It's hard to imagine Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as anything other than a boulder sized action hero with a smile that could charm the underpants of men and women everywhere, but 21 years ago, Hollywood's leading man was going by the name of 'Rocky Maivia' and had some incredibly questionable hair.
The Artist Formerly Known As Flex Kavana made his debut in a WWE ring 21 years ago, today on 17th November, 1996 at the annual Survivor Series event. As if being the company's first third generation superstar wasn't pressure enough, the future Nation Of Domination member and People's (and briefly Corporate) Champion was making his bow in front of 22,000 die hard fans inside Madison Square Garden in New York.
Last year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut inside Vince McMahon's squared circle (apologies if that sounds like a gut churning euphemism), big Dwayne posted a 'Rock Reacts' video to his official Youtube channel on where he provides several minutes of typically charismatic, foul mouthed commentary on the dying moments of the 4-on-4 Survivor Series elimination match in which our hero, complete with his spectacularly mid '90s blue trunks and toilet brush hairdo, takes on the late Crush and 'The Bizarre One' Goldust.
In true Hollywood fashion, the underdog rookie overcomes the seemingly insurmountable odds to claim a historic victory, with a pre-Rock Bottom and People's Elbow shoulder breaker sealing the deal as Goldust's shoulders are pinned to the canvas.
A few months later, the "ROCKY, ROCKY!" chants would soon evolve into "DIE ROCKY DIE!" as fans tired of Maivia's grinning positivity (ironic given how the same smile now regularly generates billions of dollars worldwide). In turn, the 'blue chipper' as 'Good Ol' JR' Jim Ross would dub him, turned his back on the WWE crowds and side with The Nation Of Domination and kick start what would be the most electrifying character in sports entertainment history.
Two years on from his Madison Square Garden heroics, The Rock would lift, with the help of top bastard Mr. McMahon, his first WWE world title. It would be the first of eight reigns as the company's top dog.
Now, Rock, if you could please provide commentary on the time you buried Billy Gunn's head into the arse crack of a 70 year old woman at SummerSlam 1999, that'd be perfect.
Featured Image Credit: WWE/The Rock