We are now onthe road to Wrestlemania, with 54 days and counting to the biggest show of theyear. We know that huge main event is going to be John Cena vs. the Rock one onone in the main event from Miami on April 1st at Wrestlemania 28.These two men have had storied matches at Wrestlemania and we all got to startsomewhere. Let’s talk about the Wrestlemania debut of the Rock and let’s justsay that he had better. Setting the way back machine to Wrestlemania XIII when “theRookie Sensation” Rocky Maivia defended his WWF Intercontinental Title againstthe Sultan.
Sultanvs. Rocky Maivia- Not the Best Beginning for the Rock at Wrestlemania 13.
Rocky Maivia was the smilinghappy babyface. He was most certainly not the awesome, most electrifying man inSports Entertainment that he was when he became the Rock. In fact, the fansdidn’t seem to be too fond of having him shoved down our throats. He won theWWF Intercontinental Title on a special Thursday Night Edition of RAW againstHunter Hearst Helmsley who was not the man that he was in the future. Pre-DXTriple H is like an entirely different person as is pre-Rock um Rock.
Anyway, Rocky Maivia was to puthis WWF Intercontinental Title on the line against the newly heel turned MarcMero. At least that was the rumor at the time and it might have been a decentenough match but Mero hurt his knee to be out for the better part of 1997. Sowe needed a replacement to face our champion.
On a side note, the best way todescribe Rocky Maivia before he became the Rock is a bastard fusion of Crimsonin TNA and John Cena. He had an undefeated streak where he really didn’t beatanyone outside of fluke means. And he rose above the hate and tried to neverlet the fans get him down. Well until he turned heel and was awesome. Of coursehe doesn’t have the merchandise money that Cena did, no one did until StoneCold took off huge during that year.
So for the challenger, a manknown as the Sultan. The former Headshrinker Fatu, the former Making aDifference Fatu, the future Rikishi, the father of current WWE Superstars Jimmyand Jey, the Uso Brothers. Managed by two former WWF Champions Bob Backlund andthe Iron Sheik. One would think that two crazed men like Backlund and Sheikmanaging someone would be entertaining but it was average. The Sultan had twoformer WWF Champions in his corner and zero fans caring.
Funny enough, Sultan didn’t domuch. He was obliterated by Ahmed Johnson shortly after, and then did job dutyfor a bit before disappearing for almost two years and then resurfacing asRikishi. A Rikishi vs. the Rock Match would have been interesting(and they didhave a highly underrated match back at Survivor Series 2000, even if thestoryline leading up to it was rather weak). This match however, not so much.
And the Sultan really was thebest choice of those who didn’t have a match at the Wrestlemania card. Here’sthe rest of the heels who didn’t have a match
-Um D’Lo Brown, who I guess wasn’ta wrestler yet, but just a flunky. So he most certainly wouldn’t have bee agood choice.
-And the Brooklyn Brawler…I guessas well. Hey he got a WWF World Title Shot against Shawn Michaels that year.
WWF in 1997 really did not have adeep talent roster. And you thought they had to dig for the Rumble in 2012.
So Sultan it was. Although theycould have just thrown Rocky against Hunter and Goldust to make that match athree way, but I doubt that would work with the storyline that wanted to dowith Chyna.
So the match quite to be honestwasn’t that good. Rocky was beaten, Rocky fights back, the Iron Sheik getsinvolved, Sultan beats him up, Rocky flukes his way right into a win. Sheikytries to make Rocky humble but Rocky Johnson, the Rock’s dad, makes the save.Rocky keeps the WWF Intercontinental Title, thankfully the Rock moved ontobetter things.
So in the end, the Rock had manygreat matches at Wrestlemania. Mostly against Stone Cold Steve Austin. JohnCena’s Wrestlemania debut was a lot better, so that’s one point that Cena hason the Rock. We’ll talk about John Cena’s first Wrestlemania match tomorrow asthe road to Wrestlemania continues, 54 days until Wrestlemania 28.