Jim Ross has discussed the presentation of one of wrestling’s biggest stars during his early career, saying the World Wrestling Federation was not showing The Rock in his best light in 1997.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, Ross responded to the question from co-host Conrad Thompson on if anybody in the company thought The People’s Champ didn’t have that all-important ‘it.’ Thompson had also referenced Mick Foley’s book that suggested the Hardcore Legend had thought the company might have cut their losses with a young Rocky Maivia.
Jim Ross responded:
“Oh my God no. Rock not have it, are you sh*tting me? Of course he had it, Conrad. His skill set wasn’t to the level of his charisma, of his look, and all those things. That’s my take on it now. I would totally disagree with Mick about cut our losses. I don’t think that was ever considered. The presentation that we had provided for The Rock which led to ‘Die, Rocky, Die’ chants for this new babyface that we were pushing was not good.”
“That was a matter of presentation. That had more to do with production and the booking and the creative than it did with Rock in my view. But nobody, that at least came in my purview ever said ‘You know JR, you might need to get rid of that kid.’ Are you kidding me? Sh*t. I knew he was a star the minute I had lunch with him in Davie, Florida back in the day. So there’s no reason to even think that for me, it’s a logical question for you but I don’t think that was ever on the agenda.”
Rocky Maivia suffered an injury that may have been a blessing in disguise as when he returned he joined the villainous Nation Of Domination. Shedding Rocky Maivia and now going by The Rock, he ascended to new heights only seen by a very select few in the wrestling business. From there the real-life Dwayne Johnson used the charisma and charm that had seen him be so successful in the squared circle to become the highest-paid movie star in the world as well as a thriving entrepreneur.