Oh where, oh where has Mr. Tito been? My workplace gets ridiculous around Christmas time, and they like to call me in nearly every day to work. In the recent days, my life has been wake up, go to work, get home, and then go to sleep. No chance to stay on the internet for an extended period of time to whip up a column. Shit, I haven't even watched Smackdown yet, either.
I will note something good for a future PDC, which I picked up one day before work. Thanks to the spare money from working countless overtime hours, I decided to buy Dave Meltzer's "Tributes" book, which is a detailed account of wrestlers who have died in the wrestling business throughout the years, like Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Rick Rude, and many more. It's really the only book, at my local bookstore, that I haven't picked up yet, oddly enough.
As for the NES/SNES wrestling games... Again, I'm too busy to even look on Ebay for those games, nor have I been able to download those games on an *cough**cough* emulator *cough*. What I really need is to find out when each of those games were released so that I could do the reviews in chronological order, like as an evolution of wrasslin' games.
Oh, by the way, I caught VH1's MC Hammer movie, and I was amazed to see former WWF and WCW wrestler Tony Norris playing the part of Suge Knight, co-owner of the Death Row label. Norris was Ahmed Johnson in the WWF, and Big T in WCW as a part of the "new" Harlem Heat. Mr. Norris did quite well in his role as Suge, as he was perfect on the size part and cool with the laid back style that Suge is said to have, when he's not really pissed off. The movie, however, sucks like any of Hammer's songs. Can't touch that.
For today's PDC, let me tell you that I'm ridiculously behind in the wrestling world. Like I said above, I haven't even caught Smackdown yet, and I'm not really up to date on the news, as well. So for today, I just happened to have a brief history of the Rock lying around, which I felt like typing a week ago to use for something or a history column in the future. So enjoy.
Thanks to his father and grandfather, the Rock grew up hearing tales about the wrestling business, and he had an appreciation for it. However, the Rock never thought to ever be a wrestler until his failing football career literally forced him into it.
The gene pool from his mother and father helped to sculpt young Duane Johnson into a much larger teenager than the rest of his classmates. The Rock would become a very tough football player in high school, enough that big colleges would try for his attention. Eventually, Miami became Rocky's calling, as the Rock said that the Hurricanes showed him the most respect upon his visits.
The Rock had a respectable career at Miami, despite injuries hindering what could have been a path to the NFL. An injury ridden senior season caused the Rock's draft stock to plummet, and to not be drafted at all. To give one last ditch effort to get into the NFL, the Rock would try to make it in the Canadian football leagues. After living poor and finding no success, the Rock had enough and had a new idea for a career: become a pro wrestler.
Rocky asked his old man to train him, and Rocky Johnson eventually agreed. Rocky Johnson, with the aid of a few friends from years in the wrestling business, gave the Rock a quick, yet effective crash course on wrestling. The Rock, the natural athlete that he is, quickly picked up and improved with strides. Rocky Johnson would then give a call to longtime friend Pat Patterson, road agent for the WWF who has a decent amount of backstage pull. He came to see how Rocky Johnson's son truly was as a wrestler, and Patterson was amazed. Eventually, it would score the Rock a tryout match in the WWF against the good ol' Brooklyn Brawler. The Rock won his first ever WWF match.
WWF officials were apparently impressed with the Rock's effort in the ring, and saw potential. Therefore, they shipped him off to Memphis, the WWF's developmental territory then, to polish up his wrestling skills. There, Duane Johnson took up the name Flex Kavana. After greatly improving there, Rocky was called up by the WWF to wrestle dark matches, as the WWF creative team had to think of a gimmick for the Rock.
Rock's gimmick was to be a pure babyface, and his name came from mixing his father (Rocky Johnson) and his grandfather's (Peter Maivia) names together, pushing him as a 3rd generation superstar. Rocky would get a big push to start, too, as he was inserted on a team at Survivor Series 1996. Rocky teamed with Marc Mero, Jake the Snake Robers, and Barry Windham to take on Crush, Jerry Lawler, Triple H, and Goldust. Rocky Maivia was the sole survivor for his team, getting his first big victory of his career.
Despite the crowd not popping for Rocky, Vince McMahon wanted Maivia as the Intercontinental Champion. So in February of 1997, the Rock beat Triple H to win the title, which was a compromise between Vince and Triple H to let Chyna into the WWF. The Rock would practically become a lame duck champion, as the fans continually booed him and the WWF didn't put him in many good programs, like having him wrestle the Sultan (Rikishi back then) at Wrestlemania 13. The fans never caught on to the pure babyface of Rocky Maivia, even bringing signs to arenas like "Die Rocky Die".
The Rock would eventually drop the IC strap to Owen Hart, and thanks to a knee injury, the Rock took a long break from wrestling. The break was good for him, because it allowed the creative team to have some time to make a big return. The plans were to turn Rocky heel, since the fans don't like him anyway. The WWF wanted him to join the Nation of Domination, an all African American stable when he returned. The Rock agreed to joining it, if and only if he made sure to state that his purposes for joining was because of how the fans hated him, and NOT for racial purposes, which the Nation seemed to act upon.
