Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who will definitely be in attendance at WrestleMania 32 (though in what role, nobody seems to be sure), posted a video on Instagram today that showed his very first WrestleMania appearance, as the much-maligned Rocky Maivia character. The interesting part is what The Rock wrote to accompany the video, which could be seen as a reference to his cousin, Roman Reigns, who will be fighting Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, and has been less than well-received by the WWE Universe. Here’s what The Rock had to say:
1997, I was 25yrs old, the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history and performing in #WrestleMania13. It would become one of the most defining moments of my life. Not because it was my first WrestleMania I had the privilege to be a part of, but because I was boo’d out of the building. Literally boo’s that screamed “Get the f*ck outta here”. And when you’re supposed to be a good guy or “babyface” in wrestling speak – getting boo’d is the worst thing that can ever happen. They boo’d me because I wasn’t being real. I was told by the company how to act, how to respond to fans and the worst part of all.. I was told what to say and what not to say.
Not long after this match, I lost the title and was eventually sent home for months to recuperate from an injury – it didn’t really matter anyway because I wasn’t drawing the company any money nor did the fans care I was gone. A week before I was scheduled to return to the WWE, I got a call from Vince who said “How do feel about turning heel?” (which means becoming a bad guy). I said “Great, but I have one request… give me 2 minutes on the microphone on live TV and let me be myself. Be real and authentic. I gotta be me”. Vince said “You got it”. The following week I cut a promo that was from the heart. Real and authentic.
6 months later I was the hottest heel in the company. Even though I hated being boo’d out of the building at WrestleMania13, I learned one of the greatest life lessons that still serves me today. Be real. Be authentic. Be me. Truly my honor to perform this Sunday at #WrestleMania32 for the WWE Universe.. as me. #TheRock #DwayneJohnson #BigBrownBaldTattooedPuppyLover #AndHandsomeSumbitch
Could The Rock be among those campaigning for Roman Reigns to turn heel? Only he knows for sure…