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Thursday, January 28, 2016

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Retrospective: The Hollywood Rock Era

The Ruthless Aggression Era is known very much so for the in ring product improving from the Attitude Era, and some of the worst storylines known to man. However, in between some of those Billy and Chuck and Katie Vick moments, there were some moments of brilliance. One example of that brilliance came in the form of The Rock turning heel. His heel turn would become the biggest highlight of early 2003 and in many ways, it can be considered his greatest run yet. It was a reminder that Rock is one of the greatest ever, and while short lived, the replay value of his run is unmatched. Today, we reflect on the Hollywood Rock era.

In 2003, The Rock returned with a heel gimmick that was better than his corporate champion heel run in my opinion. The Rock was a cocky Hollywood superstar who annoyed and entertained the fans at the same time. With antics like singing in front of a live audience and just being the overall performer he is, just multiplied times 100. I really loved the gimmick as a kid growing up. One of the best times being a fan for me. Rock was being himself and that's when you have the most fun as a character, i.e. The New Day. My favorite moment of this character was The Rock playing for Stone Cold while Austin was outside of the arena. For a moment, it almost seemed like Austin would break kayfabe and start laughing, but he stayed true to his character. The Rock was entertaining enough to even make the Rattlesnake begin to chuckle.

Once upon a time, The Rock was the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. So, it was only natural he'd try to parlay that into success outside of wrestling. He succeeded. But something was missing.

He still had something left to prove in wrestling. He still had the energy and potential to play one of the most legendary heel personas of recent memory. And wow, was The Rock an asshole.

He took everything we loved about The Rock's early runs, ramped it up, and said "hey, fuck you. My presence at this lame shit is a present. Soak it in and enjoy it. It may rub off on you." He was smug with a mug that everyone wanted to punch in. And those Rock Concerts? Greatness. Somehow, though, as much of an asshole as Rock was, I personally couldn't boo him. Maybe it was because he was a jackass, but he was right.

Unlike The Miz, where he always feels like a pale imitation of a pale imitation of The Rock, Rock's Hollywood persona was fun to watch, felt real, and kept people who had gave up on wrestling post-AE there in an effort to make them witness the greatness which was the RA era.

Plus that theme? Yeahhh...Hollywood Rock wins.

The Rock is one of the most iconic superstars in the history of the WWE and quietly has undergone a few changes in his style, but not so much his character. There was the early Rock: Brash, cocky flat out dismissive of everyone. There was the slow talking, catchphrase spewing Rock. Then, the slightly smaller, more hyper version of Rock who gave us the great line: ''SWEET CREAM ON AN ICE CREAM SAMMICH'', and now the more recent ''Cena Feud, Luke Hobbs'' version of Rock. But one incarnation of the character stands out the most: Hollywood Rock. The chickenshit heel we all loved to hate, it was at this point, The Rock was at his most entertaining, promo-wise and in-ring. From the very first moment we were introduced to him with an EPIC 20 minute promo in Toronto, (Which stands to me as his best ever, slightly above his WM 18 Pre-Match promo) he gave us gold.

With the gold came the now infamous Rock concerts where he would take his guitar and perform in various cities, running down his opponents, the town and the people. The best of these being the classic ''Leaving Sacramento''. The two standout lines in that song ''leaving Sacramento, Sacramento there I go. They got some fat ass women there and Rock is gonna...just say no'' and what was easily the best part: ''Sacramento, I won't stay'' then, the ultimate killshot prefaced with ''check this out, check this out'' simply just because he knew he had everyone in his hands: ''But I'll be sure to come back when, that Lakers beat the Kings in May''. The almost certain boos, drowned out by a sea of laughter and cheers. He was that damn good in that role that even if you were in the building, you couldn't help but laugh at that line. In-ring wise, Rock was hitting his stride and not just that, but putting over other talent. I throughly enjoyed his short interaction with The Hurricane leading into his match with Goldberg at Backlash 03.  Fitting that his absolute best was really the last time we'd see Rock in a full time capacity until 2011. And on Monday, as he trolled the hallways in Miami...we got a brief glimpse that Rock still had a little Hollywood in him.

Do you have any memories of Hollywood Rock? What's your favorite memory and moment? Post below in the comments section.



  1. I forget how hilarious Hollywood rock was, yesterday I was watching the rock concert in Georgia in the final raw before backlash against Goldberg, I laughed so hard when he introduced Gillberg, everything about that was hilarious as hell

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