a move he
has used to put away many of the sport’s top grapplers. The Rock is the son of Rocky
Johnson, a longtime mat hero, and the grandson of the legendary Peter Maivia.
During the ’90s, he was a star football player for the University of Miami in Coral Gables,
Florida. After graduation in 1995 and playing pro-ball in Canada, The Rock trained for his
professional wrestling debut. In only about two years, he would go from prelim to main
eventer and in the history of professional wrestling, only a handful of grapplers made leaps
that large. Bruno Sammartino was one. The top two wrestlers of the last twenty years, Hulk
Hogan and Ric Flair, both needed more than five years before capturing a World
Championship. The Rock needed only a little more than two from 1996 to 1998. Stone Cold”
Steve Austin, another WWF top-notcher, needed eight years plus.
The Rock was an impact player on the organization since day one and assisted in the rise
of the WWF above competition. The Rock has also been one of the most visible wrestlers in
the public eye. In 2000, he hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live and MTV’s Total Request
Live. He was on a popular hip-hop song by Wyclef Jean and participated in the Republican
National Convention. In 2001, the Rock starred in a feature Hollywood Film entitled “The
Mummy Returns,” which was a box-office smash. By 2001, he was a six-time WWF World
Champion, eclipsing Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart on the all-time list and became the tenth man
in history to have held both the WWF and WCW World Titles. The Rock was not even 30
years of age.
Rocky made his professional wrestling debut in May 1996. The Rock spent time in the
United States Wrestling Association out of Memphis using the name Flex Kavana. On June
17, 1996, he teamed with Bart Sawyer to capture the vacant USWA World Tag Team Title in
a tournament final. They remained the champions for a month, losing the belts on July 15th
in Memphis to Brickhouse Brown and Reggie B. Fine.
He would soon sign with the World Wrestling Federation and became known as Rocky
Maivia Jr., a tribute to his father and grandfather. Before anyone knew it, Maivia was making
an impact. He teamed with Barry Windham, Marc Mero and Jake Roberts against Jerry
Lawler, Goldust, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Crush on November 17, 1996 in New York City.
The Madison Square Garden event marked his first pay-per-view event, the Survivor Series.
He pinned Crush and Goldust after the other members of his team had been eliminated.
Maivia was the sole survivor. How many other wrestlers could say that they were as
successful at their first pay-per-view?
He battled Salvatore Sincere during In Your House XII on December 15th in West Palm
Beach. The match was not seen on pay-per-view. He beat Sincere by disqualification. In
less than a year of professional activity, Maivia won his first major single’s championship. He
beat Helmsley to capture the Intercontinental Title on February 13th in Lowell,
Massachusetts. Maivia won over Helmsley again on the 16th in Chattanooga. He beat Triple
H again on March 15, 1997 in Louisville at the Gardens. The next night, Maivia went to New
York’s Madison Square Garden and lost to Helmsley by disqualification but retained his I-C
WrestleMania was on March 23, 1998 in Chicago, Illinois. Rocky Maivia battled the Iron
Sheik’s Sultan and won by pinfall. He lost to Savio Vega by countout on April 20th in
Rochester during the 14th installment of In Your House. He had been attacked by Crush on
the outside, leading to the decision. Maivia dropped the I-C Title eight days later to Owen
Hart in Omaha during Monday Raw is War. Mankind beat Maivia by submission at In Your
House XV on May 11, 1997 in Richmond, Virginia.
Maivia dropped out of action, but returned as a member of the Nation of Domination.
Other members included D-Lo Brown, Kama and leader Faarooq. He teamed with Brown and
Kama on October 5th at Bad Blood. Their opponents were the Legion of Doom, Hawk and
Animal in a handicap match after Ken Shamrock was injured and unable to compete. The
NOD won. At the Survivor Series in Montreal, Maivia, Brown, Kama and Faarooq wrestled
Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson and the Legion of Doom. Early in the match, he landed his Rock
Bottom, although it was not called such yet, and pinned Hawk. Fighting off repetitive taunts
from the crowd, he also pinned Johnson with some outside help from Farrooq. In the finals,
Maivia was locked into an ankle lock by Shamrock and was forced to tap out.
