Sports Throwback Thursday: HHH vs. The Rock

Did you all miss me? Well, I hope you did because I’m back and it’s SPORTS THROWBACK THURSDAY!!! Today, I want to talk about the wrestling rivalry of HHH vs. The Rock.

HHH-The Rock is one of the greatest rivalries in the history of WWE and arguably the second-best rivalry in the Attitude Era. Both HHH and The Rock had tremendous chemistry. In the storyline, The Rock was the babyface, also known as the company’s good guy, and HHH was the heel (bad guy). When they did segments together, it was gold. HHH and The Rock have great mic and acting skills, but I’m going to be biased here. No one touches The Rock in the mic.

From 1998 through 2000, they have worked together numerous times, from the Intercontinental Championship match to the WWF Title match. Two of my favorite memories of their rivalry came from the Pay Per View event called ‘Backlash‘ and ‘Judgment Day‘ in 2000. At Backlash, HHH was the champion. In this match, the numbers were stacked against The Rock. Why? HHH had the whole McMahon family except CEO Linda McMahon on his side. The Rock was supposed to have to Stone Cold Steve Austin on his corner, but he wasn’t there until moments later in the match. The McMahon-Helmsley regime was about to put away The Rock in the match until Austin’s music hit the arena and the crowd went insane. No smartphones whatsoever: you had natural reactions from fans.

Austin came out of the titantron with a chair and started hitting everyone except The Rock, haha. After he did his job, Linda McMahon came out with referee Earl Hebner, and now the whole momentum is on The Rock’s side. The Rock beat HHH to capture the WWF Title. Everyone wanted The Rock to win, and the fans got what they wanted.

At Judgment Day, it was the rematch but not just some regular match. It was a 60-minute Iron Man match. Shawn Michaels was the special referee for this match. At first, there was some skepticism about Shawn refereeing the match because he’s great friends with HHH. The last time he refereed a match between HHH and The Rock, he super-kicked The Rock, which led to HHH beat him on the first night of Smackdown. However, it didn’t turn out to be that way at Judgment Day. Both HHH and The Rock put on a show. Just like Backlash, there was outside interference and a fantastic return. D-Generation X, one of the most excellent stables in wrestling history, interfered during the match. Then, the amazing happened. The Undertaker made his return as the “American Bad Ass.” He cleaned the house and took over. Unfortunately, for The Rock, he lost the match and the belt because of Undertaker’s interference. When DX interfered, Shawn Michaels was knocked out unconscious at the moment.

There have been stories and rumors about HHH being jealous of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin because he’s not on the same level as those guys. HHH’s best year in the company was in 2000. In 2000, Stone Cold was out because of neck surgery. Before the neck surgery, Austin carried the company on his back in 1998 and 1999 (with The Rock). I always wondered how things would’ve been if Austin never needed to take time off for the surgery. HHH had his chance to be the guy in 2003 when The Rock and Austin left the company, but pay-per-view ratings weren’t excellent, and he held the World Heavyweight Championship for almost a year, which didn’t sit too well with many wrestlers.

HHH and The Rock gave us wrestling fans a lot of memories. They brought the best out of each other. It would help if you always had someone else to help you become better as a performer. The HHH-Rock rivalry no one will forget for as long as they live.

That does it for today’s Sports Throwback Thursday.

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