Mythical Proportions: An Exclusive Interview with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Already a legend, we watch the man continue to evolve every year. We found out what keeps him going, and how he pushed even harder for Hercules.

dwayne johnson hercules interview

Our September issue, on newsstands now, features Dwayne Johnson for the sixth time ever—this time as Hercules. The cover feature tells the story of how Dwayne has cemented his legacy by taking every failure in his life and turning it into a victory. But our interview with him was so extensive, that even with 12 pages, there wasn't nearly enough room to fit it all into the magazine. In this bonus Q&A, he goes into greater detail about filming Hercules, the catastrophic injury that nearly derailed the film, his relationship with John Cena, a potential return to WWE, how he believes he compares to Arnold, his thoughts on entering politics, Expendables 4, and much more. Read on as The Rock takes our questions, shines 'em up, and turns 'em sideways. Now we can all say, "FINALLY! The Rock has come back to… Muscle & Fitness."

Muscle & Fitness: When you get the role of Hercules, how did you come to decide on the training program that you used for it? I see you releasing it in bits and pieces, and it all looks very straightforward–very old school. I was curious to see because I know that when some guys get cast in a period piece like this, they say, ‘Well, he existed in this time before dumbbells and barbells so I should drag sleds around and carry big rocks and almost treat it like the training montage from Rocky IV,’ so I’m curious why you decided to go the route you did.

Dwayne "The Rock: Johnson: In getting the role of Hercules, the idea, the strategy was I wanted to hopefully create a look that had never been seen before on-screen by any actor.

M&F: Including Arnold as Conan?

DJ: Actually, yes. And I mean that with all due respect by the way. When you look at some of the guys in the past, especially the guys who come from bodybuilding backgrounds, athletic backgrounds—like Arnold, like Steve Reeves, like Reg Park and certainly like Stallone—men who had a bodybuilding history or incorporated bodybuilding workouts, they looked incredible. So I mean that with all due respect to those guys, because a lot of those guys are my friends, like Arnold and Stallone for example.

For the record, that Rocky IV training montage is one of the greatest of all time. When Drago clean and jerked 485 pounds, I took my lanky broke ass right to the Boys Club in Honolulu to train like an animal.

I wanted to create an experienced, grainy, deep muscle that can only come after decades and decades of training hard. And certainly Arnold had put in time when he had done Conan and he set the bar very high with what he did with that character and made it iconic. I felt that the difference was, the role of Hercules came around for me at a great time where everything kind of came together. And what I mean by that is: being 40, having that experienced, aged muscle. Again, that can only come with time.

dwayne johnson hercules

When you see these guys stepping on the Olympia stage, many of them are into their 40s, when your muscles have matured nicely; you’ve taken care of them and you’ve trained properly and trained hard over the years. So it was trying to accomplish that type of body that was grainy, that was vascular, that was survived and had that type of look to it. It required a lot of prep—a longer prep than I’m typically used to. We started the prep about 6-8 months about. I knew we’d start shooting in June and we started the prep in November and ran it all the way through.

M&F: I know what you mean. Ronnie Coleman at his eighth Olympia win versus Ronnie at his first Olympia win. They’re two totally different people.

DJ: Exactly. So for example, me in 2000 in the WWE when I first made Scorpion King, the body type was different, my conditioning was different, the muscle maturity was different. That was me at 29, compared to today. And now after watching the movie and watching the movie back, I’m happy to say that we accomplished the look that I wanted for Hercules. Whether it’s the look that you’ve never seen before on-screen, we can debate all that. Over a good glass of tequila, we could debate all night.

M&F: Right before you start filming, you have the injury sustained in the match with Cena at WrestleMania 29. How did that set you back in terms of your filming schedule?

DJ: Any athlete or any actor who’s preparing for a long time to step on a stage or step on a field or step on a movie set, who suffers an injury right before you’re getting ready to perform or to execute–it is a massive challenge that’s thrown your way that you didn’t expect. I wound up tearing my rectus tendon from my pelvis I also tore my adductor from my pelvis, then had a triple hernia as well.

