Dwayne Johnson considered joining MMA in 1997 amid WWE uncertainties

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the most recognizable and successful actors in the world today. But his journey to stardom began in the 1990s when he was a professional wrestler known as Rocky Maivia. In 1997, Johnson reinvented himself as “The Rock”. The Rock quickly became one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWF.

He was known for his charismatic persona, his catchphrases (“Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?”), and his signature eyebrow raise. In a recent interview Dwayne Johnson revealed that he had other plans before turning heel run in WWE in 1997

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson contemplated MMA move amid early WWE career

Johnson’s popularity soared as he captured the WWF Championship multiple times, engaging in memorable feuds with wrestling legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. His electrifying promos, in-ring skills, and undeniable charisma made him a must-see attraction, captivating audiences worldwide.

In 2004, Johnson decided to pursue a full-time career in acting, leaving the WWF behind. His transition to Hollywood was nothing short of remarkable. He quickly landed leading roles in major motion pictures, showcasing his acting prowess and versatility.

In a recent podcast of Joe Rogan Experience The Rock says he pondered a career in MMA in 1997 before he turned heel in WWE. He clearly had a motive to move into the MMA fighting because of money he would get for a single match, which is greater than the whole year’s income in WWE

He said, “In 1997, I was still traveling to Los Angeles to work out and train. We were encountering MMA fighters on a regular basis, and PRIDE had just launched in Japan. I began to notice that many of these MMA fighters were making the switch to PRIDE. At the time, I was earning $150,000 for wrestling 235 days a year.”

When did Dwayne Johnson join WWE?

Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1996. He made his debut on November 4, 1996, on Monday Night Raw as a member of Marc Mero’s entourage. Johnson was initially given the ring name Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather’s ring names. He was a clean-cut face character, heavily pushed from the start despite his wrestling inexperience.

via WWE

In 1997, Johnson reinvented himself as “The Rock,” a cocky and arrogant heel character. This transformation marked a turning point in his career, and he quickly became one of the most popular figures in the WWF. He won the WWF Championship multiple times and engaged in memorable feuds with wrestling legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H.


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