The Rock made his return by attacking Chainz with the debut of the Rock Bottom, helping another Nation member to win the match. Afterward, he signaled the fist in the air, thereby showing everyone he joined. He would later explain his reasons for joining, and also mentioning that the fans never appreciated him, like the "Die Rocky Die" signs.
Rocky was a big, yet refreshing part of the Nation. Before, the Nation was nearly a group of thugs, but now, you had a very cocky but charismatic wrestler in the group with the Rock. The big turnaround for the Rock's career was when they allowed him to talk. Rocky Maivia proved to be a great speaker, something, again, the Nation of Domination never had. He began to call himself the "Rock", and his cockiness led to tensions in the group, between himself and Farooq. In late 1997, the WWF needed a heel to go after Stone Cold Steve Austin's Intercontinental title, and seeing how Rocky was progressing, a new feud was born.
Steve Austin was the current IC champion at the time, and he was just a few steps away from stepping fully into the main event scene, to go after WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels. Rocky was the perfect opponent at the time, because the fans were hating Rocky so much that they actually cheered Austin more! The feud started when Rocky would call on Austin, with the Rock stating that he was "the best damn Intercontinental champion ever". Rocky would even go so low as to steal the IC title from Austin, which drew tons of heat for the Rock.
Rocky and Austin would fight at the December 1997 Pay Per View, "Degeneration X", where Steve Austin won. However, this victory by Austin was overturned by Vince McMahon on RAW the night after, awarding the IC Title to the Rock because Austin gave a Stunner to a referee during their match on the previous night. This would actually start Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin, and add more heat to Rocky because he took away the IC title from Austin. Austin would later toss the IC Title over a bridge, thus pissing off the Rock and adding more babyface cheers for Austin.
The WWF then ran an angle where Ken Shamrock had serious beef with the Nation, and ran through all of the members except for the Rock. This led to Shamrock and Rocky fighting at Royal Rumble 1998 and Wrestlemania 14, and in a team match at No Way Out 1998. In some way or another, the Rock was able to weasel his way out of losses against Shamrock for the IC title. However, Shamrock got his revenge at King of the Ring 1998, where Rock finally lost to Shamrock.
However, the Rock was STILL the Intercontinental champion. He had a new opponent, too, and his name was Triple H. Funny thing happened during this feud, though, as fans began to start cheering for Rocky instead of booing. This was very much heard at Summerslam 1998, where the Rock fought Triple H in a ladder match. Despite the Rock losing, it was noticed that the Rock could have been a big face at that point.
But the WWF wanted him as a heel. To do this, the WWF felt it was time to push the People's Champ to become the next World Champion. At Survivor Series 1998, the Rock joined the Corporation and was helped to win the tournament to decide the winner of the vacant World Title. The Rock was now the "Corporate Champion", and plans were set into stone to have the Rock fight Stone Cold at Wrestlemania 15.
To get to WM 15, the Rock needed an opponent. The stars must have lined up, because once the Rock became champ, Mick Foley was really coming on as a big face, thanks to Mr. Socko. Rock would drop the World Title to Mankind at a RAW taping, only to cheaply win it back at Royal Rumble 1999. Foley won the title back at the empty arena fight on Superbowl Sunday, to which the Rock won it back a few weeks later. After that, the Rock feuded with Steve Austin to hype Wrestlemania 15.
The Wrestlemania 15 match was a success, despite the Rock losing the world title. He would go on to rematch Austin at Backlash, only to lose again, and afterward, he was kicked out of the Corporation to become a full fledged face. Rock would then go into a long World Title drought, but by now, his star began to grow and he began to make more television appearances and pondered over some spots in movies. Rocky would also have some storylines with Mick Foley, where they tagged up as the "Rock N Sock" connection.
By 2000, Rock's arch-nemesis, Triple H, had become the company's big heel, and in April of 2000, the Rock went after Triple H for the title. First, the Rock beat Triple H, thanks to the help of the returning Steve Austin at Backlash. Triple H beat Rocky back in the famous Ironman match a month later, and then, the Rock won the title back after pinning Vince McMahon in a weird stipulation six man match, to win the title once again. The Rock would be a strong champion until Kurt Angle usurped him at No Mercy 2000. Rock would win the belt back from Angle at No Way Out 2001, and keep it until Wrestlemania 17, where Steve Austin joined up with Vince McMahon to help screw Rocky out of the World Title.
After losing to Austin, the Rock took a long time off to go film the "Scorpion King", a movie in which he's the lead star. It was also a time for the Rock to rest up, for he hardly missed any of the WWF television tapings or Pay Per Views for over a year now. The Rock would return for Summerslam 2001, and Booker T would go on to challenge him. Rock beat Booker at Summerslam 2001, winning his first WCW World Title.
Rocky would get into a very compelling feud with Chris Jericho, which remains to be one of the best ones in 2001. Chris Jericho would beat the Rock for the World Title at No Mercy 2001, only to lose a few weeks later to the Rock on an edition of RAW. The Rock would then help lead Team WWF to beat Team Alliance at Survivor Series 2001, and now, he's in the quest to win the new unified WWF title.
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@That's all for today. Who knows when the next PDC will occur, and my apologies are in advance for not being able to churn out columns, on a daily basis, like I used to. Don't worry, I'll get back on track soon, once the holiday season is finally over. Just chill......
Take Care, and Thanks a Million for Reading.