The match was scheduled to go approximately 50 minutes and about minute 25, is when I tore my rectus. I asked the referee at that time how much time do we have left, and he said, ‘Well we’ve got about another 25 minutes. Are you okay?’ And I said ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ Which I knew I wasn’t, but I knew when I stood up, as long as I could put a little pressure on one leg and kind of move the other one around… You know when you lose your rectus tendon–that’s a tough tendon to lose because you can’t push off of it and you don’t have a lot of power in it. So I think what happened was because I had to continue another 25 minutes on that. As you know, when something like that happens, all the surrounding muscles start to weaken. I didn’t know what the extent of the injury was until the very next day. I flew home to Miami and went to see my doctors at the University of Miami.

M&F: So you elected to rehab instead of doing surgery, which would have put you out for a year.

DJ: I wasn’t going to postpone the movie a year, because then what happens is, you lose the great team you assembled from the project. And I got to tell you buddy, everybody we assembled, we had the greatest filmmakers on the planet working on Hercules. They saw its value they saw its potential, they knew that we wanted to make a movie that redefined the iconic legend so we had the best filmmakers, many of them Oscar winners—Oscar-nominated in all of their departments. And if you push it a year, the likelihood of getting that team back is very slim. So I started my training program right away, which was rehab and doing the best as I could, and a week later there was some swelling in my groin area, kind of near the top of my quad. So there was, what seemed to be almost like half a sausage swelling by my leg, but it was an odd ball-like swelling. So I called the doctor and he said he thought it was some coagulating and he said ‘Eh, come in.’ This is a week before I’m supposed to go to Budapest. So I dropped trou, and he looks and he’s like, ‘Wow, that’s a big hernia.’ [Laughs]

So that was on a Friday, so I scheduled the surgery for a Monday. I made the call to the studio and we just pushed the movie by two weeks. It cost exactly two million dollars, and then I had the surgery and we went in there and he actually repaired three hernias. It forced me home for a good four weeks and the final two weeks I went to Budapest. So I had approximately six months of prep that was going incredible. The diet was coming together, the conditioning, the training. I was getting stronger as I was prepping, by the way, getting leaner, getting to the look I wanted, and I was carrying a full wrestling schedule at that time—WrestleMania and the two pay-per-views prior to that and weekly appearances on RAW.

I was running and gunning at a high speed but everything was moving along nicely. Then boom! Two weeks before I was supposed to go to Budapest, the injury happened at ‘Mania,’ then the emergency hernia surgery, so by the time I stepped on set in Budapest, I’m still working with two torn tendons from the pelvis, and recovering from triple hernia surgery.

There was four weeks that I couldn’t do anything, there was no cardio there was no anything—that helped me tremendously. By the time I got on set, my body bounced back very quickly. By the time we started shooting I had reached a physical peak that I was very happy with. I actually came into Hercules a bit bigger, fuller, and more vascular. It was one of those injuries that had to happen. I’m not glad it did, but I can appreciate it because it forced me to slow down. I got my adrenals back working and I became more balanced.

M&F: I love that you just put your workouts out there for the fans on social media. There was nothing to buy. You just gave it away. That is really cool.

DJ: Oh thank you man, I mean it’s one of those things where, from the beginning, this is why being involved in social media has had such a tremendous impact on me, is deeply connecting me with fans in ways that I never had before. I was connected with fans and I always appreciated the relationship I had with fans, but, through social media, it allowed a deeper connection. So when we’re out there and the trailers for Hercules started coming out, probably the biggest "ask" from the fans was, ‘What kind of training are you doing?’ So I went back, got together with my strength and conditioning coach, and we put those workouts out.

And you know what the best part about those? It’s all basic. Basic training. Basic movement. Basic iron. One of the keys that I was telling the fans: With a basic movement, with old-school movements, you can never go wrong. But the key is always form. Form is everything. Don’t get sloppy with your movements. It’s easier to get sloppy with your movements when you want to throw on weight, for people to see how heavy you go. Well, who gives a fuck? Because at the end of the day, if you’re using poor form, you’re not building muscle, you’re not activating your muscle properly, and you’re risking injury.

