WWE: Power Ranking the Rock's 10 Biggest Rivalries in His Wrestling Career
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been called a number of things. The People’s Champion, The Great One, and even sellout, has been used to describe The Rock and his actions of the past.
While it’s no secret that Johnson left the WWE to pursue a career in acting, The Rock has finally returned to the WWE. Johnson almost single-handedly created the proper buzz for this year’s WrestleMania.
The Rock has certainly begun his resurgence in the pro wrestling community, and his upcoming match with John Cena is the icing on the cake.
While the future is important, the past is what made Rock the Superstar he is today.
The pie eating, jabroni beating, trail blazing, eyebrow raising, son of a gun became an icon with the numerous promos and feuds stemming from the late 90s and early 2000s. Johnson has put on a plethora of quality matches and his promo work is almost second to none.
The Rock’s promos were to a level where the actual match didn’t play a major factor in the feud itself.
But the question is, who is Johnson’s greatest adversary? Is it Triple H? Vince McMahon? Or the Rattle Snake himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin? With the number of rivalries, there’s too many to predict!
So I’ve compiled a list of Johnson’s greatest rivalries and I must say, it’s a must read.
Without further ado, here are The Rock’s greatest rivalries.
10. Ken Shamrock
Most modern fans have little prior knowledge of this rivalry. The Rock and Ken Shamrock both debuted in the WWF during the Attitude Era.
The Rock debuted as the “blue chipper” while Shamrock rose to fame after refereeing the classic submissions match between Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Both slowly rose up the WWF ranks and Rock found himself holding the Intercontinental Championship.
The two began a feud over the Intercontinental Champion in 1998. Rock retained in each encounter with disqualification victories. Given that Shamrock was labeled the “World’s Most Dangerous Man,” a disqualification victory wasn’t off the radar for Shamrock.
Shamrock finally defeated Rock in the 1998 King of the Ring finals.
Like I stated above, the feud wasn’t as documented as others but resulted in great heel promos by Maivia and brutal responses by Shamrock. An Attitude Era classic and worthy of a view on YouTube.
9. Degeneration X
Like the feud with Shamrock, Johnson’s feud with Degeneration X was also overshadowed by whatever involved Stone Cold Steve Austin. In the late 90s, The Rock found himself in the Nation of Domination as Rocky Maivia.
The Rock’s popularity thrived during his time in the group though he portrayed a heel persona.
Johnson’s popularity outshined his fellow stablemates to a point where he demanded to become leader.
Maivia ousted Faarooq as the leader and began a feud with DX. After successfully defending his title against Faarooq, The Rock began a feud with DX leader; Triple H.
Johnson successfully defended his title in a two-out-of-three-falls match. The rivalry became heated and confrontational, and Triple H received a rematch.
Triple H and Rock participated in one of the most brutal ladder matches of all times. Riddled with interferences by DX and the Nation, the deciding factor lied on the hands of Mark Henry and Chyna.
Henry attempted to slow the Game down after blinding him. but a low blow by Chyna insured Triple H the win.
Thing is, the Nation self-destructed soon after and Rock ascended to the main event card.
8. The Big Show
Probably Johnson’s most controversial feud, The Rock began his feud with Big Show at Royal Rumble 2000. The Rock and Big Show were the two final competitors. In an attempt to eliminate Rock, Show attempted to perform a powerslam over the top rope.
The Rock seemingly reversed it as both men fell to the arena floor.
Rock climbed back in the ring and was declared the winner of the Rumble. Big Show protested the decision and even used a witness that stated Rock’s feet touched the floor first.
Big Show provided video footage but the decision was set and stone. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon granted Big Show a No. 1 Contenders match at No Way Out.
After interference by Shane McMahon, Big Show won the match and the right to face Triple H at WrestleMania. The Rock received a return match on an episode of RAW and regained his spot at Mania.
Linda McMahon made the match at Mania a four-way with Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Big Show vs. Mick Foley.
Each competitor had a McMahon in their corner with Rock and Vince, Linda and Foley, Triple H and Stephanie, and Shane and Big Show.
Vince ultimately screwed Rock, and Johnson turned his attention away from Show to Triple H, Vince, and the WWE Championship.
7. The Undertaker
The Rock has feuded with the Deadman on numerous occasions. The first occurred during the Attitude Era after Johnson was exiled from the Corporation.
