Was The Rock overrated on the mic?

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by agentmichaelscarn, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. agentmichaelscarn

    agentmichaelscarn Old School

    Jan 28, 2008
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    First off I was in High School and College during Rock's prime, so I experienced him first hand and I did eat it up at the time. But now that I'm older and looking back on his promos from 99-02, I really don't find them that good.(relatively speaking) Sure he has a bunch of catch phrases that I loved at the time, but listening to them now I realized how sophomoric most of his jokes were.

    I mean, could you imagine Cena making jokes about a shriveled up monkey penis? How bad would the IWC bash him if he did? Or talking about turning a ball sideways and shining it up. Makes no sense. Yet The Rock got a way with it.

    Again this isn't to say that The Rock was bad on the mic, cause that obviously wasn't the case. He was "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment" but people put him on a pedestal above everybody else in terms of mic skills and I just don't see it.

    To me Mick Foley and Chris Jericho were the best. They were so damn versatile, in Foley's case he would be psychotic or comedic, depending on the character. With Jericho, he could play the dorky heel(like in his late WCW days), or the cowardly heel, or the face, or the serious heel like he did in 08. The Rock never really showed that type of range.

    So I ask, was The Rock overrated on the stick? He's obviously one of the best, but does he deserve to be praised as the best ever on it like he is?
    tdmoon likes this.
  2. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

    May 8, 2007
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    Do you know how we judge a wrestler's mic ability? By crowd attention and involvement. BTW, when I say involvement, I'm not talking about sing alongs only (although that helps). I'm talking about how the crowd reacts to what the wrestler is saying. Do they boo or cheer, do they actually pay attention or is it they couldn't care less. That's what I mean. So when examining the Rock's mic ability we have to look at the crowd and the crowd was hanging on the Rock's every word, every motion, every action, etc. The Rock was so good at promos that he would make the crowd go crazy by something as arbitrary as putting up his hand, raising an eyebrow, taking off sunglasses, etc. The Rock held the audience in the palm of his hand and still does. When it comes to the Rock's promo ability, he garnered more attention and fan fair than any other wrestler ever. Doesn't that make him the best?

    To the OP, just because you find his jokes sophomoric or immature and don't think they hold up doesn't mean that everyone does. That's your opinion. Also, if John Cena came out and made jokes like the Rock we would tear him apart, because the Rock already done it. If Cena was the first to do it, however, it would probably be different.
  3. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Championship Contender

    Aug 10, 2011
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    Any wrestler that plans what they're going to say using the idea 'what will the IWC think'? I don't want to hear what that guy has to say.

    Is the Rock overrated? It would be easy to say he is. After all, the guy set such a ridiculously high bar for himself that it's a standard that's almost impossible to live up to.

    But he's the one that set that bar, and he did it by living up to that almost impossible standard.

    No he's not overrated. What he says, no matter how sophomoric or ridiculous it sounds on paper, works because he's got a level of charisma that honestly very few people on the planet can match. People are drawn to the guy. What he says/does is infectious, and he can say things that people will eat up where others saying the exact same things would get laughed at.

    Does he have the range of a Foley or Jericho? No, but then again, that's another very high bar to meet. Seriously, go watch Foley's Anti-Hardcore promo's. Those were some of the best ever done in the history of the business. Wrestlers would kill to ever have anything they've done be included in the same breath as those promo's.

    But his range was a lot better than you're giving credit for. Corporate Rock was an arrogant heel with just the right touch of cowardice. Hollywood Rock was an amazing chickenshit heel. Babyface Rock was completely believable as a kick ass babyface. And the part most don't even realize when talking about him? He blended all the different versions of his character so seamlessly that no one ever complained or lost their suspension of disbelief over this guy who was a coward whenever he was a bad guy, and the bravest guy on TV when he was a good guy.

    So no, not overrated. The best ever? That just depends on your personal taste, and is completely subjective. Included in that discussion? Absolutely.
  4. shafe_41

    shafe_41 DON'T HINDER JINDER

    Apr 13, 2008
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    Ha. Was the Rock overrated on the mic? I'm sure I can find a link to say the word "no" in 245 different languages but I'll save myself the time. As the above person said, just because you think he was put up on a pedestal doesn't mean he was overrated.