M&F: Considering that you have to go back to Steve Reeves and maybe Reg Park to find the last audience that responded in a positive manner to Hercules, there have been a lot of misses with this character. There was Arnold’s Hercules in New York, which is pure comedy at this point, the Lou Ferrigno film in the early 80s that bombed, the Kellan Lutz film earlier this year which bombed as well. Why do you think audiences have not responded positively to Hercules in such a long time and why do you think they will embrace this film?

DJ: It’s funny because all these guys are committed and they all want to make a good movie, and they all trained for it. I think the reason why audiences haven’t responded to versions of Hercules in the past is because that they felt that it wasn’t much different than anything that they’ve seen or known about from the legend of Hercules.

I know the guys who stepped into that role–I know that they were committed to it being a success and committed to pulling off a good performance, but what’s going to make our version of Hercules different is it’s based off a very cool graphic novel [Hercules, the Thracian Wars] that is darker, it’s edgier and what we do that hasn’t been done in the past is we debunk the mythology that has followed Hercules. Not to say that we don’t pay homage and honor to Greek mythology, we do, but our version of Hercules is more based off of the power of believing in yourself, and the power of faith. What we also do is show the world who Hercules was before he became a legend. We don’t completely live in a world of fantasy. And it’s the ideology that once you believe in who you are and who you were born to be, it can be very powerful. You don’t have to be Hercules. That notion extends to everybody.

M&F: On social media, I see you often talking about your humble beginnings–about the eviction, especially. Do you find yourself bringing up those times because you’re trying to encourage fans who might be going through similar circumstances? Or does the act of simply remembering those times help keep you grounded as your star continues to explode?

DJ: It’s twofold. I always keep those moments that were defining for me in my past and challenged me in my past—from getting evicted out of my apartment when I was 14 years old, to being cut from the CFL and only having 7 bucks in my pocket, to bouts with depression—I keep moments like that very close to me because it continues to be great motivators for me. I didn’t have doors of opportunity. I had cracks, and I would do my best and work my ass off just to get in those cracks. I would fight, bite, bleed, scratch. I would do anything to get in those cracks and today, the doors of opportunity are open. They’re bigger. There’s doors, there’s windows, there’s a lot of opportunity. I think keeping those defining moments of my past close to me allows me to operate as if every day in front of me, are just cracks. It helps keep me grounded, and it’s a good reminder of how things work, and I never want to go back to that. When I got evicted at 14 years old was the first time that I started working out.

M&F: Is that how you always dealt with depression? There was never any medication, you just took it all to the gym?

DJ: There was never any medication. It was getting off my ass and being active and getting out and training. Releasing a lot of blood, sweat and respect—that was my medication. I’m a long way from being evicted, but I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget the feeling. I’ll never forget my mom crying and I’ll never forget the thought I had: ‘Well the only thing I can do is just go build my body,’ because the men who were successful that I knew of—Stallone, Arnold, Bruce Willis—they were men of action.

For many years, I was late to the game. I just started using social media in 2010 or 2011, because I didn’t think anybody cared and I thought ‘Well, I’m doing my thing, I’m working my ass off other people are working their asses off too,’ and I didn’t see the value of social media. But then I got into it, and I jumped into it I thought, ‘If I’m going to jump into it, let me do it in a way that feels good and authentic to me and not just sharing, ‘Hey, look at my fuckin’ hamburger I ate today.’

So I just wanted it to have value, so where it’s paid off in great dividend, is being able to share that with people. Because we all get knocked on our ass. We all have that 7 bucks moment. It happens to us daily. And it happened to me. And a lot of times, when it does happen to us, unfortunately, sometimes we don’t have the capacity to see it through, to stand up through that type of adversity. Sometimes when we get our ass kicked and we’re down, sometimes we stay down, and sometimes we get depressed and sometimes we don’t know how to handle it, and sometimes we don’t know what’s going on, and sometimes we feel like it’s not worth going on.

