Earlier this year, the
First Union Center in Philadelphia was taken over by the World Wrestling Federation. Superstar
wrestler The Rock is known for giving wrestlers rock bottoms and insulting them on the microphone.
Behind the scenes, though, Duane Johnson, the man behind the Rock, is caring and polite. After
making an appearance with three people from the Make A Wish Foundation, it was my turn to be with
the Rock. While interviewing him, I learned that he isn't just a famous wrestler but also a caring
and special person.
Rock, you had a great football
career with the Miami Hurricanes. If you had to choose between playing football or wrestling for
the World Wrestling Federation, what would you choose?
believe that everything happens for a reason. To be honest with you, I wouldn't change a thing. It
was a great learning experience, as was my time at the University of Miami. The professional career
I had in the CFL (Canadian Football League) was also a great learning experience. Those
were chapters and steps in my life that had to be taken. I wouldn't change
You debuted in the World Wrestling Federation at
Survivor Series 1996. What were you feeling that night?
That night I
was in Madison Square Garden, the mecca of all arenas. With all the history of the Garden, not only
the World Wrestling Federation but also all the entertainment and sports events held there, it was
an experience I'll always remember. My father wrestled there, my grandfather wrestled there. I
wasn't nervous, but I was really excited. I was full of adrenaline. It was a great night, one I
will never forget.
How do you prepare for a match,
both mentally and physically?
Mentally, I try to think about the
crowd. In every city, there is a totally different crowd. The crowds here in Philadelphia are
certainly different from those in Dallas, Los Angeles, or Chicago. I put a lot of trust in my
colleagues, as they put a lot of trust in me to protect me and for me to protect them in the best
In terms of physically, I try to maintain a well-balanced day. I
will workout and get a lot of my business done. Also, eating right is important. Physically, I'm
fortunate that what we do is theatrical and we know what's going to happen. It's not like
a prizefight. It's more than just a boxing fight. We have the ability to go out there and hold
30, 000 people in the palm of our hands. We take them on an emotional roller coaster. At the end of
the night the people are thoroughly entertained.
entire wrestling career, what do you consider your greatest match?
can't just pick one match as my greatest. I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with
several wrestlers. HHH, Kurt Angle, and Chris Benoit are all superstars who I enjoy working with.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is someone I enjoy working with immensely. I have had
a lot of really good matches with Mick Foley. It's not just one particular match;it's many
opponents who bring out a different side of the Rock, as I do for them. Everyone brings a different
quality to the ring, and I capitalize on that.
You have done
many TV appearances, including the MTV Video Music Awards, hosting "Total Request
Live, " and "Saturday Night Live. " What do you consider your greatest
accomplishment outside the squared circle?
Again, it's really hard to
pick my one greatest accomplishment. Financially, the movie deals I signed are an accomplishment.
Personally, whether it's hosting "TRL, " doing the MTV Music Awards, or appearings
on shows like "That Seventies Show, " "Star Trek, " or
"DAG, "all those are what help me get my movie deals.
"Saturday Night Live" opened the eyes of studio executives and a lot of people
in Hollywood. I think professionally it would have to be the movie deals, because that is a career
that I would like to take on. I think getting the Man of The Year Award for the Make A Wish
Foundation is my greatest accomplishment outside the square circle. That was an honor and really
What exactly is a jabroni?
Jabroni can be used in different contexts. It can be slang for a
friend by saying, " That's my boy, that's my jabroni over there. " You can also
say, "That guy's a jabroni, " meaning that he's a nobody, a peon. It is a
derogatory term. I think it has Latin origins. But you can call anyone a jabroni, it's one of those
slang words you can never get in trouble for.
How did you
come up with your trademark line, "It doesn't matter what your name
I collaborate with our writers who work extremely hard.
They do a great job writing really good material. Sometimes things just happen like, "It
doesn't matter" or"Shut your mouth,
Where do you see yourself in ten
In ten years, I hope to still be blessed with the
opportunity to keep pleasing fans, the World Wrestling Federation, and the big screen. In ten years,
hopefully I will still be blessed with my family and close circle
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.