The Rock and Mankind had allot of really good matches. However, the “I Quit” match from 1999 was one of my favourites. For those who don’t know, an “I Quit” match involves one of the wrestlers saying “I Quit” to lose the match. The reason I like the match so much isn’t because it was a spot-fest, but because it was such a good culmination of the story and the wrestlers personalities.
The main thing for a wrestling match is the face/heel dynamic. Here, it is very clear: The Rock is the up and coming heel with the backing of the corporate stable and the boss; Mankind is a plucky underdog wrestler who won the title through grit and determination after being cheated by The Rock and given a disadvantage (Mankind was in a match earlier in the night where the Rock interfered to beat up Mankind). As the match started, they fell into these face/heel. The Rock tried to cheap shot Mankind before the bell, but Mankind gained the upper hand.
This continued throughout the match. When The Rock started to gain some ascendency, he trash-talked the commentators allowing Mankind to gain the upper hand again. Whenever he was asked what he wanted to do, he had a smart response as opposed to Mankind’s more straightforward responses. The Rock was a cocky entertainer, but he was also a heel and this continued until the end of the match. This is when Mankind was handcuffed and Rock beat him with a chair, without even bothering to ask Mankind to quit.
And the Rock cheated to win. The hook of the match was if Mankind would quit, something fans never pictured him doing. His character was a deranged man who took massive bumps, but also the hero of the story. And heroes don’t submit or quit. The commentators did an excellent job of putting over The Rock, Mankind, the odds being stacked against Mankind and the brutality of the match. .
And this is why this is one of my favourite matches. There is allot more I could talk about, but they managed to walk a fine line successfully with still being true to there characters as well as the hero/villain dynamic, despite these seeming to be at odds with each other. It goes to show the talent of the wrestlers involved that, despite Rock being entertaining and Mankind being deranged, it was still clear who was the good and bad guys