Throwback Thursday Thanksgiving Edition: The Rock as Flex Kavana

Bart & FlexThanksgiving has always been one of the biggest days for professional wrestling.  When WWE launched Survivor Series in 1987, it quickly became a huge hit.  Not only has Survivor Series become the 2nd longest reigning pay-per-view to date for WWE, but it has also hosted some of the biggest, most memorable matches and debuts ever.

From the debut of the infamous Gobbley Gooker in 1990, to the Montreal Screwjob of 1997 – Survivor Series has been a staple in die-hard wrestling fans’ Thanksgiving experience for many, many years.

This week’s Throwback Thursday sends us back to August 24, 1996.  It was a mere three months before WWE Survivor Series.  A young, up-start rookie by the name of Flex Kavana had made an impact in the Memphis-based USWA.  He captured the Southern Tag Team Titles with his partner Bart Sawyer in June of 1996 by defeating Brickhouse Brown & Reggie B. Fine.  Now, Flex was ready to put it all on the line for a shot at Jerry “The King” Lawler’s USWA World Championship.

Take a look at this week’s Throwback Thursday clip, which features a young Flex Kavana who has gone on to become not only one of the most famous wrestlers of all time… but one of the biggest action movie stars of all time, as well.

Three months after Flex Kavana lost the loser leaves town match-up against The King, he debuted for WWE at the 1996 Survivor Series under the name of Rocky Maivia.  As we all know by now, Rocky Maivia eventually morphed into the jabroni beating, pie eating, trail blazing, eye brow raising – you get the point – he morphed into the most electrifying man in all of entertainment – The Rock.

Fun Facts:  Also featured in this week’s clip along with The Rock, were several other Memphis Wrestling legends.  Dave Brown conducted the interview portion, while former WWE Women’s Champion Harvey Wippleman refereed the contest.  The King had Scott Bowden in his corner and in Flex’s corner was none other than former Tag Team Champion Bart Sawyer.

“Throwback Thursday” is a weekly Memphis Wrestling post at

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.


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