For the second time in 2002, The Rock walked into a match as a fan favorite, and got the hell booed out of him.
The first time was at WrestleMania X8, when he faced “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, who, despite being a heel, fans were ecstatic to see return to the WWF.
The second time was against Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar, a heel, had been gaining momentum as “The Next Big Thing,” but more importantly, it was widely known that Rock was leaving again (after being back only two months) to film another movie.
The match had an electric buildup and culminated in a fast-paced, hard-hitting 15-minute main event.
By the end of the match, the Long Island fans were booing Rock and cheering Lesnar.
When Rock returned five months later, he was a full-blown heel, playing off the perception that he had seemingly ditched WWE for Hollywood.
And he had great heat, defeating “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan at No Way Out in 2003, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at WrestleMania a month later.
Lesnar was now a full-blown face, having recaptured the WWE Championship from Kurt Angle in the main event of WrestleMania XIX.
With their roles switched, it would have been great to see how these two would have done in a rematch.
The Place: Backlash 2003
The Winner: Brock Lesnar