With news coming out recently that The Rock is penning a sequel to his previous autobiography from 2000, WWF’s ‘The Rock Says’, I wanted to present not only a review of the original book, but keeping with the week’s theme, I wanted to correlate the contents to comments made from Jim Cornette and Jim Ross from a recent episode of ‘The Jim Cornette Experience’ podcast.
I put off reading the autobiography because I read in a review that the book was written in the third person, the same speaking manner that The Rock used when on the microphone. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that that as soon as I started reading it, that wasn’t the case. It would creep up later, but only briefly.
The book goes through the hardships that Dwayne Johnson, the man, went through as someone who wanted to make it in the NFL, instead ending up in a throwaway position for a team in Canada, where he had to take unwanted and unused mattresses covered with piss and stains from every source imaginable. He professes his love for professional wrestling the entire time, especially considering his life-long association with it as a third generation star, but he only became involved in the business in his early 20s. However, as soon as he did, he started to pick up all the fundamentals and basics faster than many other rookie trainees were able.
He despised the proposed name Rocky Maivia, turning it down when it was first proposed to him by his mother, but in complete coincidence it was the same name suggested to him by Jim Ross when entering into a deal with the World Wrestling Federation. At that point, having been Flex Kavana in Memphis Wrestling, he wasn’t about to turn away an opportunity in order to make it to a company on top of the wrestling profession.
But what he brought with him more than anything else was the trash talking style of ‘The U’ – the Miami Hurricanes from the University of Miami. Cornette has previously said and vehemently demands from successful wrestlers, that they exhibit a strong personality and perform their corresponding role on the wrestling card as naturally as possible by basing it on their existing personality and perhaps making it even bigger or larger than life.
Cornette discusses 6am flights where all other wrestlers or normal people felt dead tired and irritable while Ric Flair would strut in with his three-piece suit Woo-ing because that was essentially the party boy nature of Flair. They say the same with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, how he is the same person whether the camera is turned on or off but would bring more energy by turning up the volume and performance factor when the red light was flashing.
Jim Ross and Jim Cornette also discuss the phenomenon of The Rock and how he never worked any of the territories open in the day and how J.R. landed himself in trouble with upper management for bringing ‘The Great One’ in, in this manner. Cornette states the importance of wrestlers’ personalities to be outlandish as colourful characters were needed and popularised professional wrestling, where all the great stars were always extensions of their own personalities.
Furthermore, coinciding with the first article in this series, The Rock (according to J.R.) loved himself a bit like ‘The Rock’ character did (meant in all good purposes as he was blessed with supreme confidence and this was perfect for what the WWF needed at that time).
The rest of the book features moments where instead of going into background details or depths regarding feuds, The Rock writes what are essentially promos written down between chapters to break up ‘The Brahma Bull’s journeys. Although an interesting idea, these are not particularly informative in terms of understanding the background dealings of various situations in World Wrestling Federation and prove to be rather pointless as it glosses over the more nitty gritty details from the Nation of Domination, The Corporation and more.
One great treat is the book finishing with The Rock’s program with ‘The Rattlesnake’, breaking down the WrestleMania XV main event with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, a fantastic finish to a great book – one that ended up being a more personal autobiography than wrestling handbook but definitely worth a read for all fans of The Rock and Dwayne Johnson as a man, especially considering his rise to the top of his profession and the openness and freedom he was given to explore this extension of his personality and how that authenticity catapulted him into stardom in two of the largest mediums of entertainment in the world: the major film industry and professional wrestling.
Originally written for Wrestle Talk TV HERE, published in February 2014.
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