    Have you ever listened to the crowd reactions when the Rock has a mic in his hand? They hang on to his every word. The backstage segments with Coach, Michael Cole, the "Rock Concerts" in the ring. The time he went around the city to different locations sh*tting on John Cena. All of it got an incredible reaction. So judging by that, I would say the Rock earned his pedestal and there aren't many people that look like they're going to dethrone him.

    You could also make the same argument you're trying to make with the Rock about Jericho. Sure, he said something about shriveled up monkey penis once. But it got a reaction. You think just anyone could get away with calling Stephanie a **** and something about how her boobies hit the floor? What if Cena said that? Jericho was just "so sophomoric" talking about a 20-something's boobs and implying she sleeps around with the guys in the back. So that argument is void. You can say that about literally anybody. Jericho was versatile because his character was different in every one of those scenarios. So his mic work had to change with it. I totally agree that Jericho is one of the best of all time. But the Rock didn't HAVE to change his mic work. Why fix what isn't broken? All the Rock did was perform different actions that set himself up as a heel or face, kept the same style of mic work, and just kept playing an over the top version of himself.

    The difference between Jericho and the Rock is that Jericho is one of the greatest wrestlers, workers, everything... of all time. But the Rock is one of the greatest characters of all time. He just never had to adjust anything. Can you imagine if Jericho was still the same heel he was back in '08 during the HBK feud? Serious, using those big words, nothing funny coming out of his mouth? You'd be bored to tears of him. Jericho would even agree with you. Which is why every time he would come back, he would re-invent himself a little. The Rock never had to. He never will. His work speaks for itself. The crowd reactions still speak for themselves. Just because the Rock never showed different characters doesn't make him overrated. Again... why try to fix what isn't broken?

    As for being the best of all time? I honestly don't believe there are many people out there that can argue for that. I know I personally can't. I've never seen every single promo that Dusty Rhodes ever did. Or Flair. Or Hogan. Etc... There's great talkers I know I would forget about too. So I can't compare their work. But I can say if you lined up every superstar in WWE history, gave them a microphone, and told them to go 15 minutes and they would be judged at the end... you know damn well the Rock is likely going to be on that pedestal at the end of it all.
  5. Rocky84

    Rocky84 Guest

    Jan 28, 2013
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    Totally agree with the two previous posters...very well said. I'm not biased towards the Rock, I'm a fan of him because of who he is...he won me over with years of entertainment.

    What I don't get is how you say you ate it up like everyone else, but now that you're older, you think it's stupid. Well, you did eat it up sooo yea, I guess he is that good. You have to take into account the times, they were different. Our perspectives change throughout the years. The same could be said about a lot of wrestlers. Hogan's vitamins and prayers would be laughed out of the building nowadays for instance.

    As far as range...the other poster hit it perfectly on the head. Look at all his characters. Nation Rock was one of the best heels ever. Then he became face Rock which launched him to the top. Then Corporate Rock who main evented Mania, then a more evolved face Rock who was #1 in the business in 2000. Then Hollywood heel Rock. I mean this guy is insanely versatile and his range is far better than Jericho. His promos are legendary and they aren't all corny...he's kept up with the times too. Look at Rock now..his tag lines and phrases (Fruity Pebbles for example) still go over huge.

    From his eyebrow, glasses, clothing style, sideburns, and even tattoos, the dude is a trend setter. Catchphrases and his ability to entertain with promos, acting or even sing along songs, the guy is the very best hands down.
    Mitch Henessey likes this.
  6. Jack-Hammer

    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 26, 2009
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    I'm not a mega fan of the Rock, I mean I like the guy and think he was highly entertaining but I never felt the sun rose or set on him. With that being said, the notion him being overrated on the mic is among the more ludicrous claims in wrestling. It's like saying that Hulk Hogan was never that big of a draw during his prime. When it came down to mic work, he ranks among the all time best because of the ease in which he handled the mic, his natural charisma and the fact that he had anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 people on Raw or SmackDown in the palm of his hand and hanging on every single thing he did or said while he was conducting his promo.

