The first match between The Rock and the members of the nWo (new World order) took place at No Way Out 2002. “The building was just incredible,” declared The Rock on that first meeting. “It was amazing, I remember going to Vince and tell him: ‘We should build this as Icon vs. Icon and the one who wins will be the best fighter in the history of professional wrestling‘. He said: ‘I love'”.
The Rock as a heel
Then came the day of the fight, at WrestleMania X8, where The Rock is supposed to fulfill the role of the face and Hogan of heel, but the roles were reversed by a decision of the public. “Despite the fact that Hogan was acting as the heel, you could feel that the crowd wanted to cheer him up. I remember having talked with Vince, Pat Patterson and Michael Hayes while we were putting together the combat and we all thought, including Hogan, how to feel and see where it went in the crowd to adapt on the fly.”
“At the time pushed me, I decided I could have landed on my back and sell it as a babyface, which means that I would have raised decided and ready to go for him. Nine times out of ten it would have sold well because I was supposed to be the good guy. But in that moment, my instinct spoke to me and said: ‘I’m going to sell this as a heel’. I land on my back, I do this back flip, I get up and I have this expression on my face like, ‘I avergonzaste!’. That gave us the final clue to not be in conflict with 68,000 people. Immediately, I identified myself as the bad guy and Hogan as the good.”
Hulk Hogan and The Rock backstage WrestleMania X-8
Once backstage, The Rock and Hulk Hogan hugged. “When we got to the back, I gave him the hug stronger than I could, and I thanked him for providing me the torch. I said: ‘You deserve it, brother. Take it well as I did when Andre passed me the torch to me“she recalled.
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