The Rock’s Best Wrestling Matches of All Time
Despite his status as a blockbuster superstar in Hollywood these days, for many, their fondest memories of The Rock will be those made in the squared circle. The Brahma Bull is responsible for some of the most memorable matches in the history of professional wrestling.
To this day he remains an iconic performer, a high bar towards which future generations of wrestlers will strive. While it’s easy to remember the catchphrases, the outfits, and the killer promos, it’s the matches that made the legacy. Let’s look back at a few of the best.
The Rock VS Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestlemania X-7
We’ll start with the chair shot heard ‘round the world. The Rock’s battle with his archnemesis at Wrestlemania X-7 remains the pinnacle not only of the fabled Attitude Era, but of Wrestlemania at large. It is the Alpha and Omega of what modern wrestling can be.
It’s an infinitely rewatchable piece of sports entertainment full of incredible stunts, raw emotion, and top-notch storytelling. It’s also the rare example of a successful double-heel turn, a notoriously tricky gambit to pull off in the world of professional wrestling. This one paid off in spades and remains one of the great pro wrestling matches of all time.
The Rock VS The Undertaker VS Kurt Angle – Vengeance 2002
Triple threats are a difficult match to pull off well and this is among the best of them. You couldn’t find two performers more different than The Undertaker and Kurt Angle. The former is heavy on mystique and character while the latter is one of the premiere technical wrestlers of all time.
The Rock is somewhere in the middle, functioning at the center of the Venn Diagram between the two. This match is well-paced and full of equal parts great character and great ring work.
The Rock VS Triple H – Judgement Day 2000 (Iron Man Match)
Watching two dudes wrestle for an hour can be a slog, but this remains a breeze of a watch. We’ve already talked at length previously about how stellar the rivalry between The Rock and Triple H was, and this remains the pinnacle of their feud. The ring work is second to none and moves the story at a thrilling pace.
The storytelling is fluid and engaging, making the 60 minutes of this match pass in no time at all. There are great moments interspersed throughout, from The Rock throwing Triple H into a cameraman to the simmering bad blood between guest referee Shawn Michaels and H. In terms of sheer technical prowess, it’s still maybe the high point of The Rock’s work as a wrestler.
The Rock VS Hulk Hogan – Wrestlemania 18
Sometimes spectacle dwarfs technical ability and this match is spectacle at its finest. It’s a generational passing of the torch between the icon of the past in Hogan and the icon of the present in The Rock.
These guys shared so many career parallels and seeing them finally duke it out in the squared circle was a sight to behold for viewers at the time. The spectacle might not hold up quite as well today (especially given Hulk Hogan’s very public fall from grace) but it’s still a quintessential Rock moment.
The Rock VS John Cena – Wrestlemania 28
See above. It’s the defining spectacle of the modern wrestling era. The Rock, now the past of the WWE, came back after a lengthy hiatus from professional wrestling to work with the new star of the moment, John Cena. We can debate the quality of the match all day but the fact remains that it’s an unprecedented achievement in the field, from the full year of buildup to the record-breaking ticket and pay-per-view sales.
It propelled pro wrestling back into the cultural zeitgeist for the first time in years and opened the doors for the modern era. Sure, it may not have actually ended up being Once In A Lifetime as billed (they had a divisive rematch at Wrestlemania the following year) but you can’t knock something this culturally transcendent.
Which famous fight in The Rock’s career is your favorite? Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us in the comments section!
This extremely-detailed statue includes two torsos representing two iconic looks from across The Rock’s extensive WWE career- both Classic and Modern. A must-have for fans of The Rock, this statue is available for pre-order, priced at $750 USD and expected to arrive in-stock between September and November 2020.
For even more content by writer Tres Dean, be sure to check out The Rock’s Greatest Rivalries in WWE History.