The Rock Says by The Rock with Joe Layden

November 7, 2019

A couple of intriguing chapters doesn’t make up for some truly atrocious filler here.

This always had a tough spot to fill, following on from the huge success of Mick Foley’s Have A Nice Day, which was designed to test the waters for WWE autobiographies. Even without that as a comparison point, this is a half-assed effort however.

The pre-wrestling element is arguably the more interesting part of the book, doing a good job of illustrating how a young Dwayne Johnson had the natural heritage to get into the business, but certainly didn’t have an easy start in life and struggled financially as a student and footballer.

The wrestling part is less informative and is clearly written with a desire to avoid confrontation. There’s a detailed story of a teenage Johnson being disgusted by the disrespect shown by Lars Anderson on a Hawaii show, but nothing about a similar incident involving Shawn Michaels. Neither does the efforts of Michaels and Triple H to disrupt his early WWF run get a mention. Considering these incidents may have cost the WWE Universe from ever seeing a Rock-Michaels bout, these seem like oversights to toe the company line.

It’s when Rocky Maivia turns into the Rock that the book goes to hell. Large parts of the second half are simply match reports told in the third person voice of ‘The Rock’ rather than Johnson, a novelty that quickly wears thin. Not only do we learn nothing about the stories behind the matches but, presumably to keep to the bombastic character, the prose is actively misleading, with exaggerations such as the breakthrough SummerSlam ladder match with HHH going “forty minutes.”

Those who stick through this are rewarded at the end with 20 pages dedicated to the WrestleMania XV main event. It’s a complete account of the entire day, including Johnson’s thought process and experiences dealing with the pressure and workload.

More of this would have made for a truly insightful book. Maybe one day we’ll get it in an autobiography that also covers Johnson’s hugely successful life beyond wrestling. But for now, even if you see this for sale as a used book for a penny…. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE PRICE IS.

Buy on Amazon

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