Yeah, it’s my shameless attempt to further milk the Rock’s return, so sue me. Today it’s the three previous Rock DVD releases, as originally done by me in 2008.
The SmarK DVD Rant for The Rock: The People’s Champ
– So this, like many of the early WWF DVDs, is an expanded and remastered version of a video tape release from a few months before.
Section 1: “Let’s Rock”
– Taken from the original video tape, this is hosted by the Rock himself, because who else could?
– It’s good to know that even back in 1999, Steve Lombardi was making appearances on other people’s DVD releases to add his opinion.
– We start officially with a mixture of the places he’s “come back to”, followed by him busting on other guy’s catchphrases and abusing Michael Cole. Rock “talking smack in his sleep” is still hilarious. I had almost forgot about his impressions of Big Show, too. (2011 Scott sez: Why hasn’t Rock been abusing Michael Cole again? Can you imagine the heat that Awesome Truth would have with Michael Cole as their mouthpiece, if the fans were promised a payoff of Rock beating the shit out of Cole at Survivor Series if they won?)
– First feud of the DVD sees Rock verbally abusing Undertaker and his “33 pound head” as he trolls for a title shot. This leads to highlights of a Rock v. Undertaker v. HHH triple threat match that Rock has to win to get the shot. Undertaker eats a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow, but Chyna breaks up the pin. So Rock pins HHH instead, back in the days when that wasn’t a big deal.
– D-Lo makes a good point: Rock was the only guy to stand up to the Undertaker and not talk about him in awed tones during his promos. He’d openly bust on him and make fun of his tattoos and huge head, which made Rock look like the bigger star.
– From King of the Ring: Rock has a really dull match with Undertaker. Cut down to a minute like it is here, it almost looks watchable. Don’t be fooled — it’s 20 minutes long and all the highspots are here.
– Rock throws out the first pitch at a Pirates game.
– Rock talks about the fans and we get a montage of them doing bad Rock impressions.
– Next up, Rock v. HHH in a cage match from RAW, as HHH walks out with the help of Chyna…but the ref is out and doesn’t see it. So Rock simply beats up HHH and brings him back in, then exits the cage to win. The editing makes it seem like a pretty good match, actually. (2011 Scott sez: I believe this is the match that later on spawned the famous “Billy Gunn as a part of a serious booking discussion” tag, in fact)
– A montage of people getting the Rock Bottom in a variety of situations and locales.
– The Rock insults celebrities!
– Fully Loaded 99 sees Rock v. HHH in a strap match, which is weird because you’d think the cage match would have blown it off enough, but that’s Russo for ya.
– Rock introduces his barber shop and tells the story about how he came up with shining things up because of the shoe-shine service there. Yes, The Rock gets a HAIRCUT and manages to make it entertaining.
– Moving onto the worthless Billy Gunn feud, notable only for the creation of “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” and Billy’s ass-rash.
– Jumping ahead to November, as HHH has the WWF title now and Rock wants it because HHH apparently can’t even hold the Rock’s jockstrap. This leads to a title match on Smackdown with Shawn Michaels as the special referee and playing babyface. Sadly, Shawn turns on Rock and that storyline is forgotten about pretty much by the next night as Shawn leaves again. I’m not even sure what the payoff was supposed to be there.
– The Rock visits a college football game.
– The Rock N Sock Connection! All the highlights condensed into a couple of minutes. Thankfully “This Is Your Life” is cut down to “You cut the Rock off a second base” and the poontang pie.
– And then a weird period, as Rock treats Mankind like crap and it’s building and building to Mick going crazy and turning into Cactus Jack to get revenge, but it just never happens.
– Onto Rock being a jerk while also being a babyface and the announcers talk about how it’s impossible to say anything bad about him because he’s so entertaining. Putting a shirt over Michael Cole’s head because he’s ugly is just classic stuff.
– Onto a compilation of “It doesn’t matter…”. The timing on the HHH one in particular, with HHH getting this look on his face like he’s ready to start revealing his master plan in intricate detail, and then Rock cutting him off, just kills me. (2011 Scott sez: We needed Rock back during the HHH-Punk feud. Can you imagine what Rock would do with Johnny Ace?)
– Another low-level feud for Rock, as Al Snow annoys Rock, and Mankind chooses his partner over his friend.
– From Smackdown in December: Rock beats Snow in a cage match. They’re kind of reaching for highlights now.
– The Rock signs his book in New York. Really, 1999 was pretty early in his career to have a book out.
– Onto the Big Show feud in January 2000, as Rock wins the Royal Rumble to wrap up the tape.
– Man, 1999 kind of sucked for the Rock, didn’t it?
