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One of the fun aspects of the WWE Network is the Hidden Gems section. Each Friday, another Hidden Gem is released to the public. Last week, that match was the second-ever match wrestled by The Rock, a dark bout before a Raw taping in San Antonio against Bodydonna Skip (Chris Candido) from March 11, 1996. This would be more than eight months before his on-screen debut at Survivor Series.
Due to the historical importance of the match given The Rock’s breakout success both as a wrestler and actor, and because I haven’t done a proper match recap since giving up my weekly Smackdown gig here on pwtorch.com, I thought I’d give this match justice and do a rundown here. *cracks knuckles* Let’s get to it…
Skip vs. Dwayne Johnson
Skip had both Sunny and Zip with him. Sunny did some pre-match mic work. No announcers and only the hard camera to catch the action. Not sure whether Johnson’s theme is an overdub or not, but it’s a theme shared by the Young Stallions. Johnson wore dark trunks and white boots/kneepads. He didn’t quite have the hair that he debuted with at Survivor Series. They traded holds early on. Couple of leapfrogs and after a mini spinaroonie to get back to his feet, Johnson took Skip down with arm-drags. After a whip into the buckle, Johnson hit a hip-toss, arm-drag combo. Some work on the arm followed, then Johnson scored a two-count with a cross-body. However, a cross-body from the second rope found no water in the pool. Skip took over with a suplex and a leg-drop. He slowed the pace. Hey, a ringside camera shot! Sunset flip reversed by Skip, who put Johnson back down with a clothesline. Johnson fought out of the corner with right hands, but couldn’t sustain the offense. After a bodyslam, Skip went to the top rope. He missed a diving headbutt. More right hands from Johnson, as his punches improved the deeper he got into the match. Sort of an awkward scoop slam by Johnson. He then went to the top, but Skip put a stop to that. With Johnson seated on the top rope, Skip took him down with a frankensteiner. He picked up the three-count with it.
Winner: Skip, at 7:37. A pretty strong outing from the future Rock. The match was kept basic for the most part (duh) and his endurance was tested with lots of running the ropes. Evidence of a future World Champion? Not really. But fascinating nonetheless.
Greg Parks hosts the “Wrestling Night in America” Livecast every Sunday night on PWTorchlivecast.com. Read additional columns from him at PWTorchVIP.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.