On December 7th, Maivia challenged Steve Austin for the Intercontinental Title, but was
defeated. The following night in Portland, Maine during Raw, Maivia beat Austin by forfeit
and captured the title. His second reign began. Both participated in the Royal Rumble and
defended his Intercontinental Title on January 18, 1998 in San Jose, California. He entered
the ring at number 4 and was last eliminated by Austin. An astonishing accomplishment. He
also beat Ken Shamrock by disqualification in his title defense.
At No Way Out on February 15th, Maivia teamed with Mark Henry, Brown, Faarooq and
Kama in a loss to the Disciples of Apocalypse, Ahmed Johnson and Shamrock. Maivia beat
Shamrock by reverse decision at WrestleMania XIV on March 29th in Boston. On April 26th,
Maivia teamed with Henry and Brown against Steve Blackman, Shamrock and Faarooq. NOD
lost the match in Greensboro. After Farrooq left the group, Maivia wrestled him in Milwaukee
during the Over the Edge show on May 31st. He beat the former WCW World Champion.
Soon afterwards, he entered the 1998 King of the Ring. The semifinals and finals were
held on pay-per-view on June 28th in Pittsburgh. He wrestled Dan Severn first and
successfully advanced by pin. Ken Shamrock also advanced. He met his arch enemy in the
finals. Maivia got caught in a submission hold and was forced to tap out to the former UFC
Champion. He wrestled Hunter Hearst Helmsley to a 30-minute draw in Fresno on July 26,
1998 at the Civic Center. Maivia remained the I-C Champion until SummerSlam in New York
City. Helmsley won a special ladder match over Maivia. In late September, Maivia won a
three-way steel cage match over Mankind and Shamrock in Hamilton, Ontario. He pinned
Shamrock. Maivia lost to Mark Henry at Judgment Day ’98.
On Sunday, November 15, 1998, the annual Survivor Series was held in St. Louis. The
World Title was vacant and a tournament was held to determine a new champion. Maivia was
ready to make history. After Hunter Hearst Helmsley failed to appear, The Rock faced off
against one of Vince McMahon’s Corporation, The Big Bossman. The Bossman ran out with
a vengeance, but the Rock used it against him. He rolled up the big man and scored a four-
second pin. In the second round, he was matched up against Ken Shamrock, a man he knew
pretty well. Shamrock was also a member of the Corporation. Bossman attempted to toss
Shamrock the nightstick, but the Rock caught it. The rest was history and he was on his way
to the semifinal round. Opposing him was the tough Undertaker. Kane decided to run out
and chokeslam the Rock, then brawl with the Undertaker. Because of the interference, the
Rock won by disqualification. Mankind also got by Steve Austin in a crowd upset with some
help from Vince and Shane McMahon.
In the finals, the Rock was cheered wildly, but the audience was not prepared for what they
were about to see. Mankind was locked in a sharpshooter, a move made famous by Bret
Hart and made legend during the 1997 Survivor Series. Within seconds, the referee and
McMahon stopped the match. Mankind hadn’t given up, but the Rock was declared the
winner. He had captured his first WWF World Heavyweight Title. An estimated 21,000 fans
voiced their disapproval as the Rock celebrated with the McMahons in the ring. Mankind
immediately questioned the situation, but he was met the WWF Title Belt and a Rock Bottom.
Much to the delight of the crowd, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin ran out and broke up the party.
