The origins of The Rock’s iconic name has long been up for debate. The general consensus was that either Vince Russo came up with the name, while Jim Ross came up with the idea of Dwayne Johnson using it to refer to himself in the third-person. However, Bruce Prichard recently cleared up the debate on his Something to Wrestle podcast.
“When we made the phone call, the entire situation was that Rocky was out with a knee injury and Russo did not know what to do with him,” revealed Prichard. “He kept going, ‘I do not know what to do with this guy.’ I brought up putting him in the Nation of Domination. That way we protect him with his knee. They were chanting “Die, Rocky, die,” so he has a reason to be in this group, so bring him back as a heel. Let him cut the promos on the people.”
According to Prichard, the name is entirely Jim Ross’ creation. “In the pitch to Rock, [Ross] said “God damn, boy. I saw Deion [Sanders] cut a promo, and he’s gonna have a good game. Why don’t you refer to yourself [like Sanders did] in the third-person. Call yourself The Rock, just shorten it.'”
However, Dwayne Johnson wasn’t all excited about the heel turn at first. “Russo had called Rocky and pitched it, but Rocky did not want to be a heel,” continued Bruce. “He didn’t want to do it. So, Jim Ross and I got on the phone with him, pitched it, and then he started going, ‘Okay, I could do that.’ At that time, nobody dreamed that he’d be a breakout star and take over the Nation like he did. When he did, I’ll never forget Vince [McMahon] going, ‘God damn, what’s wrong? You put a microphone in his hand and the crowd goes nuts. Give him a God damn microphone and let him talk!’ That’s what made The Rock.”
Check out the full clip below: