The Rock Recalls Meeting His Hero, Actor Talks Working With John Cena And Steve Austin
"When I was a rookie in the WWE, 1996, we were at a big function, and no one knew who I was," Rock said (props to USA Today for the transcription). "One of those things where I had my own nametag, 'Hello, I am Rocky Maivia.' Ali was sitting down, and I said 'I'd love to go over and say hello to him,' so I went over to him and introduced myself. As I was pulling away he kinda pulled me back in and he whispered 'can you rumble?' I said 'yeah, I think I canů'
"Cut to 1998, I started calling myself The People's Champion in honor of him. When I was wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky, his family came to watch me wrestle, and I talked to his wife and said 'please tell Muhammad it's only out of respect that I call myself that. And I'll stop it right now if he doesn't like it.' She said 'oh no, he loves it. He wants you to call yourself that.'"
"John Cena punched me in the face, and I punched 'Stone Cold' [Steve Austin] in the face," Bennett joked. He also recalled getting the role in The Condemned.
"The funny thing was I was painting a wall in my sister's house, and my nephews were playing the WWE video game," he said. "They were actually playing as 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin at the time on the screen. I was watching it. Then I got a phone call saying I was given the part to play alongside 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin in 'The Condemned'. So I tell my nephews I just got casted to be in a movie with that guy. They come back with, 'No you didn't uncle.' It's funny."