Nevertheless, the Rock was the World Champion. He had made his professional debut only
The Rock was Vince McMahon’s “Corporate Champion” and had sold out his legion of
fans. He beat X-Pac in London during the Capital Carnage pay-per-view and then returned
to the U.S. for “Rock Bottom” on December 13, 1998. The show was held in Vancouver,
British Columbia. He faced Mankind in a rematch from their tournament final match. More
Corporate involvement allowed him to lose the match but not the belt. McMahon announced
that the title would not change hands because the Rock had not been pinned for forced to
submit. The champ had been caught in the Mandible Claw when the official stopped the
bout. After the match, the Rock, Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock attacked Mankind in an
attempt to put him out of the business. They should have known that he was not going out
The Rock defended the World Title against Mankind on December 29th during Raw in
Worcester. He lost the belt and Mick Foley had won his first WWF World Championship.
Rock regained the belt on January 24, 1999 during the Royal Rumble in Anaheim. The two
had engaged in a special “I Quit” match, which saw the end come with a voice over from
Mankind saying the words days earlier were played over the house speakers. Two nights
later, a bout was taped between Rock and Mankind in an empty arena scheduled to be
broadcast during halftime of the SuperBowl on Sunday. The brutal contest at the Convention
Center in Tucson ended with Mankind winning the belt for a second time.
On February 15th in Birmingham, Maivia captured his third World Title from Mankind. He
received the challenge of Steve Austin going into WrestleMania XV in Philadelphia. Before
an estimated 18,000 fans, Austin pinned Maivia on March 28th at the First Union Center and
took the belt. He lost to Austin in a rematch on April 25th at Backlash. Vince McMahon came
in and attacked his son, Shane, for helping the Rock. The next night, Shane McMahon fired
him from the Corporation. It was the right move. The Rock returned to the cheers and his
popularity soured once again. On April 27th in New Haven, he teamed with Austin in a match
against Triple H and the Undertaker. The bout ended in a no-contest. The Rock beat
Helmsley by disqualification on May 23rd in Kansas City. Triple H had hit the referee, earning
During the King of the Ring on June 27th, he received a shot at the Undertaker’s WWF
World Title. He lost by pinfall. The Rock lost a falls-count-anywhere strap match in Buffalo to
Helmsley during the Fully Loaded pay-per-view. The WWF invaded former AWA Territory for
SummerSlam ’99 and over 17,000 fans were present. The Rock wrestled and pinned Billy
Gunn. On August 30th in Boston, Rock teamed with Mankind to capture the WWF World Tag
Team Title from the Undertaker and the Big Show. The accomplishment marked the third
time in history that both a father and a son captured the WWF World Tag Title. Rocky
Johnson won the belt with Tony Atlas in November 1983. The Rock and Mankind would be
known as the “Rock and Sock Connection.”
After Vince McMahon vacated the World Title…yes, he was the champion, promoters
scheduled a “Six-Pack” challenge between the WWF’s top competitors. The Rock was
matched up against Helmsley, Mankind, Big Show, Kane and Davey Boy Smith. The show
was broadcast live on pay-television on September 26th from former Crockett Territory,
Charlotte, North Carolina. The winner of the match would capture the World Title. Rocky
was pinned by Triple H in the final as Steve Austin, the special referee, made the count. In
early October 1999, the Rock went to Birmingham, England to challenge Helmsley for the
World Title in a special cage match. Triple H retained. At No Mercy in Cleveland, Rocky beat
Davey Boy Smith with a pinfall.
The Rock participated in a three-way dance at the Survivor Series in Detroit which saw the
Big Show capture the WWF World Title. During the match, Rock was attacked by members
of DX. The Rock had a huge opportunity to show his hometown fans what he was made of on
January 3, 2000 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Instead of receiving
acceptance to the challenge he posed against Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the World Title, he
received a “Handicap, Your Fired Match” against three members of Degeneration X. Rocky
had to fight Billy Gunn, Jesse James and X-Pac. He pinned Gunn to win the bout with the
help of Mick Foley.
