Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has come a long way since his debut in WWE but many fans may not have realised quite how far – until now.
As part of a new WWE video series entitled “The Rock Reacts” the People’s Champion is revisiting some of the most memorable matches of his wrestling career to date.
And what better place to start than with his very first appearance as Rocky Johnson in a tag-team elimination match at Madison Square Garden that saw The Rock go toe-to-toe with Crush and Goldust.
Coming some 20 years ago, it’s fair to say Johnson has changed a fair bit, with one particular feature catching his eye almost immediately.
“Holy shit look at that hair,” he tells viewers on the new video. “I got a f**king Chia pet on my head as a haircut.”
The Rock goes on to admit he found things a little tricky at first, at one point going to point directly to the broadcast’s main camera only to later realise he had been looking in the wrong direction.
“I’m literally pointing at nothing. Fuck, the hard camera is behind me,” he smirks while watching the footage.
“They are not just any balls, they are the people’s balls”
With his tag team partner eliminated early on, The Rock found himself facing a two-against-one situation, though it’s then that arguably the most memorable moment of his WWE debut occurs.
“22,000 people did something in that moment that defined my career and changed my life that night,” Johnson explains. “22,000 people started chanting my name.”
Buoyed on by their support, The Rock manages to eliminate Crush but not before taking a low blow from Goldust.
“They are not just any balls, they are the people’s balls,” The Rock tells viewers while watching the clip.
Now facing off against Goldust, The Rock delivers his signature move the pe…hang on, no, at this point he had a very different finisher move “the big shoulder breaker”.
No wonder it didn’t take off.
Anyway, as Johnson recalls in the video, the victory was an emotional one for his family watching on at home.
“They had no idea I was meant to win. My mum was bawling at home, my dad too,” he recalls.
The clip is also tinged with some sadness given that one of his opponents, Crush has since passed away.
Real name Brian Adams, Crush passed away in Tampa Florida in 2007 at the age of just 43.
He’s still fondly remembered by The Rock though for helping make his WWE debut go as smoothly as possible.
“He’s longer here but I appreciated everything he did,” Johnson said.
Look out for more The Rock Reacts in the coming weeks.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.