Section 2: “The Rock Says”
– This is a series of the Rock’s more famous promos from 1999.
– From Sunday Night Heat, a famous interview as Rock relates a story about Billy Gunn talking to God and thus giving the world “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” Rock totally burying Gunn here is hilarious, as he basically calls it a joke that Gunn won King of the Ring and says he can’t hang with him. And it’s true on both counts!
– From RAW, August 1999. Rock coins the term “Big Slow” and notes that his music is the signal for fans to go take a leak because Show sucks. The impression of Show’s chokeslam yell is the end of the edit. Interestingly, this segment is generally shown AFTER that point, when it goes on to give the world the debut of Chris Jericho, making it doubly awesome.
– From Smackdown, August 1999. Rock tells new WWF champion HHH that “his Game sucks”. Rock’s total command of the crowd here is amazing.
– From RAW, September 1999. Rock’s pre-match promo against Kane and X-Pac, where does the voicebox imitation. JR’s deadpan “I don’t think that Kane would say that at all, King,” is a funny detail I hadn’t noticed before.
– From Smackdown, September 1999. Rock is in Vegas, so he talks about how his opponents can win the Jabroni Jackpot on the People’s Slot Machine, complete with descriptions of Undertaker running around the casino like a girl and Kane scaring off the other patrons with his celebration. Really, he just talks about nothing and it’s entertaining no matter what.
– From Smackdown, October 1999. British Bulldog challenges HHH for the WWF Title with Rock supposedly the guest ref, but Rock is too busy doing commentary to bother. Bulldog has the pin, but Rock stops counting because he doesn’t like either guy, and lays them both out with the title and takes it for himself. (2011 Scott sez: Rock sliding in to drop the elbow kills me every time I see this one.)
– From RAW, October 1999. More greatness from Rock N Sock, as Mankind accidentally asks for the Rock’s hand in marriage, which has the Rock emphatically stating his heterosexuality. “Uh, Rock, I’m not a biology major, but I don’t think I have any poontang to offer you.” Mick clarifies: He just doesn’t want to end up like Skip and Zip, he wants to be the Three Musketeers, because he’s always been a fan of American history. Mick’s “I sure as hell don’t want to end up like Skip” is a little more uncomfortable now, but it was a funny line at the time. Chris Jericho and Mr. Hughes interrupt and Jericho calls the skit “unfunny”, so Rock counters that he’s not impressed because he “beat some jabroni named Juventud”. Jericho responds by miming ripping the mask off. Rock gets into his catchphrases and then nearly loses it when Mankind interrupts him by copying him, a rare moment of nearly cracking up for the normally unflappable Great One. This was AWESOME and you should look it up on YouTube if it’s available.
– From Smackdown, October 1999. Rock discusses the many types of pie before a match with Mankind.
– From Smackdown, November 1999. The Thanksgiving show sees Rock once again exploring the variety of pies available for the holiday, which leads to Michael Cole getting poontang pie for the first time. Nobody could abuse Cole like the Rock.
Section 3: The Interviews
– From RAW: Michael Cole is interviewing the Rock, but he’s far too ugly, so Rock hangs a t-shirt on his face to make it easier on the Rock.
– From Fully Loaded 99: Rock points out what a whiner HHH is and clarifies that they didn’t hold HHH down because of a hug with his friends, they did it because HHH sucks.
– From RAW: Rock does his Undertaker and Big Show impressions before a Buried Alive match with them.
– From Smackdown: Rock begins his running flirtation with Lillian Garcia before another interview about Buried Alive.
– From RAW: Rock meets Louise the security guard, who is having a birthday. Again, he’s got nothing to work with, but he just builds a little storyline about how he’s about to start abusing her and then holds back because he’s a decent guy. That’s why he was so tremendously entertaining.
– From RAW later in the same show: Since he held back on Louise, Michael Cole gets both barrels of the Rock’s abuse, which gives us the Rock talking trash in his sleep and another shirt on the head. Mick chanting along with the fans is one of those great character details they always worked in.
– From RAW after Steve Austin got run over: Detectives track down the Rock for questioning about his involvement, and he absolutely chews them up and spits them out. Of course, as it turned out, the whole thing really did involve the Rock.
– From Smackdown in December: Rock looks back on the millennium. Apparently the worst moment of the past 1000 years was Mrs. Snow giving birth to Al.
So there you go. Yeah, there’s no matches, but Rock’s 99 stuff sucked anyway so no big loss there. But if you want two hours of classic trash talk from what was probably his high point as a promo guy, definitely pick this one up if you can find it for cheap. It’s pure entertainment and really makes you realize what’s missing from the product these days. I’ll do “Just Bring It” in the next couple of days to contrast their next shot at a DVD set for him.