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YMMV / Dwayne Johnson

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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: At the start, many expected his acting career to fizzle out. A wrestler becoming a successful actor was unheard of, and predicted to be a schlock fest like the Narm films of Hulk Hogan. More than a decade later, he's still a successful box office draw, and even then it took him several years to achieve this.
  • Awesome Ego: It's been one of his defining character traits as The Rock ever since his first heel turn, and thanks to his considerable microphone skills and creativity when it comes to trash talking, it managed to get him past his initial X-Pac Heat, and turned him into one of the most popular wrestlers in the business. Even when Johnson is designated as a heel, the fans love it and cheer him for it, and he's one of (if not the) best examples in all wrestling.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment/What Happened to the Mouse?: On the night The Rock was revealed as the host of Wrestlemania 27, the last thing we saw before commercial break preceding The Rock's appearance was a limo pulling up outside of the arena. The limo door opens and the camera panning low so that all we could see coming out is what appears to be the feet of a woman wearing high heels, assumed by the commentators to be the host. Of course, it wasn't the host, and she was never seen again. Of course, this is The Rock we're talking about; it's not impossible to assume that he had a very leggy lady friend with him in the limo.
  • Broken Base:
    • Fans were divided during The Rock's 2013 reign as WWE Champion. Those in favor tended to point out that The Rock as champion meant great exposure for WWE and increased pay-per-view buy rates, as well as drawing interest from fans who previously watched WWE in the Attitude Era. Detractors, however, were quick to point out The Rock's obvious ring rust (becoming exhausted 5 minutes into each of his three 25+ minute matches), his failure to actively promote the company while being a champion (in the 2 months he was carrying the belt, he attended a number of movie premieres, talk shows and award presentations, only bringing the championship to one and failed to mention the WWE at any of them) and that he did not wrestle at all on any episode of Raw.
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    • Even the mere fact of his feud with and wins over CM Punk have caused this, arguably due to Punk's massive popularity. Many fans hated Rock for being the part-timer who dared to end Punk's historic 434-day reign as WWE Champion. Made worse by the fact that this was done just in time for the road to the WrestleMania main event, as many questioned whether Rock deserved the spot over Punk and others still who had no problem with Rock having the spot felt that it was wasted on what was widely considered a Foregone Conclusion with John Cena getting his win back and being solidified as the top dog over both men. On the other hand, others credited the Punk-Rock feud for restoring Punk's credibility as a badass after months of the WWE Champion being booked as an ineffectual chickenshit heel against Ryback and especially Cena, with Punk going from running away and ducking his challengers at all times to outright calling out and challenging Rock, even getting the better of him once or twice before the Rumble title match, and losing both that match and the next year's rematch under controversial circumstances. Then there was the pattern of Punk losing to major part-timers that eventually formed from this, which only frustrated fans further in the aftermath. Even Punk himself was not happy about this, though he didn't hold it against Rock, Taker, or Lesnar, all of whom he's cool with, but against the internal logic of the company's booking.
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  • Catharsis Factor: It was really, really refreshing to see his 2011 Raw return and promo, bashing the company's biggest Creators Pets and cutting a promo the likes of which hadn't been heard in years.
  • Creator's Pet: Hard as it may be to believe now, he debuted as this in 1996-1997 under his original WWF ring name, Rocky Maivia. To elaborate: he started off hot as the first third-generation superstar, but pretty soon, his smiling-babyface schtick began to wear very, very thin, especially in a landscape where "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was already redefining the company's direction. By the time Wrestlemania XIII rolled around (with a match between him and The Sultan, that didn't exactly blow the roof off), it was obvious fans were just not into the guy at all, no matter how hard they were pushing his happy-go-lucky persona - and that was a lot, with Jim Ross constantly pushing him as "the blue-chipper" and the company going so far as to pipe in cheers for him in his own entrance music (you heard that right). Of course, as we all know now, things got better.
  • Fandom Rivalry/Foe Yay: With both John Cena's fans and CM Punk's fans. WWE played this up for all its worth during the three guys' feuds with each other.
    • In February 2012, The Rock cut a promo for 15 minutes straight about Cena. The Rock topped that one month later with a series of "History Lessons" in and around Boston (Cena's hometown, mind you). This rivalry has gone off and on for a year, and it's safe to say some people got sick of it months ago. To his credit, the "History Lessons" were pretty funny. More interesting is that Cena is not the instigator in most cases. If that's not Foe Yay, we're not entirely sure what is.