The Rock was suffering from a broken hand and Undertaker’s recent heel turn displayed a satanic and psychotic side to his character. Undertaker attempted to destroy the Rock after a tombstone on a steel chair.
The Rock defeated Undertaker and Triple H in a triple threat after his foes inadvertently attacked each other. The win granted Rock a WWF Title match at that year’s King of the Ring PPV. Undertaker defeated The Rock after interference by the Corporate Ministry.
Another occurrence would come when The Rock was the WWF Champion. Undertaker, Kane, and Chris Benoit became serious threats to his WWF Championship reign. One particular moment saw each challenger destroying the Champion with their respective signature moves.
Despite this, The Rock ultimately won the Fatal 4 Way match after it was restarted due to the actions of Chris Benoit.
The third time would come when The Rock discussed Undertaker’s Royal Rumble elimination by Maven. Undertaker cost Rock a No. 1 contender's match with Kurt Angle after a Chokeslam.
The two attacked each other with it culminating in Rock costing Undertaker a Hardcore Championship match with Maven.
This resulted in a match at No Way Out 2002.
The Rock defeated Undertaker after he attempted to use a steel pipe. Ric Flair interfered and cost Taker the match.
The fourth occurrence would come when Undertaker took on Triple H at King of the Ring 2002. Despite interference by Rock, Undertaker retained after a low blow.
The Rock destroyed Undertaker in a brawl after the match. An angered Undertaker asked Vince McMahon for a match with Rock.
After a controversial ending to a title match with Kurt Angle, McMahon made a three-way at WWE Vengeance 2002. The Rock defeated both after pinning Angle with a Rock Bottom.
6. Booker T
When Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock at WrestleMania 17, Rock took a hiatus from the WWF to film the Mummy Returns. To explain his absence, Vince suspended him after a cage match with Austin on RAW.
After the WWF faced dire straits with the Alliance and the betrayal of Austin, McMahon reinstated The Rock.
The Rock was pursued by both sides but ultimately returned to the WWF.
This sparked a feud with WCW Champion Booker T. The two verbally insulted the other in numerous segments on RAW and Smackdown with a World Title match proposed for Summerslam.
The rivals also attacked the other as Booker began using the Book End (Rock Bottom) more prominently.
Basically, the feud revolved around the numerous similarities in their gimmicks and their respective signatures.
At Summerslam, The Rock defeated Booker after a Rock Bottom to win the WCW Championship. Booker would receive a rematch in a form of a handicap match (teaming with Shane McMahon) at Unforgiven 2001.
Despite solid efforts, The Rock defeated Booker thus ending the feud.
5. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho made his WWF debut during one of The Rock’s classic promos. Y2J was received a verbal thrashing from The Rock but the confrontation didn’t escalate into a feud.
During the Invasion, Jericho grew noticeably jealous of The Rock and his success against the Alliance. Instead of feuding with the Alliance, Jericho defeated Rob Van Dam to receive a shot a Rock’s WCW Championship.
After interference by Stephanie McMahon, Chris Jericho won the WCW Championship. Jericho’s first World Championship in his career was short-lived after The Rock regained it on an episode of RAW.
Jericho brutally assaulted Rock after the match thus turning heel. Jericho almost cost Team WWF the winner take all match at Survivor Series 2002 but The Rock prevailed.
After the Invasion officially ended, Jericho was placed in the undisputed title picture. Jericho would face The Rock, while Austin would take on Kurt Angle with the winner facing off for the Undisputed Champion. In the biggest upset in WWE history, Jericho defeated The Rock and Austin after interference in both matches.
The Rock quickly emerged as Jericho’s first challenger. At the Royal Rumble, Jericho used a low blow to retain the Undisputed Championship.
The duo would face off once more on Smackdown. After losing the Championship to Triple H, Jericho was infuriated that Rock had suggested Hulk Hogan as a potential contender. The two agreed to one final match on Smackdown.
The Rock defeated Jericho after a Rock Bottom.
4. Kurt Angle
After years of winning second-tier titles such as the European and Intercontinental Championships, Kurt Angle set his sights on The Rock and his WWF Championship.
In a match at No Mercy 2000, Angle defeated The Rock after an assist by Rikishi. Kurt Angle began one of the greatest title reigns in WWE history will The Rock remained in pursuit of the WWF Title.
Angle defeated The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Rikishi, and Undertaker in a Armageddon Hell in a Cell at Armageddon 2001. The Rock finally received a one-on-one match WWF No Way Out 2001.
