‘Manipulating b*****d’ Vince McMahon once tricked Brock Lesnar into losing to The Rock clean at a WWE live event

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'Manipulating b*****d' Vince McMahon once tricked Brock Lesnar into losing to The Rock clean at a WWE live event


The Rock looks like he’s going to return to WWE before the year is out and Brock Lesnar is always lurking, too.

Lesnar popped up in WWE in 2002 just as The Rock’s incredible time at the top of the company was coming to a close.

The Rock and Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2002 was a huge passing of the torch

Before The Rock departed full-time duties, he would put Lesnar over clean as a whistle as SummerSlam to give him his first world title and the ultimate rub.

They would end up working a grand total of three times together.

“When Dwayne and I got in the ring together, we could both tell that we had instant chemistry. I know we stole the show,” Lesnar said of their first match together, a triple-threat with Triple H on an Australian live event tour.

“Everyone could immediately tell we were going to be big box office against each other. It was a week and a half before SummerSlam and we were ready.”

At his peak, The Rock was one of the greatest draws in wrestling history

WWE.com

At his peak, The Rock was one of the greatest draws in wrestling history

Rock invited Lesnar down to his Miami home for his daughter’s first birthday the week prior to SummerSlam. That daughter, Simone Johnson, is now signed to WWE and a part of their developmental territory.

Lesnar explained in his autobiography how Rock used that week to groom him for the spot he was about to take and he smartened him up to how the business works at the top in the process.

“Dwayne, of course, is a very smart guy. He was going to have his character, The Rock, do a clean job for me because he wanted to grease the wheels for himself to come back when the time was right. 

“Dwayne knew putting me over was right for business, and he was willing to take a loss for the team, on pay-per-view, in front of all his fans. He saw the talent I had and he knew it would be best for the company if there was no questions in the fans’ minds that I beat him ‘fair and square.’ 

Lesnar hadn’t even been on the WWE roster six months when he clashed with one of the all-time greats in The Rock

Lesnar hadn’t even been on the WWE roster six months when he clashed with one of the all-time greats in The Rock

“That way, after I had my ride at the top, he could beat me in a revenge match when he came back and he would look even better. It would be huge. WWE would make a lot of money. I’d make a lot of money. Dwayne would make a lot of money. That’s pro wrestling at it’s best!

“Dwayne also knew that it wasn’t only right for business to put me over clean, but that Vince had it in his own head that The Rock should lose clean to Brock Lesnar. 

“If Dwayne wanted the door open for a return, he had to keep Vince happy and have him think that ‘Dwayne always gave back to the company, looked after what was right for the business.’

“I’ll always appreciate what Dwyane did for me and my family. If he hadn’t made me look good, things might have been a lot different.”

Brock Lesnar’s victory over The Rock made him an instant legitimate star

Brock Lesnar’s victory over The Rock made him an instant legitimate star

The second time they met was indeed at SummerSlam 2002 when Lesnar was anointed. Rock would then depart WWE to film a movie and wouldn’t return until early 2003.

That’s when Rock and Lesnar would have their third and likely final meeting – a SmackDown live event in Miami on March 15, 2003.

As Lesnar explains, The Rock cleverly made sure he’d get his win back from Lesnar. They only ever met once on TV or pay-per-view, and Rock wanted his win back from Lesnar on a house show in his hometown – no problem, right?

Wrong. Nobody told Lesnar of The Rock’s desired outcome and that’s when the problems started.

Lesnar is still grateful to The Rock for helping make him

Lesnar is still grateful to The Rock for helping make him

“It ended up being one of the most important days in my pro wrestling career because that match in Miami was a pivotal point in my decision to quit WWE.

“If someone from the company had called me and said ‘Hey Brock, would you mind doing a job for The Rock this weekend in Miami?’ it wouldn’t have been a big deal to me. I owed him that much. 

“I liked Dwayne and I learned a lot from him that week before he put me over for the championship. But the way everything was handled in Miami really opened my eyes to the wrestling business and the night of my big match with Dwyane was one that I will never forget.

“I showed up at the arena and was met by Jack Lanza, the road agent in charge of the show. Jack was a Minnesota boy and took me under his wing when I moved up to the WWE main roster. 

Rock was very giving to Lesnar, but Lesnar believes this was because he knew he’d get it back one day

Rock was very giving to Lesnar, but Lesnar believes this was because he knew he’d get it back one day

“As the road agent, Jack would get the finishes on the phone or via e-mail from Vince, or J.R., or Laurinaitis. He would then produce the live event, and report back to the bosses on how the show went, who performed well, and who didn’t. 

