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Saturday, January 9, 2016

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Classic Rivalries: The Rock vs Mankind

By @TrueGodImmortal 





The Attitude Era was infamous for some brutal and classic rivalries. There were many that transcended the business in some ways, and some that catapulted stars to the next level. For The Rock and Mankind, their battles truly made them bigger stars and gave Foley the shot he had been dreaming of for years. For The Rock, this feud helped to solidify him as the man to watch in the business. Today, as we end Attitude Era week on the site, we reflect on this classic feud.

@Tariku___
A rivalry that had a moment that's considered the start of WWE officially winning the Monday Night War. I remember Mankind really wanting to prove himself to Vince McMahon. Trying to prove that he was a worthy corporate champion. Vince had other plans on a fateful night in St Louis during the annual Survivor Series event. Vince would instead choose The Rock to be the corporate  champion, betraying Mankind in the process. The rivalry reached a boiling point when Mankind faced off against The Rock on Monday Night Raw, the infamous night with Mick Foley winning the world championship for the very first time. Also the night Raw defeated WCW's Monday Night Nitro in the ratings war. What I loved about the rivalry was a certain match that occurred during the Super Bowl halftime show. Rock and Mankind did battle in a empty arena. Funny concept for a match, but it worked with Mankind picking up the victory by pinning Rock under a dolly with Oil Canisters. Those moments, matches, and the unique chemistry of Rock and Mankind created a classic rivalry that helped the WWE continue to thrive in the late 90's.

@TrueGodImmortal
I remember the basis of the Mankind vs Rock feud. I was truly intrigued by the idea of this feud and what could come of it. I saw their chemistry shining through during the triple threat cage match at Break Down 1998 where Shamrock, Mankind, and Rock did battle. From there, I observed Rock vs Mankind having a solid match in the controversial main event of the 1998 Survivor Series Deadly Game tournament. That would kick off what remains one of the top 3 feuds of the era, and funny thing is it only lasted a couple of months. Unlike the Austin vs HHH rivalry that would start and continue for almost 2 years, or Foley vs HHH, which was off and on overall a three year period, or even the epic journey of Austin vs Rock, Foley vs Rock officially went down from November 1998-February 1999.




The two stars would have another controversial match at the Rock Bottom PPV, which would lead to a big match on the first edition of RAW in 1999. It would be Foley's first title win and a huge moment in the era. From that moment, the two stars would begin to trade the title back and forth, with Rock winning it back in a classic brutal match at the 1999 Royal Rumble. That match would be the one that truly signals the level of competition in this feud. Both men were determined to be the best thing on the show and they did not disappoint.

After the match at the Rumble, Foley and Rock would engage in a match that would truly be groundbreaking. An empty arena match. Halftime at the Super Bowl. It was something we had never witnessed before and a marker of how big wrestling was in the Attitude Era and how vital these two men were to the business that they would utilize this avenue to promote the feud of Mankind vs The Rock. Foley would end up winning that match and getting the title back, as they were set for another clash at the February 1999 PPV. That match ended with yet another controversial finish, so they finished their feud with a ladder match on RAW. Rock would win this match and end up getting his Mania main event with Austin, a big feat for him definitely.




This would signal the end of the Foley vs Rock feud, but they would cross paths soon as a tag team, making for the entertaining Rock N Sock Connection, another short lived situation that saw them win the tag team belts as well. Regardless, Foley and Rock had impeccable chemistry as adversaries and as partners. Their rivalry was one for the ages without a doubt.

What do you remember the most about the rivalry? Post your comments below and discuss with us.

-True

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