And what do you do? I’ve been there and because I’ve been there I feel like I just want to share it. And it always winds up being the most impactful post, the most engaged tweet, the most retweeted, the most engaged on Facebook or Instagram are sharing those moments, because man, when I was a kid and I was going through it and when I got evicted and I didn’t know what to do, and if I read an article where one of my heroes said, ‘I’ve been down or I’ve been depressed or I’ve been evicted,’ I would’ve just embraced that.

M&F: What’s interesting for me, to hear people talk about you like ‘he used to have problems’ as if fame and fortune have made any inkling of hardship just totally evaporate from your life. Certainly your life is much better now, but every life has challenges. What are some challenges you face now?

DJ: The challenges that I face today are the same challenges we all face. Trying to balance your life between work, family, loved ones, your husband, your wife–boyfriend or girlfriend. If you have kids–balancing that, balancing your work with the time you spend with your kids. The idea of wanting to be a good parent and then the motivation to be a great parent. Whether you’re black, white, any color. Rich, poor, regardless of religion, cousins of culture, we go through those. We have the same challenges. I don’t have the challenge of, ‘Am I going to be evicted? Are we going to make this week’s rent?’ We lived in a place where we paid weekly. You know you’re getting your ass kicked when you pay weekly. I don’t have those challenges anymore, but the key is never to forget ‘em.

M&F: Can you tell us about The Wake Up Call and some of the people you encountered while shooting this?

DJ: Wake up Call is very special. I’m very excited about this. It’s going to be released in December right when the holidays roll around. I’ll give you a couple examples of the people and the families I’ve encountered: So there’s an 18-year-old kid out there, his name is Terrell, and he’s been bounced around from home-to-home. His mom is in prison, he has a crap relationship with his dad. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade. He gets arrested, multiple times, but he’s always had one dream, and that is to be a UFC champion.

What’s interesting about this kid Terrell, is he’s a good kid, great heart, has spurts of working his ass off in MMA–really putting himself through the grind. He’s skilled, but like thousands and thousands of kids in his position, he does not have the best people around him to keep him focused and keep him on the right track. And then he goes off track and he’ll get in trouble.

I know what that’s like. At 14 when I started training, at 14 is when I also started getting arrested—for fighting, theft, all kinds of stupid shit that I shouldn’t have been doing. But, I still found time to go to the Boys Club every afternoon to hit the speed bag, hit the heavy bag, hit the iron. I was building my body because again, it’s that eviction mentality. But, I would still fuck around, get in trouble and get arrested. I got arrested 8 or 9 times I think by the time I was 17.

M&F: I’ve heard about the theft—that you were part of a theft ring. What kind of stuff were you guys after?

DJ: High-end clothes and jewelry. In Waikiki there’s a couple high-end blocks where there’s your Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Armani–jewelry stores–plenty of jewelry stores. There are a lot of tourists that come into Waikiki and there’s a lot of money. A lot of foreign money that comes in, and we were part of a theft ring that would target those groups. We would target the money, we would target the high-end clothes and we would target the jewelry–turn around and sell it, best we could.

I was constantly getting in trouble. So like Terrell, I know what it’s like to have a dream, but still struggle to stay on the right track. So I met up with Terrell and said, ‘Tell me your dream,’ and he says, ‘I just want to be a champion one day.’ I said, ‘Are you doing all the right things to be a champion?’ He said, ‘No sir, I’m not’. I said, ‘At times you do,’ and he goes, ‘I do.’

I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to make you a promise: if you meet me halfway, and put in the work that I ask of you, I’m going to provide you with an opportunity to one day be a champion. But you’ve got to meet me halfway.’ And that’s the spirit of the show, is telling families, a kid like Terrell, you meet me halfway and you put in the work and the only thing I’m going to provide you with is the opportunity. So I tell you what, this kid worked his ass off, I called up Dana White who has been a buddy for a number of years, he flew all the way down to Vegas and we shot it in Florida. He brought Mike Dolce with him, who’s one of the best trainers in MMA–best dieticians in MMA. They put him through the ringer for an entire day and I said to Dana, ‘If you think this kid has any potential, you tell me.’ And he said ‘The kid has potential, and what I also want to do is provide another platform for him.’ 

