In the first installment of a (hopefully) ongoing feature called "Rock Reacts," Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson took to YouTube on Tuesday to release a commentary track to footage of his very first WWE match. The actor/wrestling superstar watched footage of his Nov. 17, 1996 bout at Madison Square Garden, and weighed in with his memories and reflections.
What made the bout notable off the top, Rock remembers, was that his pro wrestling debut was not, like most, in some un-televised backwater. Rather, it took place at Madison Square Garden, during one of the WWE's biggest pay-per-view events of the year, the Survivor Series.
The Rock reveals that he didn't know until an hour before the match how it was going to go. He also zeroes in on a key unplanned moment that determined the course of his career. When the multi-person bout was down to its final three people—The Rock (then wrestling under the name "Rocky Maivia") against two villains—a little bit of magic happened.
"In that moment, 22,000 people can either go, 'Shit, he's gonna get his ass kicked!' or they go, 'Shit, he's gonna get his ass kicked. But you know what, we like that dude, and we want him to kick ass, too.' And 22,000 people did something in this moment that defined my career and literally changed my life in one night. And it's something you can't write... You can't script it... And that thing they did, was 22,000 people started chanting my name."
To hear more stories of the night that started The Rock on his path to superstardom, you can check out the video above.