By: Ben Kerin & Caylon Knox of WrestlingNewsSource.com
Dwayne Johnson made his debut in World Wrestling Entertainment in 1996 under the name of "Rocky Maivia", which was a combination of his father's name, Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather's name from his mother's family, High Chief Peter Maivia.
1997 was the year that "The Rock" Rocky Maivia captured his first WWE Championship, the prestigious Intercontinental Title.
1998 was a big year for The Rock, as well as WWE as a whole. WWE's memorable period of time known as "The Attitude Era" was just getting underway, and stars such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, D-Generation X, The Undertaker, Kane, Val Venis, Gangrel, Mick Foley, and many others, were all leading WWE into a new era. The Rock also became a heel (bad guy) in 1998, which The Rock become one of WWE's biggest villains. Rocky was a member, and eventually became the leader of, a stable known as The Nation of Domination. And The Rock also began to quickly climb up the ranks in WWE, being a dominant force in the Intercontinental Title Division.
1998 was also the year that The Rock began to rise to a main event level. After the break-up of The Nation of Domination, The Rock soon found himself going to battle against the likes of Triple H, Mick Foley, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as a member of Vince McMahon's Corporation stable.
Going into 1999, The Rock was still a member of Vince McMahon's Corporation stable, and was still facing top stars such as Steve Austin and Mick Foley. The Rock captured his very first WWE World Championship in late 1998, and going into 1999, The Rock was still a top contender in the WWE World Title picture. However, 1999 was also the year that The Rock would eventually go on to turn into one of the biggest babyfaces (good guys) in pro wrestling history.
Vince McMahon's Corporation stable merged with The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness to form the monstrous heel stable known as The Corporate Ministry. Steve Austin, The Rock, and Mick Foley were the most popular stars in all of WWE by that time. The Rock and Mick Foley (who was known for possessing a sock puppet called "Mr. Socko") also formed a tag team known as "The Rock n Sock Connection."
Many fans remember 2000 as the year that The Rock truly became one of the biggest and most popular professional athletes in the world. The Rock's main rival in 2000 was Triple H, who was the biggest heel in WWE at that time. And The Rock also faced stiff competition against the likes of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, as well as continuing his on-going feud with the McMahon Family. The Rock remained one of the absolute biggest stars in all of professional wrestling throughout 2000, and was a very successful WWE World Champion.
In 2001, WWE's two biggest rivals, WCW: World Championship Wrestling and ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling, both went out of business and were purchased by Vince McMahon and WWE. The real-life purchase was used in WWE's storylines in an angle known as "The Invasion." It was WWE vs. the WCW/ECW Alliance. Superstars from all three brands were switching sides left-and-right.
The Rock had taken time off from WWE to film The Mummy Returns, but "The Great One" eventually made his return to WWE in the summer of 2001 to help his home company wage war against The Alliance. When all was said and done, WWE, of course, remained in business, and WCW and ECW were both put out of business.
2002 was an absolutely huge year for The Rock, and was also one of his last full-time years with the company. In 2002, The Rock had one of the most legendary bouts in pro wrestling history against "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8. The Rock was victorious in the truly epic showdown between two icons.
The Rock also won his final WWE World Title in 2002, and would eventually go on to defend the Title against the rookie monster Brock Lesnar in a losing effort at the 2002 SummerSlam pay-per-view. After this match, The Rock temporarily left WWE.
In early 2003, The Rock returned to WWE as a heel character, reuniting with WWE Chairman Mr. Vince McMahon once again. The Rock faced Hulk Hogan at the 2003 No Way Out PPV, and scored a victory over Hogan once again, albeit under controversial circumstances.
The Rock would also go on to have one last match against his old rival "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIX, which was the final contest between the two and would also be Steve Austin's last match ever (at least so far). The Rock picked up the victory against "The Texas Rattlesnake" on that night.
After WrestleMania, former WCW star Bill Goldberg made his WWE debut by confronting The Rock live on Monday Night Raw. Goldberg hit The Rock with his signature Spear maneuver, which eventually resulted in a match between the two at the 2003 Backlash pay-per-view. Goldberg defeated The Rock, in what would be one of The Rock's very last matches. Soon after, The Rock left WWE once again.
In 2004, The Rock's old tag team partner Mick Foley was involved in a heated rivalry against the rookie "Legend Killer" Randy Orton. Orton was a member of the Evolution stable along with Triple H, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, and Dave Batista. At WrestleMania XX, The Rock n Sock Connection reunited to take on Orton, Flair, and Batista in a three-on-two handicap tag team match. Orton scored the victory over Foley during the match.
After WrestleMania XX, The Rock left WWE for good to focus on his acting career.
In early 2011, it was announced that there would be a very special Guest Host for WWE's WrestleMania 27 event. There had been rumors on the Internet that suggested such stars as Justin Bieber and even Bob Barker. However, the Special Guest Host ended up being none other than "The Great One" himself, "The People's Champion", Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson!
In the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson found himself in a heated verbal rivalry against WWE's top Superstar, John Cena. The two verbally battled on Monday Night Raw, as well as Twitter.com and Facebook.com.
At WrestleMania 27, John Cena challenged Mike "The Miz" Mizanin for the WWE Championship, and was ultimately unable to defeat The Miz. During the course of the bout, The Rock was able to take John Cena out with his Rock Bottom finishing maneuver, which enabled The Miz to pick up the victory over Cena.
The following night on Raw, the challenge was made: John Cena vs. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at WrestleMania 28 in 2012.
Since then, The Rock has continued to make sporadic appearances with WWE, and The Rock is currently scheduled to team up with his rival John Cena to take on the team of Mike "The Miz" Mizanin & Ron "R-Truth" Killings at the 2011 Survivor Series pay-per-view event!