So they brought him to ATT—America Top Team—which houses all of these incredible UFC Champions, and he puts in the work. Without giving the episode away, he met me halfway and now he has the opportunity to be a champion. This kid went from having nothing, to now having support. He has a place to live, he trains every fucking day like an animal around people who will not let him fail.

M&F: I want to play devil’s advocate for a second and ask you–do you worry about the long-term chances of these people keeping it up after the show is gone? You were able to turn your life around and it was not because a movie star came into your house with a bunch of TV cameras.

DJ: I don’t worry about it, because we have amazing follow-ups. Months later, we’re having follow ups. Today, we’re having follow ups. And these are follow-ups by the way that are not on camera, so we have our producers who are in the field who constantly go and they check in, ‘How are you doing?’

One of them, I basically said, ‘You stopped putting in the work, what the fuck are you doing?’ For example we have a high school football coach who was morbidly obese and not practicing what he preaches. He put in the work, but I said to him, ‘Meet me halfway doesn’t stop when we walk away with the cameras. Meet me halfway will continue and I’m going to come back and you promised me you’re going to lose 100 pounds by the time football season starts.’ We’re in it for the long haul.

M&F: Ballers was picked up for a series by HBO. There’s not much out about it right now on besides the fact that you play a retired athlete named Spencer. Can you tell us any more about the character and what he will be facing in Season One?

DJ: Spencer is a retired NFL football player who had a tremendous career. He’s retired he gets out and he becomes a financial consultant and he also eventually becomes a super agent. So the easiest way for me to tell you is this: take the spirit of Entourage and move it into the sports world. I’ve become the super agent of the sports world. And HBO was looking for a show that fits that paradigm.

I was shooting Pain and Gain with Mark Wahlberg and we started talking about the show and the idea of it. So he came to me with the idea and I said, ‘I love the idea,’ and he said ‘What do you think about you starring in it?’ I said, ‘I’ll star in it and produce it with you,’ and he goes, ‘I love it. Let’s do it.’ So that’s how it all came about. I’m excited about this character because it’s close to my heart in terms of athletics, in terms of football, but it’s also a very cool character and a very cool storyline that is constantly tapped into pop culture. It’s going to be based out of Miami with the NFL and you’re definitely going to like it.

M&F: How many hours a week do you train?

DJ: One hour and 45 minutes of training… Cardio is every day, lifting is 5 days a week.

M&F: Best lifts ever?

DJ: Bench: 455; Squat: 610; Clean and Jerk: 315

M&F: Favorite exercise?

DJ: I don’t have one, I have three. So it’s going to be: flat dumbbell press, dumbbell row for back, and variety of leg positions on the leg press. Legs are my favorite body part to train, period. We created a massive drop set that has me coming in at the end for the fourth and final set at roughly 75-80 reps. It’s an intense and wonderful burn—it'll make you slap a stranger in the gym.

M&F: Your pancake, pizza cheat meal–that was a great photo you posted–how many calories you figure was in that thing?

DJ: I don’t know but I can tell you it’s 12 brownies, 12 pancakes and I can down 2 pizzas. I have no idea what that is.

M&F: That’s your favorite cheat meal ever?

DJ: Favorite cheat meal ever. But the brownies are a combination of brownies and also peanut butter cookies. And you mix ’em up and you bake ’em that way and that’s how they come out peanut butter, fudge brownies. Amazing. So you add more calories there. And also the pizzas, they’re not regular pizzas, they’re double-dough pizzas. You don’t double the cheese you double the dough. You fall into that coma man.

M&F: The co-star that you learned the most from?

