Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, during an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” last night, said he’s considering running for President of the United States in 2024 of 2028.
Colbert asked if Johnson takes seriously suggestions that he run for President. “I absolutely do, yes,” he said. “To put it in context, the Washington Post published a story that if I ran, he’d have a legitimate chance at winning.” He said the story gained steam and thought it was a great idea. “At the same time, I’m not delusional at all. I need that thing – oh, experience. Yes.” He laughed and the audience cheered.
He said if ran in 2024 or 2028, he’d have to “go to work” and understand policy.
He talked about his family heritage. He said he is half Samoan, half black. He said half his family came up through the underground railroad and finally settled in Canada and the other half came from Western Samoa.
Colbert also asked about the name “Rocky Maivia.”
Johnson his very first match in WWE was in Madison Square Garden and he was “scared sh–less.” He said in front of New York fans, “they expect a good show,” so things can go well or it could “go terribly sideways.”
“Fortunately, by the end of the match, the whole crowd was chanting ‘Rocky! Rocky!’ and embraced me like a son, and that started my career.” He had a sly grin that might have suggested he wasn’t serious, but the crowd applauded as if to congratulate him for things going so well. He left out the “sucks” part of chants that would soon follow.
He also said as a baby, his nickname was “Dewey,” named after the state of his diaper once.
He spoke about his family’s history in pro wrestling. He told a story about his grandmother. “She was on the larger side,” he said. “Like a lot of Polynesians, we run a typically a little bigger. There’s a joke that most Polynesians are 250 pounds, and the women run a little bigger.” He laughed nervously and said he’s going to get some texts about that.
He said his grandfather never told his grandmother that pro wrestling was choreographed. He said when he started getting beaten up, she jumped into the ring and took her clogs off “and started beating his opponent’s ass in the ring.”
Colbert asked if it’s true that his 16 year old daughter is interested in getting in pro wrestling. Johnson said it’s a tough business because there are no seasons to it. He said she has a passion for it. “I love it,” he said. “I love the idea of her doing it. The wrestling business these days is a lot business than I was there, the Attitude Era, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, things like that. I feel very comfortable with it these days.”
Colbert asked how it was different. Johnson when he started, he had a guarantee of $40 per match. He said Monday nights he’s wrestle at the flea market in Memphis, then Tuesday nights at the fairgrounds, and throughout the week they’d wrestle at used car dealerships and similar places. He said they’d set up rings in parking lots and people buying used cars would watch him wrestle as a bonus. “It was the oddest thing, but at the time, it’s what you did to make money.”
Colbert said one of the hallmarks of Johnson is that he never does anything that isn’t 110 percent because he knows the option if he’s not doing what he’s doing is wrestling in used car lots. Colbert said every kid should wrestle in a used car parking lot even if they plan to become a doctor.
Colbert and Johnson did a shot of tequila together while raising their eyebrows. Then Rock sang for him. “I’ve never looked a man directly in the eye when I sang that,” he said. Then he shook Colbert’s hand. When Colbert began to read a plug off a notecard for his new movie, Rock yanked the card out of his hand and said, “To tell with the movie, let’s drink!” But then they went to the trailer for the new movie anyway.
PWTORCH VIP MEMBERS can listen to my hour-and-a-half 1999 interview with Johnson, the longest insider pro wrestling interview he’s ever done, here:
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PART ONE DETAILS (approx 45 minutes)
-What are his earliest memories of growing up in a wrestling family?
-Why did his family discouraged him from entering pro wrestling?
-Did he find it a burden to protect the nature of pro wrestling at a time when it was portrayed as “real”?
-What was the exact amount of money the WWF offered him in his first contract?
-What did he have to do to earn his first WWF contract after having never wrestled outside of a WWF ring before his tryout?
-Which main event wrestlers was the first to help him when he arrived in the WWF? He details three in particular who really stepped up to help him even if it meant he might rise to threaten their top spots.
-What did he concentrate early on that helped him rise to the stature he did as a main eventer so early in his career?
-What “drove him up the wall” that Vince Russo and others instructed him to do when he first arrived in WWE?
-Why does he think fans booed him when he first arrived? Interesting insight into how he dealt with that.
-The memory from his early years in pro wrestling that most stand out to him when he felt he had arrived.
-When did he realize that he was going to be better off as a babyface rather than a heel?
-How much of a role did fans have in the direction of his career?
-Did he think he was booked properly, or did too many early turns hinder him at all?
-Did he speak out to Vince Russo and Vince McMahon when he felt one heel turn was counter-productive? How does he feel in retrospective?
-How was working with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at his peak both a blessing and a curse?
-Did he hear the criticism that as a heel he played to the crowd too much and undercut his effectiveness as a heel? He discusses the challenge of “being entertaining” while also getting “heel heat.”
-He walks through some of his catch phrases really igniting his career.
-As an admirer of Bret Hart and Vince McMahon, what is his stand on the Survivor Series 1997 “screwjob” controversy?
-He talks about the early movie offers he was already receiving and how his rapid rise and success was overwhelming?
-He talks about a promise he made to himself as his career took off that he’d remain grounded. He details who is in charge of helping him keep that promise.
-What is the best and worst part about being The Rock, as a person and a celebrity?
PART TWO DETAILS (approx. another 45 minutes)
-He responds to Juventud Guerrera imitating him on WCW and is it true he took exception to it?
-Which WWF wrestler does he go off on as being “petty” and “insecure” and an “idiot with a big mouth” and why?
-Meeting Goldberg for the first time after both had risen to main event status quickly in competing promotions during the late-’90s boom period.
-How much of a role did Vince Russo play in the Attitude Era and Rock’s rise, and does Russo exaggerate his role in that?
-Does the content of pro wrestling shows concern him?
-And much more…
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