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Cageside Countdown: Best Rock Moments

Just over a week ago, the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, entertainment, and sports celebrated his 43rd birthday. Surely the artist sometimes known as The Rock celebrated it by laying the smackdown on life as he's done quite often for much of his adult life.

Perhaps the most successful wrestler to venture into the mainstream, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has had his share of moments. But what was the greatest Rock moment of them all? Okay, that would be like choosing between your favorite children, but last week, that's more or less exactly what I asked of you. Not to pick your favorite kid, of course. Pick your favorite Rock moment.

Before we get to the countdown, here's a partial list of what DIDN'T MAKE the final ten. (Hey! You picked and rec'd these. If it didn't make it, that's your fault.)

Ok, ok, if I were to list everything that didn't get nominated or rec'd enough to make the countdown, I'd be here until the middle of June. So let's just get to it...

The top ten Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson moments ever. (as voted on by you, the Cagesiders)

I'll say it again: if your favorite didn't make it, you have only yourselves to blame. After all, these countdowns are constructed entirely by you. Cool? Cool.

10. The Rock goes off on Toronto.



At Wrestlemania X8, The Rock was booed—heavily—against a returning Hulk Hogan. Wrestlemania X8, if you recall correctly, was in Toronto. One would assume that would be just a one-time experience since Toronto is "bizzaro land" in the WWE Universe. But a funny thing happened: over the next few months, those boos actually followed The Rock and only got louder. The reason: Hollywood was calling, and it was only a matter of time before The Rock took his talents to the west coast. EVERYONE knew this. Needless to say, The Rock channeled this growing hatred, and the night after No Way Out 2003 (where he defeated Hulk Hogan for a second straight time), he (rightfully so) ripped Toronto a new one.

10. So The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Stone Cold Steve Austin walk into a bar...

..and they shoot the breeze and drink beer together.

Ok, a little background for the unfamiliar. Hulk Hogan returned to the WWE after a long stint in TNA, and his first big gig was as the host and star of Wrestlemania XXX. He talks for a bit and flubs the building where the show's being held (Superdome Hogan, not Silverdome). Then Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out. Holy shit, this is getting awesome. He talks for a bit and also flubs where the show is. Then...IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL...WHAT THE ROCK...IS COOKING! Out of nowhere! The Rock chats it up for a bit, does NOT screw up the building name, and this nearly half-hour long moment of awesomeness ends with the three biggest stars WWE's ever produced having a beer party. And in this person's opinion, it was better than all of Wrestlemania 29.

10. The Rock and Ronda Connection.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have an unnecessarily long 20-minute promo during Wrestlemania 31 (of all nights) when IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL...WHAT THE ROCK...IS COOKING! After realizing for a moment that, holy shit, The Rock has appeared at Wrestlemania five years in a row now, Stephanie McMahon more or less demasculates the most electrifying man in sports. The Rock was set to take that slow walk away, perhaps set to sad Incredible Hulk music, when The Rock walks back, not toward the ring, but toward a place in the crowd. Camera shot pans out a bit as he looks to his left. HOLY SHIT, IT'S RONDA ROUSEY! The UFC women's bantamweight champion and baddest woman on the planet is called on for reinforcements. How nobody's arm didn't get broken I'll never know, but Triple H and Stephanie end the night with severely bruised egos. The lesson kids: it's Ronda Rousey's world, and we're just renting space. And if she's reading this, I thank her for allowing me to have full use of my arms daily.

9. The Rock gets stunned.

Getting a finisher over is a tandem effort. The person giving it has to execute it safely while making it look like it hurts, and the person taking it has to take it in such a way that the move looks devastating, while not actually hurting himself any more than usual. One example of this is The Rock's awesome sell of the Stone Cold Stunner. Let's be honest: the selling of said Stunner varies. Wildly. Unless it's The Rock. Then it's awesome as hell.