DJ: Looking back, would be Michael Clark Duncan. Stepping on set, when we did the Scorpion King together, he was fresh off of his Oscar nod for The Green Mile and could not have been more humble, kind, gentle. And it’s rare because souls like him and men like him come around once in a great while. And this guy, he was digging ditches before he came to Hollywood. And you know, when you have that type of background, it goes back to when you have those defining moments and challenges in life and to achieve what he has achieved is spectacular. And then to live in a space of great humility was very powerful. Especially a man of that size, massive.

He picked me up when we went to L.A. and he said ‘Let’s go to the gym.’ So immediately we drove right to the Mecca—Gold’s Gym Venice.

We get there and he said ‘What are we going to train?’

And I said, ‘How about we train some chest?’

And he’s like, ‘Cool.’

I said, ‘When was the last time you did chest?’

And he said, ‘Yesterday!’

I said, ‘Let’s do something else then.’

And he said ‘Nah brother, let’s do chest!’

And his first set, there was no warm up, it’s like his first set was his working set: 100-pound dumbbells; no shoulder warmup, no triceps warmup, no stretching the pecs, no flye warmup: Flat bench with 100 pounds in each hand. He banged out 10-12 reps and that was the beginning of our chest workout. I’ll never forget that. I’m like, ‘You’re a fuckin animal.’

M&F: Have you measured your biceps recently?

DJ: I did, and the tape measure said, ‘FUCKIN HUGE.’

M&F: Is there more respect; are you friendlier with John Cena now that the two-year feud is over?

DJ: We’re good buddies these days. We’re good buddies these days.

M&F: Do you remember the exact move that tore your tendons?

DJ: Yeah, it was one of the bigger finishing moves that we started hitting on each other at about 25 minutes in. And I didn’t want to tell him, that was the thing.  A lot of the time when the boys, when the other wrestlers get hurt in the ring, you either tell the referee and the referee would tell the other wrestler or you’d whisper to him and I didn’t want to tell John I was hurt because the match was an iconic match and I just wanted the focus to remain on the match. Knowing John the way I know him—very closely by the time we got into that match, by the way—I knew that he’d have that on his mind. The guy is a great guy and would do anything for anybody and would do everything he can to make sure the injury didn’t get worse.

With John, by the way, we went into that two-year feud agreeing that things are edgy between us and things are salty, and let’s carry that into the arena.

M&F: So that was real. You’re telling me that’s real?

DJ: Yes, it was very real.  When I came back, I needed something real to sink my teeth into, as a performer.

M&F: And why was that?

DJ: John had said some things in an interview that I took exception [in essence, that the Rock cared only about being an actor not about wrestling or WWE fans]. He felt they were okay, I felt that they weren’t okay. I also laughed it off years ago but it wasn’t until I came back and realized that the marquee match-up was going to be between he and I that I would take that edge that we had—and let’s use it. So, we don’t have to hang out, we don’t have to be best friends, we won’t be friends at all.

M&F: Well it worked, because I remember watching it and being like, ‘I think these guys really hate each other.’ I just couldn’t separate it and it was really hard to figure out, and it was awesome to watch for that reason.

DJ: It got really uncomfortable for a lot of people. And it gets uncomfortable for the fans–that they sense something. But then when it gets uncomfortable for the wrestlers and to the executives and the company, then it’s something special.

M&F: Did it get there?

DJ: Right away. And it continued to build. And what happens in wrestling is anybody who is in a feud and anybody who is in a match, everybody knows what everybody is going say. In this case, we approached it differently.

I’d say ‘John, here’s what I’m going to say tonight: Go fuck yourself.’  He’d say, ‘Well, here’s going to be my response: Fuck you too.’ I mean, it was like that. And it was palpable for the fans, and it was palpable backstage. And I would never be like that under any other circumstance. I’m collaborative with everyone I work with. And I take a lot of pride in that, and you know something? So is John. He’s a great guy. He’s one of the best guys out there, but here’s what we realized: If we wanted to build the two biggest matchups back-to-back and create something special in Miami and in New York, we’re going to do it this way. And we might fail miserably at it. People might think it’s not real or you run into the challenge of the potential for people to go, ‘It’s so real that it’s not real.’ But in this case it worked out very well and through all that edge and attitude and bite that we had and nearly coming to blows backstage and one night in the ring—literally we were nose-to-nose, it was any second. And through that in a crazy, weird completely unexplained way, we became great buds.