    I can get that some fans don't like the Rock because no wrestler is liked by all fans and he'll have his detractors just like Hogan, Flair, Savage, Austin, Taker, Triple H, HBK, Foley, Batista, Cena, Lesnar, Punk, Bryan, Jericho, etc. However, not being a fan of the guy isn't nearly enough to suggest that he's overrated on mic because whether you're a fan of the Rock or not, the man could and can flat out blow the roof off whenever he gets on the mic whether it's having the fans hang on whatever he's doing, saying or popping one liners like Skittles.
  7. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

    Nov 12, 2008
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    By that standard, Rock couldn't be called overrated. The crowd hangs on his every word.....and how could anyone doubt the effectiveness of those words?

    No, 'overrated' isn't the term we're looking for. Rock exemplifies the changing face of pro wrestling in the past 15-20 years. Before that, we booed the bad guys and cheered the good guys. That's the way it was done. But the new era brought the day of the anti-hero, the 'tweener......and made us appreciate the villains. Sure, they still trash talk and cheat but we've come to appreciate those 'qualities' and looked more at the total package of what was being presented to us. We booed the bad guy but liked him, anyway.

    Then, along comes Rock. If you were new to watching wrestling and didn't know what the man stood for, there's no way you'd see him as a face. He verbally put down both good & bad guys, he reacted to a tribute from former tag partner Mick Foley by giving him a Rock Bottom, he 'promoted' his mega-match with a respectful John Cena by telling Cena he's going to beat his 'candy ass' while tossing Cena merchandise into Boston Harbor.

    That's a good guy? Yet, the fans loved him for it because he's delivering the cruelest of verbal messages with a twinkle in his eye; we know he's on the side of justice even though he rarely shows it. That persona didn't come to Rock overnight; he worked years to perfect it......and more, to sell us on it.

    So, 'overrated' isn't the term we should apply to Rock since he can bring his message with the best who've ever held a mic in the center of the ring. The discrepancy lies more in the direction of his mixed messages; that we're responding favorably to negative talk and cheering a performer who is essentially a villain.....and he makes us love it.

    Now, that's unique.
    Dagger Dias likes this.
  8. agentmichaelscarn

    agentmichaelscarn Old School

    Jan 28, 2008
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    To come to my defense I wasn't trying to say he wasn't good, that's why I hate the word "overrated" cause it sounds so negative but I couldn't think of another term to use. I clearly think he is top 5 ever on the mic but I think many people put him as the consensus best mic worker where as I think that is up for debate.

    And I'm not saying my opinion is all that matters, that's why I put a question mark in the title, I was simply asking. I wasn't saying it as a fact.
    Mustang Sally likes this.
  9. MC_Live

    MC_Live You're All Humanoids

    Mar 13, 2014
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    I can agree that the content of his promos wasn't always as serious or sophisticated, for lack of a better word, as guys like Foley or Jericho. But, all that matters in the end is how the crowd reacts. If they love it, it's good. You said it yourself, at the time you ate it up when the Rock talked. So at the time, he was doing what he needed to do. I'm sure that if the crowds of the Attitude era wanted serious, strong promos, then the Rock would have given serious, strong promos. But instead, the crowd loved sophomoric jokes and catchphrases. So, the Rock gave them sophomoric jokes and catchphrases. And... It worked. As long as the crowd is entertained, that's all that matters.
    Mitch Henessey likes this.
  10. Kris Benwa

    Kris Benwa Krissssssss Benwa...Benwa

    Sep 21, 2012
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    Man hell no. The Rock is the greatest of all time in that regard. I'm the opposite of you I HAD FORGOTTEN HOW GOOD THE ROCK WAS DURING HIS PRIME. I thought Cena smoked him more often than not so that changed my opinion of Rocky for a while but thank God for the wwe network because I've been watching through the attitude era...I actually finished the last RAW of 1998 last night and honestly the highlight of the show was The Rock on color commentary. His jokes and rebuttals were timely and on point and funny. As soon as The Rock got on I was entertained and I remained so the whole time he was out there...
    And that was when he was just becoming a top guy.

