WWE News EXCLUSIVE: Rock brings on backstage resentment with his conduct, former Attitude Era colleague compares him to Ultimate Warrior
Mar 26, 2012 - 2:26:57 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
In a recent interview with Wade Keller on the PWTorch Livecast's VIP-exclusive Aftershow, Sean "X-Pac" Waltman defended The Rock against criticism from current WWE wrestlers who think he's "taking their spot" and "out for himself only," but also said Rock brings on some of the criticism with his actions.
Jim Ross recently reacted to criticism from within WWE's locker room that Rock was out for himself and stealing someone else's spot. He said on a recent WWE Legends Roundtable, "You've got to be kidding me!"
Waltman agrees it's ridiculous. "It blows mine, too," he said on the PWTorch Livecast earlier this month. "I'm at a loss for why a lot of these guys are up in arms over Rock returning… It's nothing but more money for everybody… All that complaining and all those points people are making, it doesn't mean anything. He's coming back to help out the business. He's helping himself out too. Just like last year when he came back right around the time 'Fast and Furious 5] came out, I think that had to do with how well the movie did.
"Rock didn't come in to take anybody's spot. If there's a spot for The Rock, nobody else can take that spot. I understand that mentality because I remember when [Ultimate] Warrior came in for a little bit and he came back at WrestleMania in Anaheim and he squashed Hunter in a minute or something and then he was gone not long after that. I just don't see the parallel because I don't see Rocky and Warrior as nearly the same type of person. I think Rocky actually cares about the business and Warrior, I don't think he gives a sh--."
Waltman did, though, say Rock might bring on some of the resentment by not mingling enough with "the boys" and conducting himself as if he falls in a different category now that he's a mega-box office movie star.
John Cena and C.M. Punk have recently said Rock doesn't make himself particularly accessible or visible backstage before the show. Cena's alluded to it on Raw, noting that he's not hard to find, but he never sees Rock. Rock, just this weekend, said that he praised Sheamus for a recent match, perhaps a pushback against his rep for not associating with today's wrestlers.
"Here's the thing," Waltman said. "When he comes back and has his own dressing room and security, that is kinda giving a stand-offish impression. If you don't know him and he comes back and that's your experience, I can understand why some people might think that. They don't know the guy."
Waltman joked that Rock having his own dressing room wouldn't have stopped the NWO from making themselves comfortable in his dressing room back in the WCW Nitro days. Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Dennis Rodman, and others were known for having their own trailer or dressing room during that era.
"We always busted in and dressed in their trailer or dressing room," Waltman said about he, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. "We didn't even ask. We threw our sh-- down and dressed in there, whether it was Hulk or whoever had their own dressing room. We'd rip the Hulk Hogan sign off the door and put it on a broom closet and then drop our sh-- in there and dress in there. And Hulk didn't mind. He liked it. I'm not saying Rock would like it if a bunch of guys crashed his dressing room and dressed in there, but it'd be one way of breaking the ice."
Waltman says Cena indicated to him a year ago that Rock was tough to work with.
"I do the Cowhead show down here - it's the biggest afternoon show in the state [of Florida]. I interviewed Cena leading into WrestleMania last year. It was a ways out from Mania at that point and I asked him if he was going to wrestle Rock last year. He kinda alluded in the interview that Rock kind of marches to the beat of his own drum and he wants it but he was alluding to Rock being difficult to work with over a year ago."
He added: "Obviously there's some legit heat there. I think that was kind of… when you have two big personalities like that, and one's coming back and the other has been there in the trenches for so long, there's bound to be some tension and animosity there. I think it's done nothing but make this whole road toward WrestleMania even better. It's kind of reminding me of the legitimate heat between me and the Horsemen and Flair in the NWO says. Because it sounds so much like I was talking about with Flair and all that in WCW. Because when I went out there, I've never been considered on the same level as Ric Flair talking-wise, but when you have emotion and are shooting from the hip, it makes up for that and really - I think the people can know when something has a real feeling to it. As stupid as some people in this business think the fans are, it's a big mistake to underestimate them."
Waltman says, all things considered, he doesn't think Rock has changed despite his success in Hollywood headlining big box office hits. "To me, he hasn't changed a bit," he said. "I don't see it. I understand why people say those things. When somebody reaches that level of success, usually it's the people around him who have changed. A lot of times it is. He still seems like pretty much the same guy to me. I've always gotten along fabulous with him. He's been nothing but respectful to me. Whenever we had matches, he let me lay the matches out. Fantastic relationship with him."
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