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Meeting your hero as a kid is a memorable moment that most—if not all—carry with them for the rest of their lives. Even for a child who turns out to be one of the biggest action stars in the world, the same holds true.
While promoting his new movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reminisced about meeting WWE great Hulk Hogan back in the 1980s. Just a kid at the time, Johnson—the son of WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson—was fortunate enough to not only catch Hogan’s headband during a match at Madison Square Garden, but also met “The Hulkster” that same night backstage in the dressing room. The meeting didn’t go exactly as the young Johnson had expected, however.
Here’s how “The Rock” recalled the experience:
This is an amazing story!
When I interviewed @TheRock for JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, I brought him my original JUMANJI ticket from when I saw it in January of 1996.
— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) November 30, 2017
While it can’t be confirmed for certain, it’s likely that this was the actual match during which Hogan flung his headband in the direction of the wide-eyed youngster who would eventually battle him in the squared circle nearly two decades later.
The Hogan-dressing-room situation wasn’t the only awkward encounter Johnson experienced prior to his worldwide stardom. He also had a memorable run-in with the late comedian and star of the original Jumanji film, Robin Williams—an actor whom “The Rock” admitted to admiring a great deal, and had hoped to meet in person.
That scenario eventually took place, as Johnson found himself in the same room as Williams at an event in Las Vegas. However, as “The People’s Champion” recalls during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, it was “a disaster”.
After finally mustering up the nerve, Johnson approached the comedic genius to introduce himself. However, the words didn’t come out quite as he’d planned. “Hey, I just want to say, you are my biggest fan,” Johnson says he told Williams.
The WWE superstar manned up to his verbal miscue and tried one more time. “I was like, ‘Ah, s—! I meant the opposite!’” Johnson recalled. “And he just laughed and said, ‘It’s so good to meet you,’ and gave me a big hug. So that was it. I made an idiot out of myself when I first met Robin.”
It just goes to show that even the biggest, baddest, most confident of men make fools of themselves sometimes.