Former WWE creative team member Seth Mates worked with The Rock in the lead-up to his 2002 match against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. He knew what Rock was like back then, and he finds it odd that some WWE wrestlers resent Rock coming back.
In a recent PWTorch Livecast interview (subscribe in iTunes), he reacted to the sentiment that Rock was stealing someone else's spot, and he sees the resentment stemming from an entirely different reason - jealousy that Rock took the risk of leaving and has found success outside of WWE.
"The resentment towards Rock always struck me as a little bit funny," said Mates. "Because the thing about Rock is that people like are jealous of Rock not for stealing the spot but for being one of the guys who got out. You know he made it. He made it in a big way. He made a ton of money. And then he had an exit plan. And now he can come back and work when he wants. And it's not like Rock is coming back and working with a guy who – he's coming back to help make John Cena bigger than Cena ever was. He's coming back to work with a guy who works house shows and who works Raw. You know. He's coming back and he's bringing mainstream attention. I can't speak to the locker room leader this and whatever. I just know that wrestlers like to talk, wrestlers like to stir the pot, wrestlers like to cause trouble. Not a knock on them. Everybody does in every profession. You know every job I've ever had people talk you know what about other people in the room. Rock's not stealing anybody's spot. Rock is bringing a lot of eyeballs.
Mates thinks Triple H's jealousy of Rock's success might, more than anything, be the driving force behind a lot of the negativity.
"I know that a lot of the stuff that Cena has said about Rock and his feelings towards Rock sound like something that would be coming directly from, you know Mr. Helmsley and his view. Because, again, as I said, I always sensed some insecurities as related to Rock and to [Steve] Austin and how, again, in my mind and perception, he never was at that level. And so he wanted to position himself as, well, I'm as good, if not better. Which I don't know that he has done that."
For more from the interview, including Mates responding to the notion that Rock has held back in the face of a lot of fire power coming his way on Raw via Cena, the Trish Stratus double-standard, comparisons that could silence Cena and Cena-backers and more, click here: The Trish Stratus double-standard and how Rock could say Cena succeeded because of him.