As previously noted, two-time WWE Hall Of Famer Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart weighed in on The Rock on episode 15 of Confessions Of The Hitman. Among many other things, Hart talked about the bullying The Rock endured at the hands of The Kliq.
According to Hart, a lot of jealous pro wrestlers tried to break The Rock and get him to quit the pro wrestling business and he and his brother, Owen, often went to bat for The Rock.
“A lot of the wrestlers would give him a hard time in those days, a really hard time, enough to try to break him and get him to quit and they almost succeeded. And I can remember going to bat for Dwayne quite a few times and kind of looking out for him, Owen too. I think Owen and I had a lot to do with sort of looking out for him when he first came down.” Hart added, “[The Rock] was kind of a marked guy.”
The Rock, who recently had some advice for WWE Superstar Roman Reigns, had problems backstage with the same people who were involved in the Montreal Screwjob, so ‘The Excellence Of Execution’ divulged that had no qualms in supporting ‘The Great One’ against The Kliq.
“I don’t know why he had such a hard time being accepted by some of the more jerk-like wrestlers,” Hart said. “A lot of the same guys who had a problem with Rock were the same guys that were all involved in the Screwjob with me, so I had the same dislike for the same petty bulls–t that these guys were all about.”
According to one story from Hart, Shawn Michaels once chewed out The Rock backstage for doing a dropkick off of the top rope. Hart recalled that The Rock was apologetic, but as soon as the locker room door closed, ‘The Hitman’ told The Rock that HBK’s antics were “bulls–t” because a dropkick off the top is no one’s signature move and he pointed out that Owen did a top rope dropkick all the time and Michaels never said anything about it.
“I remember Shawn Michaels coming into the dressing room and dressing down poor Dwayne,” Hart recalled. “Shawn came in and just dressed him down and he chewed him out. And I believe, [HBK] told [The Rock] to never do a top rope dropkick ever again because that was his move. That’s what he was mad about. And then, he slammed the door and he walked out. The Rock was [deflated] because in those days, Shawn had a lot of weight. He was a pretty important guy for the company, a veteran guy kind of dressing him down like that, he was apologizing and said he didn’t know, and he thought it would be okay.
“I remember the door closed after Shawn left and I said, ‘that’s bulls–t. That’s total bulls–t.’ I said, ‘nobody owns the dropkick off the top. You can do that. Owen does it all the time! Why doesn’t he cut a promo on Owen?’ I said, ‘they’re just busting your chops and they’re trying to work on you.'”
Hart shared that Triple H was just the same as Michaels, as they were both out to get The Rock. ‘The Hitman’ remarked that ‘The Game’ and Michaels wanted The Rock gone from WWE just as much as they wanted him gone, but was glad to see when The Rock began to get a foothold in WWE.
“Triple H was the same. He was always out to get The Rock. Shawn was out to get him and they just worked on him, and worked on him, and worked on him. And I left. [The Rock] was still in the doghouse with those guys. They wanted him [out] as bad as they wanted me out. Like, they were after him. And, for me, maybe a year later, he started getting his break and he started to take off in WWE.” Hart added, “and I’m so glad he overcame their petty bulls–t.”
In Hart’s estimation, the bullying to The Rock was based on Triple H and Michaels being jealous or feeling threatened in losing their spots with the company. ‘The Hitman’ shared that Triple H and Michaels just could not stand to see a nice person like The Rock getting ahead in WWE.
“Just jealousy and out of nowhere,” Hart acknowledged. “Just jealousy, and distinctly jealousy. Seeing someone that is a nice kid climbing the ladder bothered someone like Shawn Michaels or bothered Triple H so much that they couldn’t see passed it. They worked on him and worked on him and it was pretty clear to me. And it wasn’t the only time they came in and made those types of scenes. They did that a few times, but I had a lot of clout at that time too, so I could go in and make him rebound and say, ‘don’t pay attention to that stuff, you didn’t do anything wrong’ because he was still green. That’s a term we use in [pro] wrestling. He was still a rookie.”
Interestingly, Hart remembered that The Rock’s father, the late great Canadian professional wrestler, Rocky Johnson, looked after him when he was a rookie as well.
“It’s funny, but one of the guys I remember kind of looking out for me back then was Dwayne’s dad,” Hart recalled. “Dwayne’s dad was the great Rocky Johnson. He kind of looked out for me in those days. And, very subtly, but he would take me under his wing in front of the dressing room.”
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