WWE Hall of Famer and former manager of the Four Horsemen JJ Dillon was a recent guest on JBL’s and Gerald Brisco’s interview series Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw.
Dillon worked as a WWE executive from 1989 until 1997. During the interview, Dillon discussed an event that had a profound impact on the WWF and completely reshaped not just the entire wrestling business, but the entire entertainment industry.
Dillon recalled a time when The Rock came up to him early in his career and told Dillon that he wanted out of WWF. Dillon asked why, and the future 10-time World Champion revealed it was due to his lack of money. Thankfully, Dillon said that was something he was able to help with.
“The Rock was going to get the push of his life, but he couldn’t see, at that point, how big of an opportunity that was going to be for him,” recalled Dillon. “He had everything: he was multiracial, he had the size, he had athletic ability, he had everything. I came up there and he said, ‘Can I talk to you privately?’ and I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You have connections everywhere. So, I’m asking you [to] help me get out of here and find a place for me to go.’
“So, I listened to him, then I said, ‘There’s more to this story than what you’re telling me. You need to trust me and open up to me. Tell me what’s really troubling you.’ And after talking about it a little bit, he reached into his pocket and had a $10 bill and a couple of singles.
“He said, ‘This is all the money I have to my name. I’ve never been in a situation where everybody talks about this great potential that I have. But for me, I have 12 bucks in my pocket, and that’s eating away at me.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m glad that you opened up to me and told me. Because that’s something that can be an easy fix.’”
Dillon says he then sent someone to go get money from the box office. Once he got the money, Dillon went back to The Rock and spoke with him again. Dillon says letting The Rock, who would later leave the WWE to pursue acting, walk away would have been an act of injustice against the wrestling industry.
“So I went, I don’t know where we were, and I said [to someone], ‘Go up to the box office and pull $200 and I’ll sign for it and I’ll work it out,’” remembers Dillon. “And they came to me and gave me $200 in cash. I called The Rock over, and shook his hand, and I palmed him $200 in cash. Then I said, ‘Now you’ve got money in your pocket. You can eat. You’re okay. This is just a little speed bump in the road. I couldn’t do justice to the business by allowing you to not take full advantage of this opportunity because you’re caught in a position where you don’t have any money in your pocket. We’ve all been there.’
“And he [The Rock] gave me a big hug, and that was a turning point for him. Just having that money in his pocket so that he could eat and do what he wanted. I was just in the right place at the right time, and I knew what to do.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.