8. The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin have a duet.

It's common knowledge that The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin have quite the chemistry together. But just in case you need proof, here's the duo having a duet the Monday before the winner take all match at Survivor Series. Why would these two have a duet before a high stakes bout? Why not?

7. The Rock returns after a seven-year absence.

In August 2004, The Rock made a cameo appearance on RAW during a Divas Search segment that featured Eugene and Jonathan Coachman. Save for the occasional "via satellite" spot, that was the last time The Rock appeared in front of a WWE audience live. With his acting career taking off, it was more or less assumed The Rock had hung up his boots for good. Fast forward to February 14, 2011. IF YOU SMELLLLLLLL...WHAT THE ROCK...IS COOKING! The Rock returns as the host and star of Wrestlemania XXVII. And it came at a time where the WWE was starved for star power. He picked up right where he left off.

6. The Rock puts over midcarders.

As Cagesider South of Heaven puts it, protecting your spot doesn't necessarily mean having to win all the time; making someone who's at least two levels below you look like a million bucks helps too. Case in point: John Cena being taken to the limit recently by one Sami Zayn. The Rock's done this more than a few times during his prime. Two examples: Al Snow and The Hurricane hold wins over The Rock.

5. The Rock and Hurricane's entertaining feud.

Did you not watch RAW in early 2003? Ok, I can't really blame you. It was knee deep in the Triple H Reign of Terror that made that show mostly unwatchable. But...in early 2003, the People's Champion prepared for his bout with Stone Cold Steve Austin...by feuding with Gregory "Hurricane" Helms. By all accounts, this feud shouldn't have worked in the slightest. But putting together a man who plays a superhero on TV with one who...well, played one in the movies...made for some pretty cool moments. Oh, and as I mentioned, THE HURRICANE HAS A PINFALL WIN OVER THE ROCK. But The Rock was distracted, Eddie Mac. Of course he was. That's the only way a main eventer loses. But the record books said Hurricane beat Rocky.

4. The Rock impersonates his Hell in a Cell opponents at Armageddon.

The final PPV of 2000 pit the top six men in the WWF: WWF Champion Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Rikishi, and The Undertaker in a one-of-a-kind sudden death Hell in a Cell match. Just days before the PPV, various superstars were given the chance to weigh in on their chances. The Rock weighed in as only The Rock could, including an all-time classic impression of his cousin Rikishi that still lives on in wrestling lore.

3. The Rock entertains the masses with a concert in Sacramento.

The Monday before a Wrestlemania, usually those will look to get that last bit of momentum, have that one last confrontation, or throw that one preemptive strike. That's not what The Rock did the Monday before Wrestlemania XIX: he decided to bless us with one of his many talents: singing with an acoustic guitar. An acoustic signed by Willie Nelson. Oh, and he gets a few digs in on Sacramento too, of course.

2. The Rock's best People's Elbow ever.

In September 1999, The Rock was the special referee for a WWF Championship match between Triple H and The British Bulldog. You knew there would be shenanigans with The Rock as the referee, but those shenanigans went to a whole new level when near the end of the match Bulldog gave Rock some guff. You don't give Rocky guff without getting your ass whipped. Ever.  So The Rock plants Bulldog with a Rock Bottom and follows it up with the most awesome People's Elbow ever. Ever. EVER.

EVER.

1. The icons stare each other down at Wrestlemania X8.

(photo via trishstratus.com)

There are not a lot of times in pro wrestling where you get moments where time just stands still. One of those times came on March 17, 2002. Dateline: Skydome, Toronto, Ontario. The real main event of Wrestlemania X8, a battle of icons. In one corner, the most electrifying man in sports.  In the other, the most recognized and successful professional wrestler in the history of the world. Just before the bell rings, the two stare down one another, just as they did a month earlier in Chicago. But this was 68,000 plus chanting for The Rock. Chanting for Hogan. All witnesses to what you, the Cagesiders have voted the greatest Rock moment ever.

Ok I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion on this one. What Rock moments are some of your favorites? What should have made the cut?