Published on May 18th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
THE ROCK on His Match with ‘STONE COLD’ STEVE AUSTIN at Wrestlemania XV
This story brings us back to 1999, the first of three times the Rock would meet Austin on the big stage. It’s a recount from Rock’s perspective from his autobiography, The Rock Says. It’s a story of brotherhood and friendship, unlike what they portrayed on TV.
“The night before Wrestlemania XV, I had trouble falling asleep, which I had expected to happen.
I didn’t want to disturb [then wife] Dany with my tossing and turning, so once she drifted off, I moved to the living room area of the hotel suite and just kind of sat there in silence, looking out at the city, thinking about the next night, the biggest night of my life.
Different scenarios ran through my mind, different moves and spots that I thought might work. I tried to visualize the entire evening.
At that point, I hadn’t had any concrete discussions with Steve. All we really knew was that I would be doing the honors for him. By the time the main event of Wrestlemania came to a close – Austin vs The Rock – I would have put him over clean and give him the title. Beyond that most basic of outlines though, there was mainly blank space.
Far from being upset about dropping the belt, I felt a sense of pride. I was happy to be doing this for Steve, not only professionally, but personally. Steve is, quite simply, a good son of a bitch, and one of my closest friends in the business. I wanted to do this right, not only for myself and our fans but for him.
In the weeks leading up to the match we had talked periodically, but only in bits and snatches. I’d see him in the hallway and say, ‘Steve, I’ve got an idea,’ and then run it by him quickly. He’d say, ‘Yeah, I like that. As a matter of fact, not only can we do that, but what do you think of this..?’ And then he’d make a suggestion.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t really had a chance to speak that night, so the actual planning of the match, the intricate choreography, would have to take place the next day, in the hours leading up to the match.
I wasn’t particularly nervous about that though, as I’d worked so often and so well with Steve in the past. I trusted him and he trusted me. We were a team, and there was no way we weren’t going to put on one hell of a show.
I woke around eight, which means I’d logged about five hours of sleep – not bad considering how wired I’d been the night before.
We arrived at the First Union Center at around 1:30. In the catering area, I met up with Pat Patterson, the agent in charge of our match. He’s considered one of the best psychologists in the industry, and he has an incredible knack for coming up with creative finishes to matches. It was his job to help us formulate the kind of climax this match deserved. We had to take twenty-one thousand fans on an emotional roller-coaster, and no one was better at that than Pat Patterson. So we threw some ideas back and forth. We were just starting to get rolling when Steve Austin stopped by our table.
‘You eat yet, Steve?’ I said.
‘How about if I meet you in the ring in fifteen minutes?’
‘I’ll see you out there.’
We walked into the arena to the sight of the Wrestlemania XV banner being unfurled and the sound of preproduction: hammering, drilling, pyrotechnic tests every few minutes: ‘Fire in the hole!’ BOOM!”