Two days later on January 5th, a book was released entitled The Rock Says… by the Rock
and Joe Layden. The 292 page autobiography was published by Regan Books, the same
publishing house who published Mick Foley’s Bestseller. The Rock’s book followed in it’s
footsteps and was an immediate hit. The frankness of the book allowed fans into the Rock’s
life, bringing them closer to their favorite WWF Superstar.
On January 17th in New Haven, the Rock ran to the ring to halt an attack on Cactus Jack
by Triple H and DX. The Big Show followed to attack him. In New York City, the Rock won the
annual Royal Rumble event on January 23rd. He eliminated the Show in the finals at the 51:
47 mark. The Rock wrestled Big Show at No Way Out before 12,000 in Hartford. He lost by
Rock returned to Manhattan and hosted Saturday Night Live on March 18, 2000. With him
were Vince McMahon, Big Show, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mick Foley. In an opening skit,
McMahon told the wrestlers not to disturb the Rock’s performance. Each of the WWF’s
wrestlers comedically performed but the Rock, as the host, came through in a big way. The
Rock caught the eye of many in Hollywood and those who wouldn’t normally see him on
Monday Nights on USA. AC/DC, in a side note, was the musical guest. Pretty soon,
Hollywood would be calling.
During WrestleMania XVI on April 2nd in Anaheim, Rocky wrestled Show, Helmsley and
Foley in a four-way elimination match for the WWF World Title. He pinned Show prior to
Helmsley’s pin on Foley. The WWF Champ, Triple H pinned him in the finals. He regained
the WWF Title from Helmsley at Backlash in Washington DC on April 30th. Rock received
some help from a returning Steve Austin, who had been out since late ‘99. During the bout,
he battled off a number of enemies, including the “Stooges” and Shane McMahon, who was
the special referee. Rock and Austin celebrated afterwards. On May 21st in Louisville, the
Rock lost the belt back to Triple H in an Ironman Match. He gained five falls to Helmsley’s six
in a historic contest of will
The Rock competed in a six-man tag team match with special circumstances on June 25th
at the King of the Ring in Boston. He pinned Vince McMahon to capture Triple H’s World
Title. It was his fifth, tying a record also shared by Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart.
In August 2000, he appeared in Philadelphia for the Republican National Convention.
Although comical and serious at the same time, his showing brought out the naysayers. In
the main event of SummerSlam, Rocky retained over Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle and
Triple H. He pinned the latter. Rock appeared at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards on
September 7th in New York, along with Chyna. The Rock walked on stage with another
“Rock,” Kid Rock. Fans were rabid. He pinned the “Canadian Crippler” Chris Benoit in the
finals of a four-way WWF Title Match which also had Kane and the Undertaker wrestling on
September 24, 2000. Prior, Benoit had pinned the Undertaker and left the ring area with the
WWF World Title. The match was restarted, luckily for the Rock and his fans.
Rock dropped the WWF Title to Kurt Angle during the No Mercy pay-per-view on October
22nd in Albany. Rikishi’s attempt to help him backfired and cost him the championship. He
also had to fend off Hunter Hearst Helmsley. The following night on Raw, The Rock faced
Rikishi face-to-face. The two had words for several minutes before the Rock put him to the
mat with a Rock Bottom. At the Survivor Series, he wrestled Rikishi in a special grudge match
on November 19th in Tampa, Florida. Rocky won the match, but not the war, as he was
attacked afterwards by his opponent and former friend. Rikishi landed four big splashes and
injured the former WWF Champ. Despite the handicap, he didn’t miss any time.
The Rock entered a four-way match against Steve Austin, Rikishi and Kurt Angle for the
WWF Title on December 2nd in Sheffield, England. Angle pinned Rikishi to retain his belt
before a large pay-per-view audience in Great Britain. Armageddon 2000 saw a six-way
WWF World Title, “Hell in a Cell” match. He wrestled Angle, the Undertaker, Austin, Helmsley
and Rikishi. He was pinned by Angle in 32:10. Rock joined the thirty competitors seeking to
co-headline WrestleMania on January 21, 2001 in New Orleans. The Rock entered the Royal
Rumble at position 13 and remained until the end. Austin eliminated him in the finals for the
victory. It was a good performance, but no victory.
