WWE news: The Rock says WrestleMania 13 was the turning point of his WWE career

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has revealed WrestleMania 13 was the turning point of his WWE career as it allowed him to grow and become ‘The Rock’ persona.

The Rock is one of the greatest WWE characters of all time, but he didn’t start out as The People’s Champion.

The Great One’s first persona in WWE was Rocky Maivia, and while he was performing well in the ring, his gimmick wasn’t getting over with the WWE fans.

Fans didn’t want to see Rocky Maivia in the ring anymore, which forced Johnson to change things up with his character and become The Rock.

During a recent interview with Oprah, via Wrestling Inc, The People’s Champion said WrestleMania 13 in 1997 was a pivotal moment in his WWE career, as it was clear at the event that the fans were not behind Rocky Maivia.

The Rock said: "It was a turning point in my career and it allowed me to grow. It really allowed me to just be me.

"When I first started wrestling, the idea was why don't I call myself Rocky Maivia, out of respect for my father, Rocky Johnson and for my grandpa, Peter Maivia.

“I hated the name. I just wanted to make my own way. I love my family, but I don't want to do it like that, because it's like I'm trying to leverage their fame. The powers that be (WWE Management) said 'Nope, that's your name.'

“I was also told 'When you go out and wrestle, you have to smile. I want you to smile big.' This was in the WWE. The idea was that I was a rookie in the business. I was a babyface, which is a good guy. I was being groomed as a good guy-wrestler.

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"The idea was that I was supposed to be grateful for the opportunity so, when I went out there, I had to smile, even if I lost.

"A few months later, the company made me Intercontinental Champion. A month later, we go to the annual biggest event - it's like the Super Bowl of wrestling, WrestleMania. This was WrestleMania 13.

“By the time I got to Chicago (where the event was held),16,000 people were chanting 'Rocky sucks.' I remember laying there in the ring and the referee said to me 'Don't listen to them.' It was crippling for me.

"At that time, the powers that be thought that this wasn't going to work, and for whatever reason, people aren't liking you. They aren't connecting with you.

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“At that moment, it was very defining, because I asked them if I could just be myself and just go out there, speak to the crowd, and just be myself - authentic...The powers that be at that time Vince [McMahon] said 'You got it.'

“So the next night on Raw, I grabbed the microphone and said 'I may be a lot of things, but sucks is not one of them.'"

That moment kicked off what would be become The Rock character in WWE, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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