Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest stars in the world – known for his successes in the professional wrestling and the movie industry.
However, Johnson had a somewhat difficult start to his professional wrestling career…
And things could have taken a different turn. Such as in the form of becoming a fighter for the PRIDE Championship.
Here’s what he had to share in a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience:
1997, I was still going to L.A. and working out. We were crossing all the MMA guys. PRIDE just opened up in Japan.
I started seeing all these MMA guys going over to PRIDE…
At that time, I was making $150,000 wrestling 235 days a year. Do the math on that and how much you’re making per match.
The Rock started hesitating:
We start hearing: “These guys in PRIDE are making $250,000, $350,000, $500,000.”
I thought then: “F*ck, I don’t think I’m going to make it in WWE. People are booing me out of the arenas. I can’t be myself. They’re telling me to f*cking smile, I don’t want to f*cking smile. That’s not who I am.”
I start talking to Ken Shamrock, I start talking with Mark Kerr: ‘Tell me about PRIDE.”
I have this idea in my head: “Maybe I should train in MMA, go to PRIDE, and make real money and I don’t have to smile.”
He explained why:
I’m going to get f*cked up, knock one of my lungs loose, but if I find the right coach and train…
I have this whole thing in my head.
I’m talking to my wife at the time: “I think this is the way to go. I can make real money while these fans are booing me for $150 grand.”
Luckily enough for WWE fans around the world, things turned out more than well for The Rock.
The Rock’s Return LAYETH THE #Smackdown on Friday Night!
P2+: 2.445M – Up 24% vs. last week
18-49: 834K – Up 36% vs. last week & No. 1 on Broadcast TVpic.twitter.com/QbBMIt0krk
— Stephanie Hypes (@StephanieHypes) September 16, 2023