On February 25th in Las Vegas, he captured his sixth WWF World Title with a rematch
against Angle. The Big Show interfered, but his attack was not enough to change the course
of history. Since 1963, the WWF never had a six-time World Champion. He had
accomplished the feat. Wrestlemania XVII was held on April 1, 2001 before nearly 70,000
fans at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The Rock was the defending champion
and his challenger was the 2001 Royal Rumble winner, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. As
expected, both wrestlers gave their all, and in the end, Vince McMahon assisted Austin and
the title changed hands. Fans were stunned as was the wrestling community. Austin had
received outside help from his arch nemesis to win the belt. The Rock stormed the ring in
Fort Worth the next night on Raw. McMahon had already been in the ring speaking to the
livid crowd. Fireworks were sure to go off and they did.
The Rock wanted an immediate rematch for the belt. The first answer was the wrong one
and McMahon ended up in a sharpshooter. The match was agreed to and a special
stipulation was inserted. The ring was going to be surrounded with a steel cage. Later in the
night, he had the rematch won by submission, but McMahon distracted the referee. Rocky
was finally out-dueled when Triple H attacked him with a sledgehammer. Bloody, the Rock
was beaten by Helmsley and Austin until the show ended and the trio congratulated each
other for their actions. On Thursday’s Smackdown, Vince McMahon announced the Rock’s
indefinite suspension. He was gone from the WWF and the world of pro-wrestling.
Away from the mat, other things were happening in the life of Dwayne Johnson, including
his role in the Mummy Returns, which opened to record numbers in early May 2001. The film
grossed over $65 Million in it’s first weekend. Production on a prequel to the original Mummy
began entitled “The Scorpion King.” The Rock’s Hollywood star had begun to grow. Many
were predicting him to be the next major action star. During the summer of ’01, the World
Wrestling Federation saw a major change. WCW began infiltrating the organization while
Shane McMahon ran the ship. Paul Heyman and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley joined forces
to relaunch Extreme Championship Wrestling and then aligned itself with WCW. The WWF
had two rival promotions at it’s own doorstep. Vince McMahon pleaded with Steve Austin to
lead the WWF into Invasion, the organization’s July pay-per-view, and he finally agreed.
That night in Cleveland, Austin turned on McMahon and joined WCW/ ECW. The WWF
had seen it’s World Champion defect. Word hit the street that the Rock was about to make
his return, but no one seemed quite sure of just when it was going to be. SummerSlam in
August seemed a little too far off. During the week of July 23rd, the announcement was
made that the Rock was, in fact, going to be in Philadelphia on July 30th for a live edition of
Raw. TNN began hyping the major event and the ratings were surely going to feel the wrath
of his return. Shane McMahon had also announced that the Rock was going to return and
side with his promotion, rather than align himself with Vince McMahon, the man who
suspended him in the first place.
The show began and even the chance of a first sighting seemed to rile the crowd. During
the second hour, the Rock did make his initial appearance from outside the arena and near
the famous Rocky statue outside the Spectrum. It wasn’t long after that he made his
celebrated return to the squared circle. The fans chanted his name wildly. On sight, nothing
seemed to worry the crowd, almost as if they had already known where his loyalties were. By
the end of the segment, they were proved right. Vince and Shane McMahon were both laid
out with Rock Bottoms. Even after the show ended on television, the festivities continued with
the Rock and Vince McMahon both getting shots in on Shane. The Rock was back and the
WWF had a stable leader.
Earlier on the show, Booker T regained the WCW World Title from Kurt Angle and the
Alliance once again had both claims to the World Championship. But for how long? Shane
McMahon challenged the Rock to a street fight in Anaheim on August 6th. He accepted. The
bout ended with Booker running in, but it wasn’t enough. The Rock scored the pinfall.
