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Did WWE drop the ball with The Rock?

4702 Views 31 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  coopieroLCFC
By turning him heel at Survivor Series 1998 I mean.

Between Summerslam and Survivor Series of that year he had an insane surge of popularity comparable to Steve Austin's if you look at the crowd reactions. Even when he turned heel he was getting very strong face reactions, frequent big pops.

So if Rock stayed face and picked up all the momentum in the world w/ his popularity getting dead even with Austin ... did Vince miss the best possible way to replicate the Hogan v. Warrior match at Wrestlemania 6. By having a mega face v. mega face at the peak of their popularity. Because Austin was not as popular in 2001 then what he was in 1999, and Rock was already past his peak of popularity at that time anyway.

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I cant see how that first WM match between the two would have drawn better as two faces, and also, Austins feud was with Vince and his corporation, which Rock wouldnt have been part of without the turn.

Anyway, Survivor Series 98 was a great turn, drawing huge heat due to that "tribute" to the montreal screwjob. Rock then gained much better credibility from his series with Mankind, not to mention making the crowd absolutely love to hate him, instead of just hate him as they did before.
 

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By turning him heel at Survivor Series 1998 I mean.

Between Summerslam and Survivor Series of that year he had an insane surge of popularity comparable to Steve Austin's if you look at the crowd reactions. Even when he turned heel he was getting very strong face reactions, frequent big pops.

So if Rock stayed face and picked up all the momentum in the world w/ his popularity getting dead even with Austin ... did Vince miss the best possible way to replicate the Hogan v. Warrior match at Wrestlemania 6. By having a mega face v. mega face at the peak of their popularity. Because Austin was not as popular in 2001 then what he was in 1999, and Rock was already past his peak of popularity at that time anyway.

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Well, Rock turned face again not long afterwards so I don't think the heel turn did him any harm in the long run. I think if anything Austin leaving after Survivor Series '99 when Rock was red hot was more of a "What if...". Rock by SvS '99 was at times getting bigger pops than Austin and even selling more merchandise than him, around SvS '98 Rock was over, but I think it would've been way too early to do a face Rock vs. face Austin showdown in 1998. Plus Rock didn't have any merchandise to show for his overness at the time, his first T-shirt came out only a couple of weeks before Survivor Series '98.
 

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But I will say that it was impressive that Rock was already getting pops as big as Austin's in 1998, which was seen as Austin's biggest year. But yeah in late 1999 a Rock/Austin face showdown would've drawn millions, by then Rock and Austin were pretty much seen as equals in the company with Rock having his Smackdown show and everything. In late '98 Rock was very new in the main event scene, he didn't even have a main event feud yet at the time.
 

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They made a mistake in basically building the company around Austin and HHH. I always felt they were just using the Rock to get those two over during the entire time Rock was over as hell with the E. They should have catered the company to the Rock and maybe Rock would have stayed with them.
 

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They made a mistake in basically building the company around Austin and HHH. I always felt they were just using the Rock to get those two over during the entire time Rock was over as hell with the E. They should have catered the company to the Rock and maybe Rock would have stayed with them.
Yeah, for some reason Rock never had that angle that gave him the center of attention that Austin and HHH did. With Austin it was the McMahon feud, while with HHH it was the McMahon-Helmsley Regime, the closest Rock got was the Rock N Sock Connection, but it didn't last long because Mick Foley was near retirement by then. But then again Rock didn't need an angle centered around him to stay at the top. For example he was put in joke feuds throughout the summer and fall of 1999 while Austin and HHH were in the title picture, yet at times Rock got the biggest crowd response of the night, regardless of whether Austin was in the building or not, definitely impressive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I mean for the time period Survivor Series 1998-Wrestlemania 15, maybe of kept him as a face.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGwaBF_kXAg & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6XDx-BOs4Y
Same event in late 1998. Both massive pops, overall damn near equal.

Referring to grab hold of Rock's new found huge popularity and build it even more so up to Mania, let Austin be Austin, don't need to go there in terms of overness, then you'd have an epic face v. face clash we never got to see in that era.

Then the rest would of been history regardless AFTER THAT, like it was.
 

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Yeah, for some reason Rock never had that angle that gave him the center of attention that Austin and HHH did. With Austin it was the McMahon feud, while with HHH it was the McMahon-Helmsley Regime, the closest Rock got was the Rock N Sock Connection, but it didn't last long because Mick Foley was near retirement by then. But then again Rock didn't need an angle centered around him to stay at the top. For example he was put in joke feuds throughout the summer and fall of 1999 while Austin and HHH were in the title picture, yet at times Rock got the biggest crowd response of the night, regardless of whether Austin was in the building or not, definitely impressive.
Rock was part of the"Corporate Ministry"!,One of the top guys of the stable too.
 

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I mean for the time period Survivor Series 1998-Wrestlemania 15, maybe of kept him as a face.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGwaBF_kXAg & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6XDx-BOs4Y
Same event in late 1998. Both massive pops, overall damn near equal.

Referring to grab hold of Rock's new found huge popularity and build it even more so up to Mania, let Austin be Austin, don't need to go there in terms of overness, then you'd have an epic face v. face clash we never got to see in that era.

Then the rest would of been history regardless AFTER THAT, like it was.
Yeah I understand what you mean, but probably in Vince's mind it wasn't the time for a face Rock/Austin showdown yet since Rock was just entering the main event and Vince probably wanted him to be a heel champion first, but by Survivor Series '99 if he had decided to turn Rock heel that would've been the arguably the biggest mistake he ever made his career, even worse than turning Austin heel.

Rock was part of the"Corporate Ministry"!,One of the top guys of the stable too.
Yeah you're right, although technically that was part of the Austin/McMahon feud.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah I understand what you mean, but probably in Vince's mind it wasn't the time for a face Rock/Austin showdown yet since Rock was just entering the main event and Vince probably wanted him to be a heel champion first, but by Survivor Series '99 if he had decided to turn Rock heel that would've been the arguably the biggest mistake he ever made his career, even worse than turning Austin heel.

Yeah you're right, although technically that was part of the Austin/McMahon feud.
Well you had Hunter as the main heel being built at that time, but was no where near over enough as a main heel at the time. If they did a better job in building him and got him to connect with the Audience better they could of ran w/ that.
 

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Well you had Hunter as the main heel being built at that time, but was no where near over enough as a main heel at the time. If they did a better job in building him and got him to connect with the Audience better they could of ran w/ that.
True, when Austin was there HHH wasn't that over as a heel champion (as in he wasn't a draw off his name alone), he had to reunite with DX so he could get some heat on him, and he only got heat because of the DX name, he still wasn't over on his own. He didn't really become over until after Armageddon '99, I do think that if Austin had never left HHH would've never broke out like he did, Rock on the other hand had pretty much already reached his peak as far as drawing power and overness goes even before Survivor Series '99.
 

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True, when Austin was there HHH wasn't that over as a heel champion (as in he wasn't a draw off his name alone), he had to reunite with DX so he could get some heat on him, and he only got heat because of the DX name, he still wasn't over on his own. He didn't really become over until after Armageddon '99, I do think that if Austin had never left HHH would've never broke out like he did, Rock on the other hand had pretty much already reached his peak as far as drawing power and overness goes even before Survivor Series '99.
If anything, he got unintentional face pops with DX.
 
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