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Monday, February 29, 2016

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The Case of Rocky Maivia

By @TrueGodImmortal 




The Rock. A star that transcended wrestling. One of the biggest stars and actors in the entire world. Once upon a time, The Rock was a hugely successful WWE star, winning championships and headlining Wrestlemania. Now, while he's done that as well in this modern era, during his prime, The Rock was unstoppable virtually. However, there was a period of time that the Rock wasn't so popular or well received. This came just after his hilarious Flex Kavana days, when he joined the main WWF roster as Rocky Maivia, a mix of his dad's first name and the family last name on his mother's side. Now, the name itself wasn't bad by any stretch. I thought Rocky was destined to be over and popular when he first was promoted to debut.

I was wrong.



Survivor Series 1996 wasn't a bad debut by any stretch and while Rocky showed promise within the match, he was as green as fresh cut grass, and needed time to develop into a formidable wrestler not trapped by a gimmick or being held back. Unfortunately, the WWF system had never worked like that and after being a remaining survivor in his debut at Survivor Series 1996, Rocky had a truly weird up and down run in the WWF in this beginning of his career. Now, after the Survivor Series win, Rocky showed no signs of charisma and was a happy go lucky smiling ass babyface, which felt very disingenuous for him.




Rocky would not connect with fans very much during the end of 1996 and early 1997, despite WWF positioning him to be a future higher up on the card face, it didn't work out that way. Now, Rocky would win the Intercontinental title from Triple H, and that's when everything took a drastic turn. Rocky began getting booed terribly and nothing he did worked at all. He wasn't bad in the ring, but there was nothing major to make him stick out. He had no personality. He had no charisma on display as mentioned before. He gave us no reason to be invested and the WWF didn't do a good job with his booking and presentation.



The low point has to be between April 1997 and May 1997 where the chants of "Rocky Sucks" and even signs that said "Die Rocky Die" came about. You would never have guessed one of the most charismatic stars in history turned out to be a dud in his humble beginning, and after losing the Intercontinental title to Owen Hart and suffering an embarrassing loss to Mankind at the May 1997 In Your House PPV, Rocky went down with an injury and would have to miss a few months off TV. This would be the moment that led to everything changing. Rocky was out of sight and out of mind when the idea to turn him heel was given and approved.



As Faarooq battled a member of D.O.A. I believe, Rock shows up and hits him with a Rock Bottom,  joining the Nation of Domination. Now, Rocky didn't fit into a militant black group honestly, as his incessant need for wearing a fanny pack regularly didn't seem to mesh well with the aggression that is the Nation of Domination, but within a few weeks, it was evident Rock would be just fine. His first heel promo wasn't great, but a big improvement over what we had seen from him before. He was still coming into his own as a wrestler and performer and it showed some during that, but as the time went by for him, Rock would end up looking more and more comfortable in his role.



Rocky would go from being Rocky Maivia to The Rock, and that transition saved his career. It jumpstarted the whole Rock heel run and allowed him to display what he really had. While Rocky Maivia was a failed experiment, Rocky "The Rock" Maivia wasn't and its worked out strangely in a way, but the moment that The Rock entered the ring for the first time as that aggressive heel, I knew he was ready for something big in his career. It was his turn essentially and he deserved it.

-True

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