One of the most iconic African Americans in professional wrestling came up with the concept of the Nation of Domination stable, according to former WWE employee Bruce Prichard.
Prichard shared the story on a recent episode of his Something To Wrestle With podcast, noting that WWE Hall of Famer Ernie Ladd conceived the idea.
"Ernie consulted with us," Prichard said on the podcast. "Ernie, from time to time, would come up with some good ideas, good perspective."
On the subject of The Rock, Prichard said that WWE's braintrust had high hopes for the third-generation professional wrestler early on, but he emerged as a heel with The Nation. Prichard went on to say that The Rock talking about himself in the third-person was Jim Ross' idea.
The Nation also became the springboard for The Rock, who made his first heel turn to join the group in 1997 following a return from injury and an initial babyface run that was poorly received by WWE fans, whose collective psyche were changing in the early days of what is now known as the Attitude Era. The Rock was the first third-generation wrestler in WWE history and took his name -- Rocky Maivia -- by combining the names of his father, Rocky Johnson, and grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia.
Prichard said the following about The Rock joining the group:
"Everybody had high hopes for him in the early days by taking his dad's name and his grandfather's name, Rocky Johnson and Peter Maivia, making him Rocky Maivia, and I'll never forget [Jim] Cornette [saying], 'Give him a goddamn f--king name! Rocky Maivia!' And it was when he came back from injury and went into the Nation of Domination and that's where he emerged as a heel. And it started with The Rock stuff, which, by the way, the whole Rock speak, 'The Rock says', talking about himself in [the[ third person, that was something that Jim Ross came up with."
Prichard, who portrayed the Brother Love character for WWE on camera in the late 1980s and early 1990s, also was a longtime producer for the company.