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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.”
Austin Powell is the former managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.