The Rock Reveals Pat Patterson Came Up With WWE Name Change In 1997
The Rock considered Patterson a father figure in WWE
The Rock has credited Pat Patterson for coming up with his shortened wrestling name when he turned heel in WWE in 1997.
Debuting in WWE as 'Rocky Maivia' at Survivor Series 1996, the character was presented as a white-meat babyface which the WWE audience did not enjoy, heavily booing the character.
With the fans rejecting the gimmick, Rocky Maivia was repackaged as a heel, changing his name to The Rock and joined the Nation Of Domination in 1997, beginning his ascendancy into the upper echelons of the WWE roster.
The man himself has now revealed that he hated his initial name in WWE but says it was Patterson, who sadly passed away last year, who came up with the idea of shorting it to 'The Rock'.
Speaking during an interview with WIRED’s YouTube channel, The Rock said: "I hated it because the lineage I had gave me the opportunity to at least knock on the door but I wanted my own identity, my own space. So I was very proud to come from who I came from, with my dad and my grandfather, my whole family’s wrestling. I still wanted my own space, so I said I hate it.
"He [Vince McMahon] said, ‘Okay, great, well that’s your name,’ and I went, ‘Okay.’ So I embraced it and I did it, and that name did not stick.
"Eventually, when I became a bad guy, it got truncated down to The Rock. A guy who was my father figure, Pat Patterson, was a mentor of mine in pro wrestling, and I lost him last year when I lost my dad at the same time… I lost my father and my father figure in the same year.
"He said, ‘Why don’t we call you The Rock?’ French guy, tough French accent. And I said, ‘I love it.’ He goes, ‘Okay, you’re The Rock.’ That was it."