M&F: It’s not that hard to understand because who else would ever be able to understand what you went through besides the other guy?

DJ: Yeah, you know you’re right. And people were calling. Fans felt uncomfortable But I was very happy with how it all went down and what we were able to achieve together. Now looking back, I have nothing but respect for John. He is an animal, in terms of his discipline, in terms of his focus, and I always tell people: You know you’re looking at John, you’re looking at a guy who’s been doing it for over a decade, consistently. No one out there trains harder and more consistent and really understands the value of training and diet. Not only that, but then you move in an exhausting, grueling schedule, like a lot of the WWE Superstars, I have nothing but respect.

M&F: Do you see yourself returning to the ring soon?

DJ: Yeah, I’d love to. We just have to figure out what it could be and what the most ideal matchup would be, and who it would be with. Because I always feel like if I go back to the WWE, then it has to be bigger and greater than what I’ve done in the past, and I don’t know what could be bigger in terms of marquee value—in terms of value across the board—and to me it has to surpass what we’ve done.

M&F: Who is the toughest opponent you’ve ever faced in the ring?

DJ: The toughest men, legitimately toughest men, that I have ever faced in the ring are Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, and my uncle King Tonga. His real name is Tonga Fifita and was long considered one of the toughest men in pro wrestling—trained by my grandfather, who a was also considered one of the toughest men ever in wrestling, trained as a catch wrestler.

Uncle Tonga was legitimately one of the toughest wrestlers ever. He was in the WWE earlier on during the heydays—the 90s with Hulk Hogan, and he was booked to wrestle Hulk Hogan for the WWE title. They were up north, I want to say New York or Pennsylvania. He wrestled that night, and then the next night because again, they wrestled on the road and every night was in a different city but the same match, basically. So after his match he was back to the hotel, sat in the bar, he was eating, drinking, and a fan came up to him. The fan was being rude to him cause he was a bad-guy heel at the time. He was being very rude to him, and my uncle is very soft-spoken so he said quietly, ‘You should leave. You should walk away,’ and the guy put his hands on him.

So my uncle got up and bit his nose off. The guy’s girlfriend was screaming and ran out of there. The guy was screaming—didn’t grab his nose I don’t think—and the best part of the story is he bit his nose off and sat back down and finished his meal. So long so, that enough time passed, he was still there finishing his food when the cops came.

They were like, ‘Wow, he just bit this guy’s nose off. We know this guy is from the WWE,’ and they thought he was going to go crazy on them. They said, ‘Are you Tonga Fifita?’

And he goes, ‘Yeah I’m him, I just bit that guy’s nose off.’ And then he wound up getting into a lot of trouble with the WWE because it was all over the press. He was one of those men.

M&F: In our March issue, Arnold wrote a brief editorial in which he said that he thinks that in addition to how much he admires you because you guys have run parallel paths in your life, he also thinks you’d make a fine politician one day if you ever decided to try your hand at it. Is that something you would ever consider?

DJ: I wouldn’t rule it out. I learned a long time ago to be open to many things– but, where I stand today, I’m more patriotic than I am political–I appreciate politics but I’m not quite too sure if that’s a road I’m willing to go down.

M&F: If they make Expendables 4, will you be in it?

DJ: They are not ready for me to make an Expendables 4.

M&F: Why is that?

DJ: The thing is, if I were ever in Expendables 4, which won’t happen, but hypothetically speaking, if I were ever into it, I wouldn’t be on their side, no, I’m going be hunting those motherfuckers down. That’s what I do. I wouldn’t want to be on the same side as them. It’s more interesting right? I mean think of me… hunting ’em down.