Vince McMahon Prevented The Rock From Appearing In ECW
There was a time when Paul Heyman was booking ECW and wanted to use Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the show, but Vince McMahon shut that idea down.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, there was a deal between WWE and ECW that would see Vince McMahon assist ECW financially while the brand known for Hardcore Wrestling would utilize WWE talent from time to time.
It was a smart move for WWE because it allowed their wrestlers to get some experience in front of the raucous ECW crowd while Paul Heyman, the man running in ECW, has always been known for having a creative mind.
Before The Rock became a really big deal, he was known as Rocky Maiva from his late 1996 debut into early 1997 when fans were turning on him for not being the most entertaining guy on the show.
At the time, Tommy Dreamer was part of ECW and also had a behind-the-scenes role in terms of helping run the show along with Heyman.
On a recent episode of Busted Open Radio on Sirius, co-host Tommy Dreamer recalled a time when Paul Heyman wanted to use Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in ECW, but Vince McMahon didn’t let it happen. Dreamer called the WWE-ECW relationship “real cool, revolutionary stuff” while sharing the story involving The Rock.
“Real, real cool revolutionary stuff. I remember Paul [Heyman] being like, ‘Give me that guy.’ That guy was The Rock. They were doing nothing with him. Paul saw something with him, even back then, and Vince wouldn’t let him go. Would that have been awesome to have The Rock under the ECW Original banner? Yes, but it didn’t happen.”
Instead of The Rock appearing, Vince McMahon figured out how to use The Rock the right way by turning him heel, putting him in the Nation of Domination and a star was born after that.