When Dwayne Johnson entered the WWE in 1996, he was known as Rocky Maivia — a combination of the names of two wrestling greats, namely his father, Rocky Johnson, and his maternal grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maivia. Booked as a bland, perpetually smiling babyface, the so-called “Blue Chipper” earned scorn from fans almost from the get-go because of the perception that he was a green kid who was only hired because of nepotism. Not helping matters was how the future Rock was allegedly unpopular with several more tenured wrestlers — we’ll get back to them later. As for The Undertaker? Well, let’s just say he wasn’t too impressed with how WWE was building up the third-generation Superstar as a rookie.
In an interview with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (via WWE’s official YouTube channel), The Undertaker recalled that he felt The Rock’s first WWE ring name was “awful” and that the company was hindering his potential by giving him a substandard gimmick. “I remember watching him, and the [Madison Square Garden], they’re merciless if they don’t like what you’re doing,” he added. “And man, they just lit him up.”
Due to this gimmick, it seemed inconceivable to many — The Undertaker included — that The Rock actually had out-of-this-world charisma and hidden promo skills. As such, the Deadman was of the belief that the youngster wasn’t going to last long in WWE, which was, to him, such a “shame.”