  • Fountain of Memes: He lampshades this during Raw Gets Rocked episode:
    "When The Rock talks on Twitter things trend worldwide.''
  • Franchise Original Sin: His return started the disturbing trend of the WWE over-relying on part-timers to carry them through its most profitable periods (WrestleMania and SummerSlam). When Rocky first came back, it was all well and good and everyone was happy. The WWE, seeing the success from his return, started bringing several past stars to cash in on the nostalgia. The problem is that it takes away time from the main roster, causing a bit of resentment from the fan base that reached a head during the 2014 Royal Rumble after Batista won the titular match a mere week after he returned, over fan favorite Daniel Bryan, who wasn't even an entrant. The crowd promptly booed him out of the building. What Rocky's return unintentionally promoted was the idea that "part-timers" draw while the stars on the main roster, including some upper-midcard/main event stars such as Sheamus, do not (or, at least, not as much). Rather than take on the work to build new stars to draw on the level, they instead just continued bandying about all these old stars instead (primarily Brock Lesnar). The one star they did try to build, Roman Reigns (who, coincidentally, is Rocky's cousin), rather than build him up slowly, got shoehorned right into the main event of WM before he was ready, right after an injury no less and, instead of allowing him to find a character that fit him, was made into a John Cena clone instead. The fans did not react well to this at all (fan reaction was so bad, in fact, that his victory at WM got pulled days beforehand and the title instead went to Seth Rollins). While the fans are still appreciative of Rocky's return, they resent how it gave way for past stars to come back and soak up all the spotlight.
  • Growing the Beard: He's always been regarded as a "pretty good" at worst when it came to wrestling, but his "Flex Kavana," which he admitted to thinking sounded cool when he first came up with it, wasn't one of his best ideas, which he also admitted. His initial WWF run as the squeaky-clean babyface "Rocky Maivia" didn't fare much better, with fans quickly growing tired of the gimmick, eventually leading to him being booed by those who felt he didn't deserve his push. Things got better for him once he made a Face–Heel Turn and joined The Nation of Domination. He added more edge and personality to the character, was allowed to show off his mic skills, and started going by "The Rock," gradually transforming into the character who would become one of the biggest names in the history of professional wrestling.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: At the 2015 Royal Rumble, The Rock came out to congratulate Royal Rumble winner Roman Reigns, who many say is an inexperienced performer with lots of potential, but was pushed to the main event way before he was ready. They were both booed with a passion (although a large part of it came not actually from what the crowd think of Reigns but what they think of the fact that Daniel Bryan didn't win which was, not coincidentally the same reason the crowd turned on Batista a year earlier). You can tell by the look on The Rock's face that he was having some bad flashbacks.
  • He Really Can Act: He's shed the image of pro wrestling acting hack many times over. First in Be Cool, and again in 2013 with Snitch and Pain and Gain, where many reviewers said he was the best part about the movies.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: On January 28, 2013, the night after ending CM Punk's 434-day reign as WWE Champion, The Rock called CM Punk a "punk ass bitch". While it seemed like a great moniker to use in a promo against Punk, YouTubers might get an extra kick out of it if they remember a short video spliced together from May 1, 2009 with a clip of then-long-haired Money in the Bank holder CM Punk saying his name, only to be interrupted by a clip of The Rock saying…well…"punk ass bitch".
  • Magnificent Bastard: His rise to power in The Nation of Domination made him one. On the June 9, 1997 Raw, Faarooq fired Crush, Savio Vega and the guys in suits from the group following a loss to Ahmed Johnson and The Legion of Doom, leaving just himself, D'Lo Brown and a nervous-looking manager/spokesman Clarence Mason in the ring. D-Lo was standing next to Faarooq with his eyes closed, clearly ready to walk out of the ring as soon as Faarooq gave the word. Instead, Faarooq said "D-Lo, hold the ropes open for Clarence!", with D-Lo looking absolutely shocked. Fast forward to the Raw after WrestleMania XIV on March 30, 1998. Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman defeat Faarooq and The Rock. The Rock then gets his Starscream moment, officially overthrowing Faarooq as the leader. Standing behind the Rock are Kama Mustafa, Mark Henry and...D-Lo Brown. That in less than a year D-Lo went from being willing to do whatever Faarooq told him to do to standing by and doing nothing as The Rock threw Faarooq out of the group shows how effective The Rock was at turning the group into his own vehicle.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Any and all of his catch-phrases. This has reached a point where he can create memes by edict: whatever he says will be a meme will wind up as a meme. Look no further than the word "cookiepuss" in his appearance during the January 7, 2013 RAW episode.
