Former WWE Champion Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson says the biggest rush he's ever experienced came early on in his WWE career.
Rock appeared on the "One Glass with Glazer" Instagram Live show earlier this week, to talk with FOX Sports' NFL insider Jay Glazer. As seen in the clip below, Rock was asked what is the biggest rush he's ever had. He recalled how WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon stressed that he needed to really put on a smile for the WWE fans when he went out. He also noted that Vince is a really good friend of his, and a mentor in the world of business.
Despite the flashy smile for the WWE fans, they knew Rock wasn't being authentic.
"Well, there's a few," Rock said. "That's really hard. I've been a lucky son of a b---h to have a career, the multiple careers, that I've been lucky to have. I've been really fortunate, brother. The moment I was able to speak my mind and be authentic in the WWE. So what I mean by that is when I first started in the WWE, I was this good guy babyface, fresh out of University of Miami. You know, I was told by Vince McMahon, who was a very close friend of mine still today, is a mentor in the world of business, he would tell me, 'You gotta go out there, you gotta smile, you just gotta... you just gotta smile!'
"This was my rookie year, so you can imagine. Smile! So, I said OK, and again, you're pissing vinegar... you're ready to get out there and bang, man. And he said, 'I want you to be... you're grateful that you're here, so you gotta smile.' And then I would go out and I would h ear these fans, they just knew that I wasn't being authentic. You know, and they would be like... 'You f--king suck!' And I would smile, 'Hey, thank you, man! I know I do, right?' I gotta smile."
Rock joined The Nation of Domination on the August 11, 1997 RAW, and then cut his first infamous "Rock" promo on the August 18 episode in Atlantic City. Rock told Glazer about how McMahon granted him that time on the microphone that night.
"So, finally when the decision was to become a bad guy, to become a heel, I asked Vince, 'If [you] can just give me two minutes on the microphone, on a live RAW, I just want to speak my mind,'" Rock recalled. "There was a faction at that time, called The Nation of Domination, led by [WWE Hall of Famer] Ron Simmons, who was one of the greatest Florida State football players of all-time. And Vince McMahon said, 'OK, you got two minutes.' I said, 'Alright.' I grabbed the microphone on live TV, which that's a lot, man, because at that time there was just two hours of RAW live, that's it."
Rock continued, "Pass me the ball, that was it. Just give me one shot. If I suck, and by the way, I had to tell him that. I said, 'Listen, I understand that we only have two hours of live television.' And this show is kicking ass, our ratings were great at that time. And I said, 'Just give me two minutes, one minute, and if I suck you'll never give me the microphone again.' He said, 'OK.'
"I grabbed that microphone, Jay, and I said, you know, this is the very first night I turned bad, and I said, 'I may be a lot of things, but sucks isn't one of them.' And I said, 'Me joining The Nation is not a black thing, it's not a white thing, it's a respect thing, and I'm gonna earn it every night by kicking that ass.' You know, and I start talking a little s--t, but it was in that moment, that you could feel the crowd of 15,000 or 20,000 people go, 'That's real. What he just said, he just spoke from the heart.' And that led to the birth, if you will, of The Rock. So that's a very long answer and I appreciate you asking that."
Below is a clip from Rock's interview with Glazer:
The moments when we take that chance is when true greatness begins.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 25, 2020
You can't live your dreams if you don't swing for them. Take it from @therock, who, as a rookie in the @wwe, took the chance to ask Vince McMahon if he could get in a 2-minute speech..
The rest is history… pic.twitter.com/HaJPnRfsTZ