WWE Senior Vice President Bruce Prichard has revealed that Vince McMahon once pitched for The Rock to fight a bear during the Attitude Era.
The Attitude Era was full of incredibly crazy moments. They ranged from Mankind falling from the top of Hell in a Cell, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin beating up McMahon in a hospital, and the ‘Texas Rattlesnake’ brawling with Booker T in a supermarket.
It was the era that gained WWE the upper hand in the ‘Monday Night Wars’ TV ratings battle against WCW.
The then-WWF transitioned into a more controversial product in the same month as the infamous ‘Montreal Screwjob’ involving McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart. Austin later became the face of the company, alongside The Rock.
The Rock’s meteoric rise during the Attitude Era
When the Attitude Era began in November 1997, The Rock’s wrestling career was one year old. It had only been three months since he had dropped the ‘Rocky Maivia’ ring name with which he had debuted.
The Rock quickly began a rapid rise to the top of the company. He became Intercontinental Champion in 1998 before starting a feud with Triple H and D-Generation-X.
That year, he won his first WWF Championship at Survivor Series, enjoying a further two reigns before dropping the title to Stone Cold at WrestleMania 15.
The Rock then spent most of 1999 teaming up with Mankind. Around this time, he began to be touted for acting roles, and he entered 2000 as one of the company’s biggest stars.
Vince McMahon pitched bizarre idea for The Rock
The first year of the new millennium saw WWE take a significant opportunity. The company joined the New York Stock Exchange – and Vince McMahon had big plans for a special event on Wall Street.
As it happened, WWE put a wrestling ring in the centre of Wall Street. Numerous top Superstars were present, including Austin, Triple H, Chyna and Kurt Angle. McMahon rang the bell to signal the company’s milestone.
But Bruce Prichard has revealed that Vince McMahon had another idea involving The Rock that had to be shot down.
Speaking on his ‘Something To Wrestle‘ podcast (quotes via WrestlingInc), Pritchard explained: “Vince wanted to put a ring in the middle of Wall Street. Shut Wall Street down and put a ring there, and have matches at noon. Huge spectacle, we’re gonna go live on WWF.com.
“So it’s like, okay, cool. I thought he was just kind of telling me this. So I knew that, ‘Okay, we need to put on a show, we need to come up with something’.
“But what he was telling me was, ‘Hey, I want to do this, get it done.’ As he trails off, he goes, ‘And I want a bear. I want The Rock to wrestle a bear’. The Brahma Bull versus the bear.”
Prichard then revealed two obvious concerns that led to the idea being reconsidered.
“First of all, you had the animal rights activists that would not look kindly on a wrestling bear. Even though the human rights activists probably should have been alarmed. Because trust me, the bear always goes over.
“So anyway, as we’re getting closer to this, the idea becomes, ‘Well, do you really want a bear hanging around on the New York Exchange the day your stock goes public?’ ‘Well, the bear was out today on the New York Stock Exchange’.
“No, you don’t want that. You want the ‘Brahma Bull’.”
The Rock was present at the special event. Thankfully, however, there was no sign of a real bear.
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