    Can't really ask for much more than that...well I guess you could ask for someone to draw money with his promos but looking at tbe numbers I think its fair to say Rock did that. Also Foley and Jericho played a variety of characters. The Rock didn't need so much range. His character was that of a flashy shit talker and he did that so well he got ultra over and didnt have to do anything else.
  11. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Money for nothin, chicks for free
    E-Fed Mod

    Jun 15, 2015
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    When Rocky Miavia turned into The Rock it was all over... very few before him had that spark on the mic and it was fresh. It continued to evolve and become more and more entertaining. The Rock, IMO , was at least the top three of all time on the mic. Now take into account Hollywood. The Rock went to Hollywood and did a few movies and returned to wrestling afterwards. I found, by the time he had returned against John Cena , The Rock had really lost something on the mic. He wasn't as good as he once was. He was still good, but it was obvious there was something missing. That something IMO was the electricity he had when he was in his prime.

    Number one all time is easily The Nature Boy, Ric Flair. Nobody has ever made a match important as Flair did just by grabbing a mic. WOOOO !!!
  12. whoopin' ass

    whoopin' ass Championship Contender

    Mar 26, 2011
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    To a degree. We complain about Cena's dumb jokes and such in his promos but Rock was similar with a lot of what he did. The difference is that Cena's stuff was kid's humor where as Rock as adult humor so it was funnier for us. He also flubbed lines often but covered it better than most. That's why I say to a degree - he wasn't perfect but he was just so good on the mic that you could overlook any mistakes he did make. I mean, who else could have done the "it doesn't matter" bit? I think he deserves most of the praise he gets.
  13. BestWrestlingOpinions

    BestWrestlingOpinions Getting Noticed By Management

    Jun 10, 2013
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    I've been away for way too long from this site and wrestling in general, so I'll try to get back to it.

    I see what you are saying, and in some lines, I agree. That is not to say he is overrated, because he isn't. He is everything he is said he is. That is why he made it in Hollywood too.

    Apparently, you and me both have different appreciation for the types of promos that are cut by each wrestler. There are guys like the Rock, and then there are guys like Cena and then guys like Cm Punk.

    -Rock: His promos are based on catchphrases. Everything revolves around them, he makes his points based or followed by them etc. That is not to say he doesn't have mic skills. If anything, he was so charismatic on the mic, that he could say the same catchphrases FOR YEARS and still make it entertaining. Was I impressed by his promos? They were funny, but they wouldn't hype me for a big match, because that's what they are. They are just funny. They are targeted to make people laugh. That's it and this is probably the reason why you don't appreciate them as much on a second thought. But as I said, it doesn't mean that he isn't good, because he delivered them exceptionally well and people listened.

    -Cena. He isn't as much based on catchphrases, but mostly says the same "garbage" over and over again. All the time, he says things about never giving up etc. He is fluent on the mic and can keep his promo going, which is really significant. I might not like his promos, but I can't deny him being good on the mic, especially when it comes to something different and he has to change it up.

    -Cm Punk. And here is my favorite type of promos. The king of promos that are based on logical reason and explanation, they tell you a story that captivates you. People sit there and pay attention to something that actually makes sense, doesn't rely on catchphrases or on selling the same thing over and over again. It's always something different and always sells you on a big fight. It's captivating and creative.

    Now, I prefer Cm-Punk-kind-of-promos, but that is not to say the other types, especially delivered by Rock and Cena aren't necessary or aren't delivered well. Others prefer Cena's, others prefer Rock's, but if one thing's for sure, all 3 guys mentioned above have excellent skill and charisma on the mic, because they deliver with their kind of promos.
  14. OYDK

    OYDK King Of The Ring

    Feb 19, 2014
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    To a degree, I would say he was if I were being honest. There were A LOT of times where Rock would say something that made absolutely no sense and the crowd would just go nuts because he's THE ROCK. 50% of his promos, he says the same thing. Literally almost the exact same thing. Than there were times where he would just stand in the ring for 10 minutes, say two words and people would explode like it was the greatest thing ever.