The match is considered one of the best of each competitor’s career. Neither man crossed paths again until after King of the Ring 2002. Like I stated in the Undertaker slide, Angle was inserted into the Undisputed Title match at Vengeance 2002.
As the ref counted Angle's shoulders down, The Undertaker submitted to a triangle choke hold Angle applied.
Kurt Angle reignited his feud with The Rock, even forcing the Great One to submit to his Ankle Lock in a match on Smackdown.
Both were destroyed by the Undertaker after the match ended. The Rock pinned Angle in the triple threat match after a Rock Bottom.
The feud between Mankind and The Rock began with a double turn. In the Deadly Game tournament at Survivor Series 1998, The Rock faced Mankind in the finals for the vacant WWF Championship.
The Rock applied the sharpshooter to Mankind as Vince McMahon simultaneously called for the bell. Mimicking the Montreal Screwjob, The Rock joined Vince McMahon and became the focal point of the Corporation.
Mankind was kicked out of the Corporation and turned face as Rock turned heel. The two faced off in a rematch where The Rock retained after Mankind knocked him out with the Mandible Claw.
Mankind was granted a rematch on an episode of RAW and with an assist by Stone Cold, Mankind captured the WWF Championship.
The Rock defeated Mankind in a I Quit match after playing a pre-recording of Mankind uttering the words in an interview. The next match would occur during the Super Bowl Halftime show where Mankind used a forklift to pin The Rock.
The final match in their rivalry would be a ladder match. Seconds away from winning, Mankind was chokeslammed off the ladder by the Big Show.
2. Triple H
The Rock/HHH feud originally began in 1997 when The Rock won the Intercontinental Championship from the Game, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. I’ve already stated the title matches that transpired in the Degeneration X and Big Show slides.
After Vince McMahon assisted Triple H in retaining the WWF Championship at WrestleMania 2000, The Rock received a rematch at Backlash 2000.
The Rock regained the title after an assist by the returning Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The feud escalated as the two faced off at Judgment Day. With Shawn Michaels serving as the referee, The Rock lost the Iron Man match to Triple H after the Game received one fall for Undertaker’s interference. The Rock received another WWF Title match at King of the Ring.
Teaming with Undertaker and Kane, The Rock took on Shane, Vince, and Triple H. The Rock’s team won the match and the Great One regained the WWF Title.
The two crossed paths in the Armageddon Hell in a Cell where Triple H inflicted a considerable amount of damage to Rock.
Triple H also assisted Steve Austin in a beatdown on The Rock after a cage match.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
The first and obvious choice is Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock/Austin feud originally began in 1997 when Austin quickly defeated Rock for the Intercontinental Championship.
Instead of granting Rock a rematch, Austin forfeited the title but gave Rock a stunner before throwing the Championship off a bridge. The two wouldn’t cross paths until after The Rock joined the Corporation.
After ridding himself of Mankind, The Rock had to defend the WWF Championship against Austin at WrestleMania XV. Austin ultimately defeated Rock and beat the odds once against after defeating him again at Backlash. The Rock’s popularity caused a face turn after the feud with Austin ended.
Shane McMahon exiled The Rock from the Corporation thus creating the feuds with Undertaker, Triple H, and the Corporate Ministry.
Austin’s neck issues prevented the feud from reigniting in the Rock carried the load as the WWF’s Top Superstar. Austin was run down by a mystery driver to explain his absence. Despite speculation, The Rock was cleared as a suspect because of Rikishi admitting his guilt.
Austin eventually returned a engaged in feud with Rikishi, Triple H, and Kurt Angle before winning the 2001 Royal Rumble. The Rock defeated Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at No Way Out and the WrestleMania rematch was set.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin accepted the assistance of Vince McMahon thus turning heel in the process. After multiple chair shots, Austin regained the WWF Championship. In a rematch the next night on RAW, Triple H aided Austin in a beat down on the Great One.
The Rock returned to the WWF after Stone Cold Steve Austin joined the Alliance. In the winner-take-all match at Survivor Series, The Rock pinned Austin after a Rock Bottom. Despite a number of close calls, Austin and Rock didn’t face each other again until 2003.
After returning to the WWF, Stone Cold Steve Austin was challenged to a WrestleMania rematch by the Great One. In a classic bout, The Rock finally defeated Austin after three Rock Bottoms. This marked Austin’s last match in the WWE and the last time he faced The Rock.