The Rock is undeniably one of the best entertainers to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots, but where does he fall among the greatest technical wrestlers?
There are many boxes that we as fans can put wrestlers into to define them. Words like high-flyer, technician and brawler are all commonplace in wrestling.
The Rock has been called everything in the book, and he has even made up a few terms of his own which have been included as part of the American lexicon.
Rocky is known as one of the most charismatic and entertaining forces in all of wrestling, but one thing people never seem to acknowledge enough is his technical ability.
Though it might sound strange, there is a difference between a technical wrestler and a technician.
A technical wrestler is known for chain wrestling, holds, takedowns, counters and using new moves on a regular basis.
A technician is someone who can do all of that and make it look flawless while still playing the character they are supposed to portray.
The thing about being a great technician is that you don't just know a bunch of holds and reversals, but rather that you perform with a fluidity and flawless nature only one of the greatest of all time can have.
Anyone can go to a wrestling school and learn the basic holds and then move on to Judo to learn some more, but knowing how to string them together in an interesting way and execute them perfectly is something that has to be mastered.
The Rock has done this in a way that few before him have been able to do.
When The Rock wrestles a match we know we are not going to see a mat-based clinic like we would if we were watching Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair in the old WCW days, but we do expect him to be great.
The word "botch" almost never comes into play when The Rock is wrestling because he simply will not allow it to happen.
He is meticulous in his preparation for matches, and his "Ring General" attitude helps him ensure that he is in total control throughout the match.
A great example of this mindset is shown on film in a real-world setting.
During the documentary Beyond the Mat, there is a scene in which Mick Foley and The Rock go over what they will do in their upcoming match in great detail.
The pair walk around the empty arena and talk about spots involving weapons, tables and big speakers among other things.
It was like watching two artists lay out their paints and canvas before starting.
The I Quit match we ended up getting at the 1999 Royal Rumble would go down in history as one of the most brutal of Rocky's career.
Foley took nearly a dozen unprotected shots to the head from a steel chair during the match as his children watched in horror at ringside, eventually being removed by Foley's wife.
Rocky is not known for brutality in most cases, but in this match he showed that he was a match for any hardcore legend in the business.
Does this match make you think of Rocky as a technician?
No, but it should.
The way the match was executed showed just how good Rocky and Foley are at what they do, and it serves as an example of how technical ability is not just about counters and takedowns.
Even with all the abuse they had put themselves through, they still managed to pull off the planned finish to the match.
Being a technician in the world of pro wrestling means you have the ability to think three moves ahead like a chess player as well as adapt to any situation like a military commander.
You must be in total control and aware of everything that is going on around you. One mistake and the WWE fans will be all over you.
Rocky has never been one for a series of holds and counters on the mat, but he is one for having the best match on the card, and only a great technician could do that as often as Rocky did.
The thing that separates Rock from the Hogans of this business is that he is not relegated to a few moves, although he certainly has his signature set.
Rock uses a variety of different wrestling maneuvers, allowing him to craft different matches every time he steps through the rope.
If you took away Rock's good looks, charisma, charm, humor and gimmick you would still be left with one of the most physically gifted men in the history of the sport.
The Rock may never be known as a technical wrestler on the same level as a Bret Hart or a Daniel Bryan, but he should be given the credit he deserves for being more than just an entertainer.
How would you compare The Rock to other great technicians of the past?
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