    But he's still one of the greatest on the mic of all time. Similar to Paul Heyman, it didn't matter what The Rock said because his delivery was always absolutely flawless. Some of his promos stand among the greatest of all time, and for good reason. And of course, nobody could electrify a crowd like The Rock. It's hard not to overrate The Rock nowadays because he's held on SUCH a high pedestal, but that in no way means he's a bad talker. Like I said, he's easily one of the greatest.
  15. unfunnier

    unfunnier Dark Match Jobber

    Aug 24, 2011
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    I think what winds up happening is the South Park/Simpsons dilemma, Simpsons for the most part always "did it first," The Rock did it first and when Cena came in he had to reinvent the wheel. Over time Cena became stale or his quips ended up hurting him more than anything.
  16. Headman

    Headman I'm laughing at you right now.

    Jul 29, 2011
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    While his promo style didn't always do a whole lot for me it certainly worked the fans up and got them excited about whatever match or ppv he was selling them. So with that said, no he was not over rated on the mic whatsoever. CM Punk on the other hand had a few good promos but spent most of his time as a baby face whining about ice cream bars and some sort of "change" that he never got around to explaining. So if you're looking for someone over rated, there's your guy.
  17. Azane

    Azane Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Mar 3, 2011
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    I was never the biggest fan of Rocky, but I put him and Jericho right at the top of the best mic workers since Wrestling moved to weekly television.

    We didn't want serious promos from The Rock's character, we wanting Entertaining, which most of the time lead to his satirical humor, and he worked a crowd like no other. The way that he could just motion and have the crowd scream his random catchphrases, you see it here or there nowadays, but the Rock could do a Madlib with the crowd and barely need to talk. Rocky also, was able to get booed as a mega-heel, something that wrasslers struggle with.

    I was never a fan of Mick Foley's Mic work in general, he didnt have the voice for it, and Im not just talking the Mankind character that intentionally spoke terribly.
  18. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

    May 1, 2007
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    Rock drew tremendous reactions with his promos and delivered them with off the charts charisma.....he was as close to vintage 80s Hogan & Flair in terms of crowd reactions as any guy on the mic has been since that time.

    Yes, he relied on heavily on double entendre and adult humor but that was the thing at the time, Cena's jokes are a little acceptable for family programming but its a different era. Rock did look stale in comparison to Cena when he came back to face him, as if he didn't have anything but the old catch phrases and Cena seemed to better than him at that time, maybe Rock was phoning it in. He adapted when he returned for the re match and limited the use of that humor and catch phrases but was still very good at working crowds for huge reactions.

    That is the true mark of a great promo guy. Someone who not only develops a great delivery within a specific character but who can break the character and still engage the crowds at a high level. Hogan certainly has done that, Flair was great in his "what's causing all this"......"Space Mountain".......'etc womanizing party animal heel glory, but he also excelled in his elder statesman of wrestling role opposing the NWO in later years as well as playing the aging family man competitor trying to hang on in his run vs Vader. Rock didn't stay around long enough to experience those changes through storyline evolution, but he did at least briefly show he could sell crowds and engage them at a high level without relying strictly on the catch phrases and low brow humor during his last WWE run (even if he failed to adjust and looked stale by comparison a year earlier).

    I would definitely not say he was over rated, he was extremely entertaining and creative.
  19. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

    Apr 29, 2011
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    No way, the Rock was GOLD on the mic from the day he became the Rock until his exit to Hollywood. His return he was a bit lacklustre on the mic but I attribute that partially to the PG environment. Nobody else has made me laugh out loud during their promos like the Rock did, he was always coming up with new stuff and 90% of it was on point.
  20. @smarkmouth

    @smarkmouth Friendly Neighborhood

    Jul 21, 2010
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    As pointed our, nobody at the time could connect with the audience like the Rock. That should be the only thing we guage his skills with. The Rock knew EXACTLY when the crowd would boo, would cheer, how long the individual reaction would last and how to cut the reaction off at the head. The audience wasn't just a crowd, they were an orchestra that Rock could conduct.

    Now, if you want to argue that his material would be dated on today's TV, I might agree with you. Catchphrases themselves are dated, unless they're concise and can be contained in a hashtag. "#ItDoesn'tMatterWhatYourNameIs' is less dynamic in 2015 then '#YesYesYes' or '#BelieveTHAT'. Of course, it's not just hashtags. Attention spans are short, and so are catchphrases.
    SSJPhenom likes this.

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