The Rock has revealed what he was told backstage by Vince McMahon ahead of his WWE debut.
The third generation Superstar was just a few months into his in-ring career when WWE came calling in the summer of 1996.
Having originally competed as Flex Kavana, the future ‘People’s Champion’ was swiftly re-branded as Rocky Maivia, a nod to both his Father, Rocky Johnson and Grandfather, ‘High Chief’ Peter Maivia.
Whilst most Superstars would typically debut in enhancement matches on WWE television, The Rock was thrown straight into the deep end after being named in a bout at Survivor Series 1996. He was to join forces with Marc Mero, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and The Stalker to compete in a traditional Survior Series elimination match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley (later Triple H), Goldust, Crush and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.
To add to the pressure, the Premium Live Event was emanating from Madison Square Garden in New York City, an arena seen as the home of WWE.
Speaking on a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, The Rock revealed some unique words of inspiration delivered by Vince McMahon backstage ahead of the bout, in which he was the victorious sole survivor for his team:
“Vince brings me in and says, ‘You’re gonna win the whole thing tonight’
I was like, ‘What do you mean?’
He goes, ‘You’re gonna win the whole thing. I’m gonna throw you right into the fire.’ I’ll never forget this. He’s like, ‘You’re either gonna f—ing sink or you’re gonna swim — it’s New York City. It’s up to you.'”
The Rock Continues To Tease Future WrestleMania Bout
For many years The Rock has been linked with a WrestleMania bout against cousin Roman Reigns, the current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
As recently as September 15th he made his presence felt on WWE SmackDown having appeared on The Pat McAfee Show earlier in the day, revealing he was open to a bout at WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia if the storyline was the right one:
“I’m saying that’s a potential too. I’m open, I’m open, but again, let’s figure out what that is because the fans deserve something just incredible, unprecedented, and not only that, but I also want to deliver to the locker room, to the boys and the girls back there working their a**es off.
What can we do to put them in a position where they’re part of something that is a new change, a new era in this world of pro wrestling.”
H/T: WrestlingInc for the above transcription