The latest episode of Ross’ Grilling JR podcast revolved around Mick Foley’s 1997 run as Mankind. Grilling JR host Conrad Thompson said Foley wrote in his book that he once thought WWE “should cut their losses and move on from Maivia.”
Ross, who hired The Rock in 1996, acknowledged that the Rocky Maivia character did not receive the reactions that WWE’s decision-makers wanted. However, The Rock's future with the company was never in question:
“Oh my God, no,” Ross said. “Rock not have ‘it’? Are you sh***ing me? Of course he had it, Conrad. His skill set wasn’t to the level of his charisma and his look and all those things. That’s my take on it now. I would totally disagree with Mick about cut our losses. I don’t know that that was ever considered. The presentation that we had provided for The Rock, which led to ‘Die Rocky Die’ chants for this new babyface that we were pushing, was not good.”
Jim Ross added that The Rock’s lack of success as Rocky Maivia was mostly down to his questionable booking at the time. He also clarified that nobody ever told him he needed to consider cutting The Rock from the roster.
The Rock and Triple H both impressed Jim Ross
One of The Rock’s greatest in-ring rivals, Triple H, joined WWE in 1995. The legendary opponents went on to become two of the most prominent superstars of WWE’s Attitude Era in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Although it took Triple H four years to win his first WWE Championship, Jim Ross always knew the D-Generation X member would be hugely successful:
“Triple H was a proven commodity at that point in time,” Ross added. “He was beginning to come into his own as a top heel, even though Vince would take that spot eventually as Mr. McMahon. We knew Triple H was going to be a player, a big-time player, a multi-time champion.”
Triple H has won 14 World Championships in his legendary career – two reigns short of John Cena and Ric Flair’s joint-record of 16. The Rock, a 10-time World Champion, has gone on to become one of the most successful actors in the world.
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