Afterwards, Booker used the WCW Belt to smash Rock and then laid him across the
commentator’s table. McMahon landed an elbowdrop from the top rope, seriously damaging
the furniture and hurting both competitors.
On August 13th in Chicago, Raw was broadcast live. The promotions for the Rock vs.
Booker T at the upcoming pay-per-view were in full effect. During the show, Booker had
gone to the ring and interrupted a verbal contest between Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and
Chris Jericho. The WCW Champ spoke about the Rock. Rocky made an appearance and
the two traded jabs. Finally, a tag match was set between Booker and Rhyno, who was also
in the ring, and Jericho and Rock. The wild bout ended with Jericho being pinned by Rhyno,
but it all wasn’t very important. After the contest, Booker put the Rock down with two
Bookends. The second was onto a chair.
The first ever live edition of Smackdown was held on August 16th in Salt Lake City. It was
headlined by Rock vs. Booker T, a pre-SummerSlam match. The two had met early on in the
show and conversed comedically at points. The words ended in a match being set for the
main event. It wasn’t going to be just another bout, but a “Light’s Out Match” with no rules.
The Rock and Booker brawled quickly for several minutes. A low blow by McMahon allowed
Booker to put him through the announcer’s table with a Bookend. Fans were outraged that
their hero had been laid out by Booker and McMahon once again to close a WWF Telecast.
In San Jose at the Compaq Center, Rock challenged the WCW Champion for the belt.
SummerSlam had arrived and Rock was back on pay-per-view. He faced Booker with Shane
in his corner, who attempted to help his man but was stopped by the Acolytes. Later in the
night, McMahon stopped an important pin attempt. In the end, it wasn’t enough. The Rock
landed his Rock Bottom and scored a pinfall, becoming the tenth man in history to have won
both the WWF and WCW World Titles. The Gold Belt was around his waist. It was the same
Gold Belt that Flair, Hogan and Savage held in Atlanta.
The Rock appeared on the Howard Stern Show out of New York City on Thursday,
September 6, 2001. He spoke about a run in he had with the late Hank Nasiff Jr., aka Hank
the Angry Drunkin’ Dwarf, in Uniondale. Also, Adult Film Star Kendra Jade had earlier
regurgitated on a Howard Stern regular, just to meet the Rock. After the terrorist acts on the
United States on September 11th, and during the Thursday broadcast of Smackdown, Rocky
expressed his sympothy. A number of other WWF competitors did the same. Unforgiven was
held on Sunday, September 23rd in Pittsburgh. The Rock was scheduled to wrestle Booker
T and Shane McMahon in a special handicap match. Several referees participated in the
match, Nick Patrick for the Alliance and Mike Chioda and Earl Hebner for the WWF. In the
end, Rock pinned Booker to retain his World Title.
[Updated through 2001]
-Co-holder of the USWA World Tag Team Title (1996) w/ Bart Sawyer
-A two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion
-Defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley (1997)
-Defeated Steve Austin (1997)
-A six-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion
-Defeated Mankind (1998) tournament final
-Defeated Mankind (1999)
-Defeated Mankind (1999)
-Defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley (2000)
-Won Six-Man Tag Team Match (2000)
-Defeated Kurt Angle (2001)
-A five-time co-holder of the WWF World Tag Team Title
w/ Mankind (1999) defeated Big Show and The Undertaker
w/ Mankind (1999) defeated Big Show and The Undertaker
w/ Mankind (1999) defeated The New Age Outlaws
w/ The Undertaker (2000)
w/ Chris Jericho (2001)
-WCW World Heavyweight Title (2001) defeated Booker T
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|The Rock Wrestling History
|PPV Ring Record TV Ring Record Career Record
Legends of Pro Wrestling