9

A lot of wrestlers have nicknames, but do we know why The Rock is called The People's Champ?

What has he done specifically for The People?

  • Keep in mind that around the time The Rock started using this nickname, he was a member of Farooq's "Nation of Domination" stable, which, despite Owen Hart and Crush being short term members, was a kind of Black Panther / Afro-communist group. The raised fist gimmick and references to "The People" seemed to flow nicely into The Rock's big push as a major "face" in the wrestling story. It also served the important function of providing Rock with a boasting name-title that he could maintain with or without holding a formal title belt. – JacobIRR Oct 8 '19 at 22:48
15

Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. "The Rock" actually gave the name The Peoples Champion to himself with permission from Muhammad Ali.

The Rock has never actually done anything for the people.

The following article from USA Today explains how the nickname originated:

Former WWE champion The Rock, a defensive tackle on the national champion 1991 Miami Hurricanes and star of the upcoming movie Hercules, only follows one person on Twitter: Muhammad Ali. The Rock joined SportsCenter and Numbers Never Lie Tuesday and explained his special relationship with Ali, who The Rock says is his favorite athlete. Ali gave The Rock permission to call himself “The People’s Champion,” a moniker The Rock used in tribute to Ali.

When I was a rookie in the WWE, 1996, we were at a big function, and no one knew who I was. One of those things where I had my own nametag, ‘Hello, I am Rocky Maivia.’ Ali was sitting down, and I said ‘I’d love to go over and say hello to him,’ so I went over to him and introduced myself. As I was pulling away he kinda pulled me back in and he whispered ‘can you rumble?’

I said ‘yeah, I think I can…’

Cut to 1998, I started calling myself The People’s Champion in honor of him. When I was wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky, his family came to watch me wrestle, and I talked to his wife and said ‘please tell Muhammad it’s only out of respect that I call myself that. And I’ll stop it right now if he doesn’t like it.’

She said ‘oh no, he loves it. He wants you to call yourself that.’

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  • I'm not a native speaker, so I still don't get it! :) Would be nice if you explained what the "Can you rumble?" and "The People's Champ" mean, thx! – user26929 Oct 18 '15 at 1:26
  • @user26929 "Rumble" is slang for fight, and "Let's get ready to RRRUUUMMMBLE!" was a signature catch phrase from a famous ring announcer. – Erik Oct 18 '15 at 1:47
  • @user26929 Muhammad Ali is famous for a heavyweight title boxing match against George Foreman called en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rumble_in_the_Jungle as for Peoples Champion, that phrase is self explanatory – cde Oct 18 '15 at 2:13
  • I still don't quite get it, why did he specifically ask permission from Ali, and how is calling himself People's Champion implying giving respect to Ali? Did Ali use this moniker at some point in his career, or did someone give this moniker to Ali? – user13267 Oct 18 '15 at 8:59
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    @user13267 Well, knowing Ali, he probably gave it to himself. I am not sure about that though. It is always a sign of respect to get permission from another well respected athlete if you want to use their moniker. For instance, Ronda Rousey is called "Rowdy" Ronda. She used that moniker from "Rowdy Roddy Piper". she phoned him and asked his permission. When athletes use a jersey number of a former athlete on the same team, they ask that athlete permission. Peyton Manning did it when he was traded to the Broncos to use #18, he asked Frank Tripucka. – steelersquirrel Oct 18 '15 at 9:13
3

When I was a rookie in the WWE, 1996, we were at a big function, and no one knew who I was. One of those things where I had my own nametag, ‘Hello, I am Rocky Maivia.’ Ali was sitting down, and I said ‘I’d love to go over and say hello to him,’ so I went over to him and introduced myself. As I was pulling away he kinda pulled me back in and he whispered ‘can you rumble?’I said ‘yeah, I think I can…’**Cut to 1998, **I started calling myself The People’s Champion in honor of him. When I was wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky, his family came to watch me wrestle, and I talked to his wife and said ‘please tell Muhammad it’s only out of respect that I call myself that. And I’ll stop it right now if he doesn’t like it

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