Former WWE Creative Member Dave Lagana talks The Rock and WWE

Here it is:

Today is/was Valentines Day. It’s one of those days that draws a positive or negative reaction. A love/hate type of day. For me, Valentines Day 2002 was the day I was hired by WWE! Yep, I’ve been in the wrestling business officially for nine years today. There I was, sitting in the waiting area of the WWE TV studio after my second interview. My flight back to Los Angeles was in a few hours and a car was on it’s way to get me. I didn’t know if I had the job or what would be next. Stephanie McMahon saw me as she was walking out and said, “oh, I’ll see you in Milwaukee on Sunday.” Yep, it was that quick and this journey began. Ironic that the hobby that became my job would start on Valentine’s Day. And here on 2/14/11, the Rock returned and reminded us all why we love the business so much.

Tonight’s moment reminded of my second night in WWE in February of 2002. The return of Hulk Hogan to WWE TV was met with a confrontation with with The Rock setting up their legendary match at Wrestlemania 18. It was my second day in the company; my duties ranged from shadowing Ed Koksey to doing whatever I was told to do. This included letting Rock know how close we were to the segment being on the air as he prepared. He had worked passionately with Brian Gewirtz (who he always collaberated with and most likely did tonight) to create these epic and memorable promos. Brian doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done over the years. As it’s been said millions of times before, walk a mile in someone’s shoes. That night, it was a home run between Hogan and Rock. We all remember it to this day.

The Rock always impressed me by his work ethic. Remember when debuted, he wasn’t well loved; chants of “Die, Rocky, Die”. Did he quit? Did he hope someone else would help him get to the top? He worked harder. He didn’t wait for anything to be handed to him. He reached the top of the wrestling business faster then anyone else. He had another dream to chase down in Hollywood. And for everyone who said he wouldn’t make it there, I think he’s doing pretty good. And tonight, he came back to the WWE and as he called it… came back to his family.

One thing Rock always seemed to have problems remembering was my name. “Hey Steve, good to see you.” When you’re new at WWE, the rule is they don’t really learn your name for the first few months because people didn’t last. There would be long stretches when The Rock wouldn’t be around and my interactions were usually limited to a hello, handshake and pleasantries. When he would come back, he kept calling me Steve. Was he waiting for me to correct him? Was I walking into some horrible rib? Then in Atlanta in 2003, I was assigned to produce a few shots with him during the Goldberg program. Just as we’re about to go live with the shot, we’re standing there talking and he looks over at me. “You know I know your name is David, right? I’ve known the whole time.” He gave me a wink and a smile as the stage manager counted down the shot. That is Rock’s charisma. He’s got you in the palm of his hand; controlling your emotions while charming you at the same time.

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