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Audiences became increasingly hostile toward Maivia, with chants of "Die, Rocky, die! As The Rock, he insulted the audience in his promos as well as WWF television interviewers, once calling Kevin Kelly an "ugly hermaphrodite".The next night on Raw Is War, Austin was ordered by Mr.The Rock's entertaining promos and ensuing popularity led to a face turn, in which he called himself "The People's Champion". Mc Mahon, who said he had "a problem with the people" and would thus target "The People's Champion".A double turn occurred at Survivor Series, when The Rock defeated Mc Mahon's associate, Mankind, in the finals of the "Deadly Game" tournament On December 13, 1998 at the pay-per-view named for him, Rock Bottom: In Your House, The Rock had a rematch with Mankind for the WWF Championship.At King of the Ring, The Rock defeated Dan Severn in the semi-final match and lost to rival Ken Shamrock in the final.
Johnson graduated from Miami in 1995 with a Bachelor of General Studies degree in criminology and physiology.The Rock continued to feud with Mankind over the WWF Championship, which was traded back and forth between them.First, in the main event of the January 4, 1999 episode of Raw Is War, Mankind defeated The Rock after interference from Stone Cold Steve Austin.He defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a title defense on March 31 episode of Raw is War.
On April 20 at In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, he lost to Savio Vega by countout, retaining the title for the final time. During this time, he refused to acknowledge the Rocky Maivia name, instead referring to himself in the third person as The Rock, though he would still be billed as Rocky "The Rock" Maivia until 1998.
He received additional training from Tom Prichard, alongside Achim Albrecht and Mark Henry.