Even though I know the story of how Rock debuted as the smiling blue-chipper and later going heel as a result of the fans not buying it, I was more dialed into WCW at that point, and really don’t remember much about that particular version of Rocky (outside of his initial debut and Bret Hart giving him a figure 4 around the ringpost). So all the "Die Rocky Die" and other similar chants aren’t really anything I heard for myself.
(Unfortunately this is going to tie into Roman Reigns before I’m done)
My question is, did the announcers actually acknowledge those chants during the time that they were actually going on? Or was it one of those things they mentioned later to justify the heel turn? I can remember J.R. trying to say the reaction to Rock/Hogan at WM 18 was "mixed", until midway through the match he seemingly said screw it, and acknowledged the crowd was pretty much entirely being Hogan. But beyond that, it seemed like whenever they were in Canada or some super-smark city in the U.S., they’d usually acknowledge the difference in crowd opinions from the norm.
Last night, Michael Cole had to sell that HHH beatdown on Reigns as the worst thing ever, while the crowd is clearly reacting as if 1-2-3 Kid just pinned Razor. Given that WWE has no problems using crowd reactions as a part of storylines, isn’t it extremely weird that they’re so weirdly protective of this Reigns babyface run?
Oh, the announcers aggressively ignored the Rock hatred and tried to continue pushing him as the white bread babyface, but even then they pulled the plug on him full stop after the loss to Owen Hart. By the time he came back in the summer they were totally acknowledging the fan vitriol as a part of the storyline. With Reigns it’s just on another level, to where an entire arena turns on their top guy at major shows and they’re just like "Everyone loves Roman!" over and over, hoping that the Big Lie will overcome fan apathy.