Vince Russo has released a statement (via WrestleZone.com) in which he has responded to Bruce Prichard who claimed on his Something to Wrestle podcast that it was Jim Ross who told Dwayne Johnson to call himself The Rock during The Attitude Era.
From Vince Russo:
After 20 years it’s rare to remember every detail of what happened during a specific place and time, so I always try to take somebody’s recall of certain events with that in mind. However, much to my astonishment, Bruce Prichard, who I consider a friend, seems to have a photographic memory of everything that took place in the WWE as it concerns me.
Bruce himself told me that they were bringing back Rocky Maivia and putting him in the Nation of Domination BEFORE I ever even took over the head writing spot during the Attitude Era. Bruce says differently. He says that I said, “I don’t know what to do with the guy” Bruce, HIMSELF, had already told me what they were doing with him.
Bruce’s statement is 100% incorrect. As my role in creative grew, I started observing The Rock more closely, becoming more and more familiar with him. It was then that I pitched to him, in a one-on-one conversation, the idea of the Rock and speaking in the third person, prior to an episode of RAW. An idea that I actually got from memories of Don “The Rock” Muraco–one of my all-time favorites.
It was only about 3 years ago, during my podcast, that Bruce Prichard informed me that Jim Ross had actually presented the same scenario to The Rock. Did I doubt it? Not for a minute. Changing Rocky to “The Rock” was not rocket science–In the “Rocky” movies “Mickie” referred to Rocky as “Rock”. I believe two people could have pitched the same idea without each other knowing about it. That’s why I don’t doubt Jim’s involvement for a second.
In that same interview I conducted with Bruce I TOLD BRUCE that I had pitched “The Rock” to Rocky. There was no objection or argument from Bruce at that time.
The lack of argument or objection has changed since Bruce became a successful podcaster as he now relays a reaction of shock and disbelief at the same story I said to his face.
“Russo had called Rocky and pitched it (turning heel), but Rocky didn’t want to be a heel. He didn’t want to do it. So Jim Ross and I got on the phone with him and pitched it (becoming “the Rock”), and he started going–OK, I can do that.” – Bruce Prichard
Bruce casually dispels my firm, documented, and unchanged recollection of the events as “Bull****” on his recent podcast.
Not only do I characterize Bruce’s recollection as inaccurate, so does The Rock in this video (at 59 seconds).
When you put to question my honesty and integrity, believing that only YOU can remember the facts from 20 years ago in the face of evidence to the contrary, you make it impossible for me to keep quiet about it.
It is something I wouldn’t do to Bruce or anyone else. It is unfair, hurtful, and disappoints me on a personal level. I don’t understand his motivation, but I do know that this was a case I needed to clear up publicly.
Bruce Prichard will never know whether the Rock and I had this TWO-PERSON conversation simply because HE WAS NOT THERE. The fact that he calls “Bull****” on a meeting he wasn’t privy too, as well as the evidence that his recollection is inaccurate according to the Rock, and the fact I TOLD BRUCE the story before and he didn’t have a problem with it, says it all.
To be clear, it matters little to me who gets credit for naming The Rock. The issue I have is being called a liar without any evidence to a large audience without any need for substantiation or accountability for inaccuracy. Too many times this outcome goes unchecked and often results in a false narrative getting “out there”about me. Please consider the evidence, and please everyone, let’s not be so casual with the insults and personal attacks. We can all do better.