Dwayne Johnson made his debut in WWE as Rocky Maivia in 1996, which was when Shawn Michaels was the top star in WWE, and Triple H was his close friend and confidante. Now during episode 15 of his web series “Confessions of the Hitman,” Bret Hart has revealed that during this time, Johnson was the victim of bullying by Michaels and Triple H. According to Hart, the pair wanted to make him quit the company.
I remember Shawn Michaels coming into the dressing room and dressing down poor Dwayne. Shawn came in and just dressed him down, and he chewed him out. And I believe, told him to never do a top rope dropkick ever again because that was his move. That’s what he was mad about. And then, he slammed the door, and he walked out. The Rock was deflated because, in those days, Shawn had a lot of weight.
I said, “nobody owns the dropkick off the top. You can do that. Owen does it all the time. Why doesn’t he cut a promo on Owen?” I said, “they’re just busting your chops, and they’re trying to work on you.”
Triple H was the same. He was always out to get The Rock. Shawn was out to get him, and they just worked on him, and worked on him, and worked on him.
Just jealousy, and distinctly jealousy. Seeing someone that is a nice kid climbing the ladder bothered someone like Shawn Michaels or bothered Triple H so much that they couldn’t see past it. They worked on him and worked on him, and it was pretty clear to me. Bret Hart
Stories of Shawn Michaels’ backstage behavior in the 90’s are well-known, as is Triple H’s reputation for holding down talent, so it’s easy to believe Bret Hart’s claims. Dwayne Johnson did overcome the pair’s attempts to force him out, and as The Rock became one of the biggest stars in WWE history, surpassing the duo along the way, which appears to be what they feared.