    • Also "The Rock Driving" riffed from Race to Witch Mountain.
    • An early meme was the "Rockblock" where a naked woman (usually a celebrity) would be covered up by an image of The Rock in a suit nicely asking, "Hey guys, what's going on?"
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Want to embarrass The Rock in a promo? Bring up The Tooth Fairy; prior to that, it was Doom.
    • During his 2003 heel run, Gregory "The Hurricane" Helms brought up The Scorpion King in a backstage segment. Subverted, as The Rock reacted accordingly, although it was more of the fact he was incensed at the notion of The Hurricane defeating The Scorpion King in a fight.
    • WWE tried to invoke this in-storyline with John Cena pointing out the cliff-notes for a promo that he wrote on his wrist were caught on camera. Unfortunately for Cena (and almost everyone else on the roster), reciting promos nearly word for word from scripts is pretty much a known common practice, and it can be argued that in worse-case scenario, the Rock at least does it well.
    • Among animation fans, him calling the medium a "genre".
  • Older Than They Think: He had a completely different gimmick, but "The Rock" was the ring name of Don Muraco in Hawaii first. He gave his blessing to this newer (and completely different) Rock, and Johnson didn't try to keep it a secret (but WWE seemed to).
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: Some fans have theorized that Rock's abdominal and abductor tears at WrestleMania 29 were actually a cover for his walking out on WWE for any number of reasons (ironically, before his injury, it was widely agreed among fans that the Rock had quite some ring rust, which would have contributed to his injury).
  • Popularity Power:
    • The Rock is known for this so much so that there's been an Epileptic Tree saying it turned the People's Elbow into The Rock's Combined Energy Attack.
    • An attempt to invoke this recently backfired... very badly as an attempt to put over Roman Reigns at the 2015 Royal Rumble. To say this didn't work is quite the understatement. To be fair to both men, everyone more-or-less states that they weren't pissed at them so much as they were at the company for doing such a terrible job of booking as of late. Had this happen later down the line (such as Reigns winning the 2016 Royal Rumble after being properly built up and his character more refined), the backlash wouldn't have been so bad.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: He went from a generic babyface who got booed by the crowd for being so bland to "The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment".
  • Shocking Swerve: The 1998 Survivor Series. Weeks before the event, The Rock was gaining face momentum with the crowd, as Vince McMahon began antagonizing him (as a result of Austin begin hired back by his son Shane McMahon weeks earlier), stating since he had a "problem with the people, [[he]] has a problem with the People's Champion". Vince would do all he can to stop The Great One from reaching the top and nabbing the WWE Championship at Survivor Series. However, at the finals of the "Deadly Game" tournament at Survivor Series for the belt, once The Rock locked Mankind in the Sharpshooter, McMahon forced the bell to ring, calling for a submission win to The Rock, despite Mankind not tapping out. Turns out everything was planned from the start, with Vince proclaiming he and Shane were always in support of The Rock, molding him into the "Corporate Champion" and crown jewel of The Corporation. To really cap the swerve, Vince would utter the following:
    Vince McMahon: The people screwed the people!
  • Tear Jerker: His reaction to Owen Hart's accident, namely trying to hijack an ambulance that was at the arena for a later match and drive Owen to the hospital himself. Little bits of moments of awesome and heartwarming in there, due to The Rock's sheer determination to save him.
  • Unexpected Character: On the May 17, 2004 Raw, Jonathan Coachman was belittling Eugene, telling Eugene that he had no friends and that he should leave. Eugene started walking to the back. Right before he got to the curtain, "IF YOU SMELLLL......!" The Rock walked out to everyone's surprise, with Eugene marking out. The Rock led Eugene back to the ring, acknowledged ring announcer Lilian Garcia, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and others, and ran down Coach, offering up a new insult, "popcorn fart."


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