The Epic Journey of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Although this isn’t The Rock’s first 3-Disc DVD set, this IS The Rock’s first 3-Disc DVD set to feature commentary from him, as well as his peers(Chris Jericho, Triple H, Mick Foley, and for some reason CM Punk and John Cena) and a full career documentary. This DVD chronicles The Rock’s storied career, his humble beginnings, his college years, his ascension in the WWE, among many other topics. Is this a must-have DVD? Let us begin…..
The first disc features a full 2-hour documentary on The Rock’s life and career and is very compelling. Unlike his last DVD released in 2008, The Rock sits down and talks poignantly about his early years with the WWF, though not as a competitor, but as a spectator. The Rock’s parents are featured pretty heavily at the start of the documentary, as they talk about Dwayne’s childhood and how he adjusted to growing up in the business. Interesting enough, The Rock’s ex-wife Dany Garcia(who is now his manager) is featured as well. She provides some insight on the man she was married to for almost 10 years. They soon get into The Rock’s college football career at the University of Miami, where Warren Sapp(who played with Rock at the U) tells stories about the man he knew as Dewey(Rock’s old nickname… no jokes please lol) and the great times they had playing together. Once the small talk(the first 8-10 minutes are centered around his life/college career) about The U is over with, we now get into The Rock’s early days in the WWF. The Rock started out, of course, as Rocky Maivia, the blue chip prospect with the Third-Generation lineage. He debuted at Survivor Series 1996, and this is covered in the DVD, along with Pat Patterson expressing how he saw something special in The Rock the second he saw him. What follows is a brief description of how much of a white-meat babyface Rock was when he debuted and how the fans began to turn on him. Triple H speaks about the night that The Rock won the IC Championship from him in February 1997 and how the crowd began chanting “Rocky Sucks” during the match. Although The Rock won that match, he knew that a change would be necessary if he wanted to continue experiencing success in the WWF. He speaks candidly about wanting to revamp his character to make it more authentic, because Rocky Maivia, the babyface was NOT authentic. He didn’t feel the words that he was speaking, nor did he feel the character. The Rock, describes that he feels the fans want to relate to your character and that Rocky Maivia was not relatable. He then goes on to talk about joining The Nation of Domination, which he explains gave him the freedom to be himself more and create a character that showcased honest emotions, unlike his previous babyface run. At that very moment that Rocky Maivia stood side by side with Faarooq, The Rock was born. Ron Simmons(Faarooq) actually provides some words about The Rock joining The Nation and how it was obvious that he was due to be a breakout star. In between the words of Simmons, you get to see the character of The Rock take shape and see some of his earlier promos and the creation of some of his biggest catchphrases. The DVD then goes on to cover The Rock’s growing popularity after he left The Nation, and how they broke new ground by stopping his babyface push dead in its tracks by turning him heel AND into the Corporate Champion all within the same night. Some great insight here from Mick Foley as well as Stone Cold Steve Austin about how The Rock just entertained night after night even as a vicious heel. They cover the Mankind vs The Rock match from 1999 at The Royal Rumble, and how Rock truly did not hold back with those classic chairshots. One interesting aspect of this documentary is the chapter about the personal/professional rivalry between Triple H and The Rock as they were on their way to the top. Triple H is very honest and open, as is Rock. The Rock does seem to throw a little jab at Triple H with a remark about egos(check his smile after he says it) and it’s quite possible, some bit of tension still exists there. From there, the DVD covers The Rock’s meteoric rise to superstardom, his Hollywood and mainstream attention, and there’s also a nice little piece about The Rock and Sock Connection. I will say, the first hour and a half of this documentary is completely amazing, and showcases so much of The Rock’s greatest strengths and talents. Once this DVD covers the Icon vs Icon match with Hogan and The Rock, it does start to wear down a little bit. They begin to talk about the Backlash that The Rock received once he began making movies more often and leaving WWE more frequently. JR and The Rock both offer some interesting takes on the fans turning against The Rock, and they show an amazing clip of The Rock turning heel back at Summerslam 2002 AFTER losing to Brock Lesnar(this was not shown on PPV and hasn’t been seen before either I think). However, the one thing that I do not understand is the comparison that Mick Foley makes of John Cena(in current day form) to The Rock(turning heel back in 2003). It doesn’t make sense at all and really confused me, since Cena hasn’t been a heel in 9 years, and has never been as savvy, fearless, and smart as The Rock during his WWE career. The Rock acknowledged that the fans were against him, and gave them what they wanted while still entertaining the hell out of them. From there, it discusses The Rock’s growing Hollywood presence and his subsequent departure from WWE. Here, The Rock reveals why he stayed away for 7 years(although it doesn’t make much sense, in my opinion) and explains why he came back. This is where the documentary starts to slip a little bit. Instead of The Rock doing most of the talking about his departure and return, it’s mostly Mick Foley and others offering their opinions about why he came back. They show his classic return to RAW from February 2011(the first minute of it at least) and begin to showcase his feud with John Cena, which is a glaring misstep IMO. Instead of talking more about The Rock’s return, what he wanted to truly accomplish, and the emotional aspects of it, they focus more on The Rock vs John Cena. John Cena, being his usual self, speaks about how The Rock came back and was electrifying, but didn’t have a positive message(really? what kind of lame ass shit is that? lol). The DVD then goes on to bring effect to The Rock’s forever-quoted words “I’m Never Going Away” which he sort of clarifies, but then he doesn’t. And maybe that’s the point? All in all, this first disc is pretty entertaining, save for a good amount near the end. It’s a solid documentary, and though not as good as Austin’s and HBK’s, it’s still a mile ahead of Orton’s and Cena’s, among some of the others. It’s a pretty good way to sum up The Rock’s career and give him some of the credit he never got while an active full-time competitor. It’s about time.
Disc 2 is a collection of matches, which include his match with Austin at Backlash 1999, his Survivor Series 1996 Debut, his match with Mankind at the Royal Rumble, his Breakdown 1998 Triple Threat Match, and two matches with Triple H from 1998. It’s a decent collection of matches, although some of them are included on other WWE DVD sets.
Another collection of promos and matches, that feature Kurt Angle, Edge and Christian, Undertaker, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar and the 2nd Rock Concert from 2003, as well as his return in 2011 and his return to RAW in 2003. Its a pretty solid collection here, and the Flair match is a welcome addition.
Overall, this DVD is a definite buy, and gives some great insight on the career of The Rock. If you were wondering about why The Rock left, why he came back, and aren’t familiar with his entire career, this is a must-have DVD, and if you are a huge Rock fan, I’m sure you already plan on buying this. It’s a great DVD, but in the documentary, there were a few things missing. I do wish they would’ve included some off-air segments from the Attitude Era, some more RAW matches that haven’t been included, but the matches on the DVD does not disappoint. If you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, be sure to pick up this DVD. It is worth it.
RATING - 8.5/10
Peace and Blessings-