Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson did a Q&A session on his official Instagram. In it, he explained why he retired from WWE at age 32, why he returned when he did in 2012 and his final match at WrestleMania 29 against John Cena.
"I retired in from the WWE in 2004 at the age of 32," said The Rock. "And at that time, well here's the why. Why I retired was two reasons. 1) My contract had expired and 2) Which is the most important thing, an agreement that I have with anybody in the world. Any company, any individual, it's always important to me - it means everything to me - to shake that person's hand and look them in the eye."
"In 2004 when my contract expired, I had delivered on my agreement with the WWE and with my long-time mentor and very, very good friend Vince McMahon. We shook hands, that's the way we are."
Rock talked about having his first WWE match in 1996 at Madison Square Garden and his last match at Madison Square Garden in 2004. The Rock explained he started his career at age 25 and ended it at age 32, for seven years. He said seven is a very important number to him and he wanted to retire while he was on top so he could try his hand at acting.
"I called Vince McMahon, we spoke in 2011, I told him I think it's time and he said, 'I think it's time too.' We mapped out a plan to comeback and have a series of matches," explained Rock.
The Rock talked about returning in 2012 at Madison Square Garden and a few months later, the company put the WWE Championship on him. He said to keep in mind they had a big strategy for a series of matches to main event two Wrestlemanias back-to-back. He talked about working things out with John Cena - his opponent - about what they wanted to do.
"We go into WrestleMania and this is the tell-tell sign if this strategy worked," said Rock. "Almost 10 years. I went away, built my career, to comeback and it all boils down to this. WrestleMania in Miami, my hometown, my family was there, we sold out that stadium. I'm blessed to have the main event with John Cena. We had the match, I go over and in wrestling terms go over means I won. Afterwards I go home."
After WrestleMania XXVIII, The Rock explained he got a phone call from Vince McMahon who told him the show broke an all-time record in the history of professional wrestling. They shattered buyrate records and attendance records and Vince was congratulating him.
"The gratification was I knew this was the way I could give back to this business. And I also know the effect of that - brings value to the company - changes the perception of the WWE and also it increases the paychecks of everybody in the locker room and that's the bottomline," said Rock.
He talked about facing John Cena at WrestleMania 29 in MetLife Stadium in front of 80,000 people as WWE Champion, knowing it was going to be his last match and he was going to be closing out his career in New York City. And the way he felt was appropriate and respectful.
"And that particular way for a man in my position, the way in particular was the way we did it. I'm laying on my back, I get beat 1, 2, 3," remembered Rock. "I'm looking up at the stars and I'm counting my blessings. And I make John Cena the champion, the company makes him the champion and he goes on the lead the company and be the man."
The Rock explained he tore the top of his quadricep and adductor in the match, tearing the muscle all the way off the bone. He stated he lost all feeling about 10 minutes in the match. He relied on momentum to get him through the match. Rock said he gave his word he was going to finish that match and he was going to finish the match. The Rock said he was at peace knowing that was his last match.
Rock stated he'll never say never about having another match but he'll continue to enjoy his career outside of wrestling and comeback when he can.
You can watch the complete video embedded below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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The risk was two fold/ I retired on top as pro wrestling's #1 draw. And coming from the world of wrestling, the odds were stacked against me of having a Hollywood career that had any kind of long term, substantial global influence and value. After a bewildering 7 year career as a wrestler, I kept my hand shake bond - finished out my contractual obligations and quietly retired. But I knew in heart and in my gut what my WHY was. Once we identify OUR WHY, then our actions have powerful purpose. Almost 10yrs later in 2012, I returned to the industry that's in my blood. I returned to the @wwe to give back. To bring value and impact the bottom line. Proud to say when I returned we, as a team - set all time box office and PPV records that will never be broken. And in 2014, I wrestled my very last match at WrestleMania in New York at a sold out Met Life Stadium. My wrestling career ended the only way I was willing — flat on my back, getting beat 1, 2, 3, looking up at the stars and being grateful for my blessings. I went out the right way. The respectful way. I retired from wrestling in 2013. Grateful to the bone. And on my shield??