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This weekend, the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX will be hosting the highly anticipated WrestleMania 32. WWE fans expect this to be a spectacle unlike any other, loaded with the biggest badasses in the WWE business. And at the center of it all will be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who has been cookin’ up massive fame since first entering the squared-circle as a professional wrestler back in the 90s.
However, the road was not always an easy one for ‘The People’s Champ’. According to Johnson’s recent Instagram post below, he was not universally welcomed during his early wrestling days with the WWE. Here’s what The Rock had to say about his rookie days in the ring—and the Superstar who had his back the whole way.
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ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA.. 1999, #WrestleMania15 – Philly. I'm the hottest heel in the company and the youngest (and brashest) WWE Champion is history. My opponent was the one and only Stone Cold Steve Austin. At that time, Austin was the biggest wrestling box office star in the world and our leader who created and ushered in our now infamous #AttitudeEra. Austin was also an EXTREMELY shrewd and smart business man when it came to his opponents and always had the final say with who he would get in the ring with. Despite many attempts from a few "main event wrestlers" on the roster at that time who complained to Vince McMahon saying "Rock has no business being in the main event at WrestleMania", it was Austin who when I went to him and asked how we should handle the complaints, he responded with the greatest answer I'll never forget, "F*ck those motherf*ckers. We're here to draw and make money and that's exactly what we're gonna do. We draw big money then everyone benefits." The Rock vs Austin feud would go on to become the #1 box office drawing feud in the history of pro wrestling and the WWE. Even though I lost the WWE title (which is considered an honor in our business) to Austin that night in my mind I literally felt like I was king of the world. I even celebrated like a wild man by ordering a big ass pizza to my hotel room. Today, me and the Texas Rattlesnake are good buddies. Love that dude and I'll always be grateful to him for takin' me under his wing, teaching me the business philosophy that I still utilize today of "F*ck them we're here to make money" and making me drink more beer nightly than I've ever had in my life. Happy to share these "behind the curtain" stories with y'all to give you some insight and context to the crazy, complicated and amazing wrestling world that's in my DNA. Again, it's my honor and privilege to ELECTRIFY DALLAS and the #WWEUniverse this SUNDAY at #WrestleMania32. #PeoplesChamp4L *raises a beer Austin style and slowly chugs it Rock style.
“Despite many attempts from a few main event wrestlers on the roster at that time who complained to Vince McMahon saying the Rock has no business being in the main event at WrestleMania, it was Austin who when I went to him and asked how we should handle the complaints, he responded with the greatest answer I’ll never forget, “F*ck those motherf*ckers. We’re here to draw and make money and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do. We draw big money then everyone benefits.” The Rock vs Austin feud would go on to become the #1 box office drawing feud in the history of pro wrestling and the WWE,” says Johnson.
While their on-stage feud was fierce, the two WWE Superstars have remained close friends over the years. “Today, me and the Texas Rattlesnake are good buddies, said ‘The Great One’. “Love that dude and I’ll always be grateful to him for takin’ me under his wing, teaching me the business philosophy that I still utilize today of “F*ck them we’re here to make money” and making me drink more beer nightly than I’ve ever had in my life.”