“I had been up and down the road with Jack a few times, so this day shouldn’t have been any different from any other. 

“I figured when the time was right, we would all sit down, and Jack would tell us how Vince wanted the match to end. No reason to believe this show was any different from all the others, except I was working with Dwayne, and that was pretty special for the both of us. 

“Then I realised: “Something ain’t right here.” The show had already started, and Jack hadn’t given us a finish yet. Dwayne and I started talking about our match, and I kept thinking “Okay, but what’s the finish here?” 

Despite the mix-up in Miami, Rock and Lesnar remain good friends and Rock went to watch him in UFC

Despite the mix-up in Miami, Rock and Lesnar remain good friends and Rock went to watch him in UFC

“It was about an hour and a half before we were supposed to step into the ring for the main event of the evening, and Dwayne says to me, ‘…and that’s when I’ll hit you with the Rock Bottom, one… two… three!’” 

Lesnar thought The Rock had to be joking, but The Great One was very serious. Once the future UFC heavyweight champion showed his displeasure, Rock immediately placed the blame on Vince McMahon.

“I actually laughed, because I thought Dwayne was ribbing me. I was the WWE Champion. The Golden Boy. It was my time to be on top. I was supposed to win. 

“And here’s the Rock, who should know better, saying he’s going to pin the WWE Champion with the Rock Bottom. That was funny. 

Brock Lesnar has been part-time in WWE since 2012

WWE

Brock Lesnar has been part-time in WWE since 2012

“Dwayne had this nervous look on his face, and he wasn’t laughing with me. He just put all the heat on Vince right away, and said, ‘I can’t believe Vince didn’t tell you… didn’t he call you about this?’

“Dwayne made it seem like he thought I knew he was supposed to beat me, and that he was shocked I didn’t. ‘I told you about things like this’” Dwayne said. ‘A lot of shit falls through the cracks, you gotta stay on top of Vince about everything.’ 

“I remember the week I stayed with Dwayne, he was on the phone with Vince constantly. It was the right way to handle his business. Dwayne had a hand in everything they did with his character. 

“He was a big enough star that he had some say in how his character was used, and how Vince would market and promote him. 

The Rock immediately placed the blame on Vince McMahon

The Rock immediately placed the blame on Vince McMahon

“Even back then, Dwayne would tell me, ‘Now that you’re going to be on top, you need to stay on top of everything, all the time.’ 

“So I went to Lanza and said, ‘Jack, tell me what the hell is going on here… I’m the WWE Champion, and I’m losing tonight? Why didn’t anyone tell me?’ 

“Jack’s only reply was, ‘Well, it’s a non-title match!’ What the hell did that mean? I never knew that my title wasn’t on the line that night. I never knew that I was supposed to lose to the Rock. ‘It’s Miami,’ Jack said. “No one will ever know!” 

“I can remember hearing Jack say that like it was yesterday. I wasn’t upset about losing. That wasn’t the point at all. What bothered me was that I was the last guy to know, when I should have been the first. No one had the guts to tell me the truth, until it was time to step into the ring. 

The Rock is beloved in Miami from his time representing The Hurricanes

The Rock is beloved in Miami from his time representing The Hurricanes

“Just from the look on Dwayne’s face and the tone in Jack’s voice, I knew they were in on something I wasn’t. It was obvious to me that Vince, Dwayne and Jack were all in cahoots, and I wasn’t being smartened up to the situation until the very last minute. 

“That night changed my attitude toward the WWE, because it’s when I started to feel Vince was a manipulating bastard, and that I was being played.”

Only a year later, Lesnar would end up leaving WWE after a mesmeric two years on the main roster. He’d go on to win the heavyweight title in UFC and finally return to WWE in 2012 for mega-money on a part-time deal.

Speaking of mega-money, The Rock departed WWE on a full-time basis a few months later in 2003 after putting Goldberg over clean as a whistle on the way out. His decision to head to Hollywood turned out to be a good one, though, as he’s been named the highest-paid actor in the world two years in a row.

Lesnar rocking a ponytail these days! He’s not wrestled since April 2020

Twitter: @_Beardedbutcher

Lesnar rocking a ponytail these days! He’s not wrestled since April 2020

Rock has come back to WWE on occasion since he left, most notably for two WrestleMania dates with John Cena in 2012 and 2013.

Rock and Lesnar were tentatively scheduled to face each other at WrestleMania 31, but The Rock’s schedule ended up getting in the way.





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