Survivor Series is tomorrow night, and the show is drawing a lot of comparisons to one of the most memorable Survivor Series events of-all time.
Many are likening Roman Reigns' ascension to the rise and heel turn of the Rock, which happened at the 1998 Survivor Series. Wrestling Inc's own Vince Russo spoke about the turn on the latest episode of Nuclear Heat and explained what it was like being a writer in that era.
"There were only Ed Ferrara and myself. The Rock turn was something we mapped out months in advance," Russo said. "We knew where we were going with this for weeks and weeks and weeks. We (told a subtle) story over the course of about 8 weeks. We wanted it to be like Usual Suspects. You see the finish and it's 'Holy crap. What happened?', but you could go back over those 8 weeks and think 'why didn't I see that?'
Vince went on the way to say that they got around physicality by having The Rock hit Vince with The People's Elbow. The move was over so much, that it got a great reaction, but ultimately it was just an elbow drop, something that was plausible to take for the team in able to fool the fans. Russo said it all paid off at Survivor Series 1998.
"I was in the building because I wanted to see the reaction. All of a sudden McMahon calls for the bell, playing off of what happened last year, Rock has Mankind in the Sharpshooter. All of a sudden there's the embrace with The Rock and McMahon. You could have heard a pin drop in the arena," Russo said.
Despite the overwhelming success of the angle, Russo said that The Rock had some trouble adjusting to cutting heel promos after working as a babyface for a few months.
"The following night The Rock was going to be labeled 'The Corporate Champion.' Me, Rock and Vince were in Vince's office going over the promo The Rock was going to cut that night. The Rock had the promo in his head and cut it to me and Vince. The Rock was so cool, the way he looked, the way he dressed, it would been so easy for Rock to go out there and come across as a babyface in this promo. We couldn't allow that to happen. This was tricky. As much as everyone wanted to be the Rock, we had to make sure people hated the Rock for selling out to Vince. It was mainly Vince who said 'Rock, you can't say this, you can't do this, it's going to make you babyface. This night is extremely important. You're aligned with me now, you have to be a full fledged heel.' Rock was very uncomfortable, because there were a lot of things in that promo that the character wouldn't have necessarily would have said, but that night it was vital," Russo said.
You can see the full edition of Nuclear Heat from Vince Russo above, and check him out every Monday Night after Raw on the Wrestling Inc Podcast. You can also download the episode directly by clicking here. If you want to subscribe to the Wrestling Inc. audio channel, you can do so through iTunes as well as our RSS feed, which you can use to subscribe through any podcast app.