The Rock is a global icon. He's truly transcended wrestling in a way that nobody has ever done before. With the release of #BayWatch this past weekend, I felt it necessary to take a look at what made The Rock so popular. More than anything, it was Rock's charismatic performances on the microphone that jump-started his Hollywood career.
For those of you who have never seen The Rock cut a promo, it was a thing of glory. With that said, I want to show you my five favorite Rock moments in the ring. There are so many great ones that it'll be tough to narrow it down to just five, but I believe you'll be getting the cream of the crop.
5) The Rock vs The Hurricane (2003)
Many people may say I'm ranking this moment too high, but I absolutely loved everything about The Rock & Hurricane feud. There are times where people would criticize Rock for "burying" his opponents, but this was a moment where I thought he elevated a lower card talent. Sure, Hurricane was permanently branded as "The Hamburglar," but he was able to get in his own quips. Every interaction between these two was genuine & hilarious, and is a must watch.
Fun fact: The Rock intentionally messed up his lines for the pre-tape so their segment would be live instead of a 90-second, pre-taped segment. That way, the two were able to go as long as they wanted.
4) The Rock's Concert in Sacramento (2003)
The Rock was an absolute savage as a heel. He would get a crowd excited, then immediately talk trash about their city. This segment had everything you could want: amazing trash talk, Stone Cold, and Hamburglar references. The moment Rock mentions the #Lakers beating the Kings in May, is absolute gold. This was the first time we saw a "Rock Concert." and it set the stage for many more concerts to come.
My favorite moment in the promo:
3) The Rock Imitates 5 Opponents (2000)
The only man who could take a shot at five opponents at once, and absolutely kills it. This was a moment that let you know that The Rock was a one of a kind superstar. He wasn't just a wrestler, he was an entertainer. To this day, people still remember Rikishi as the guy who said "I DID IT FOR DA ROCK." Nobody could make Professional Wrestling as fun as The Rock did. There are so many quotable moments in this promo, and that's what made him great.
2) The Rock Destroys Billy Gunn's Soul (1999)
The definitive "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS" moment. I've never seen another wrestler get verbally dismantled the way Billy Gunn did. No matter how many times you re-watch this, you can't help but think "Ouch, there's no coming back from that one." In my opinion, this was the promo that really cemented The Rock's catchphrases in history. It also cemented him as a juggernaut on the microphone. From this moment on, you knew you were going to get comedy gold when you saw Rock in the ring. The craziest thing about this promo is that it was on a Sunday Night Heat. That's the level of quality Rock could bring at any given time, enough to make you think you were watching a PPV.
1) The Rock Owns Toronto (2003)
If you haven't noticed by now, 2003 Hollywood Rock was one of my favorite things ever. People may not have this as their #1, but to me, it demonstrates a level of microphone mastery that very few wrestlers are capable of. The man comes out to a 50/50 reaction, gets the crowd to cheer him, then gets the crowd to boo him again. It's one of the greatest levels of crowd manipulation in #WWE history; he mercilessly roasts the crowd in spectacular fashion. I've never seen a wrestler insult a crowd, then the crowd tries to cheer him, and then they lose their privilege to cheer. Watch the 5:51 - 6:14 mark to see the crowd get so mad, they immediately want to take Rock's head off.
In nine minutes, The Rock took the crowd on an emotional thrill ride. You hated him, then you loved him, and then you loved to hate him. Even until the final seconds of the promo, he still destroys the crowd. By the end of it all you find yourself thinking "Damn, this guy is good."
I'm sure I missed some of your favorite Rock moments, but that's what makes his microphone work so fantastic. The man has so many great moments that if you were to make a Top 5, you're going to inevitably miss someone's favorite. That's what makes the man so popular, and why he is Forbes' highest paid Actor. The circus wrestler who became the $64 million dollar man, The Great One.
The Rock & Mick Foley: This Is Your Life (1999)
The Rock & Y2J promo face-off (2000)
The Rock & Y2J insult Booker T, Stephanie McMahon, and Rhyno (2001)