The Rock reacts to his first WWE match 20 years ago—and his awful haircut

The Rock

Screengrab via The Rock/YouTube

Dwayne Johnson made one huge rookie mistake at the 1996 Survivor Series.

Long before he was Hollywood icon or even the Rock, Dwayne Johnson was Rocky Maivia, an otherwise forgettable character in the WWE. 

In the first segment in his new Rock: Reacts series, Johnson rewatches his first match in the squared circle for WWE: a pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden with Jake “the Snake” Roberts versus Goldust and Crush on Nov. 17, 1996. As he’s quick to note, it’s incredible that he made his debut at Survivor Series. Most performers start with “dark matches”—a match that’s never intended to be shown on TV.  Clearly, WWE thought Johnson had the makings of a superstar, and while it took a few years to figure out, it wasn’t long before the Rock was dominating WWE’s Attitude era. 

The Rock says what we’re all thinking too: “I’ve got a fucking Chia pet on my head.”
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