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Mark Henry says WWE icon hated his first gimmick and wanted to quit the company

Mark Henry has a close friendship with this legend
Mark Henry has a close friendship with this legend
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Nishant Jayaram

WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry has opened up about The Rock's struggles at the start of his wrestling career and how he changed things for himself.

The Rock debuted in WWE as Rocky Maivia in 1996 and portrayed a babyface gimmick before becoming a heel as fans turned on him. He debuted The Rock character a couple of years later and joined The Nation of Domination.

On a recent edition of the Busted Open podcast, the panel discussed the best character changes in pro wrestling history. Mark Henry said that The Rock had the best character change, transitioning from the Rocky Maivia gimmick to become The Rock.

Henry said that The People's Champion thought about quitting the business because he was frustrated with his character.

"He fought that tooth and nail [to move away from his original gimmick]. It got to that point where he was like, 'Man, I wish I could get to the quarterback because I will go back and play football.' He hated it. He wanted to quit. It got to the point where he finally said, 'Hey, let me try some stuff,' and when he started trying, he started trying it in the car."

He also detailed some of their past interactions:

"He was like, 'Hey, Mark, what did you say your last name was?' And I was like, 'Fool, you know my last name, [imitates The Rock's catchphrase] It doesn't matter what your name is,'" said Mark Henry. [From 14:20 to 14:58]
Appreciate everyone’s excitement about tonight’s episode of #YoungRock.The night my life changed.My first ever wrestling match, thrown head first into the fire to 15,000 unmerciful wrestling fans💀Tonight’s episode was written by myself, @bfg728 & @hhgarcia41.ENJOY!8PM @NBC https://t.co/25msA5rbvB

The veteran further said The Rock molded his character during their travels as well as in the locker room and the catering section.

WWE legend The Rock on why he hated the Rocky Maivia name

#OnThisDayInWWE 25 years ago, @TheRock made his #WWERaw in-ring debutWe heard praise for him as a future superstar from Hall of Famers Capt Lou and Don Muraco - and an enamoured @WWEHOFerSunny But a heel @JerryLawler disagreed! https://t.co/5U5g9XabWI

The People's Champion explained in an interview that he hated being called Rocky Maivia because he wanted to create his own identity rather than relying on his family lineage.

“I hated it because the lineage I had gave me the opportunity to at least knock on the door but I wanted my own identity, my own space,” said The Rock.

He revealed in the same interview that the late Pat Patterson came up with The Rock name, which he embraced fully and became a WWE icon. The former WWE Champion has been away from the ring for several years now. Fans will have to wait and see if he returns for another match in the future.

If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Busted Open and H/T Sportskeeda.


Did you know a major backstage fight erupted during WrestleMania 32? More details right here.

Edited by Pratik Singh
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