Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has praised The Undertaker for helping his career after ‘a handful of guys’ tried to hold him down in WWE.
The wrestler turned Hollywood heavyweight paid tribute to the Dead Man – whose real name is Mark Calaway – for helping him develop and realise his obvious potential, regardless of what other people were trying to do behind the scenes.
Speaking in WWE Network’s new series Meeting The Undertaker, The Rock said: ‘One of the important things that I wanna say about The Undertaker – this is stuff I’ve never shared, but I do wanna share it because it’s important.
‘When I started to make the move and word started to get around that the office was priming me for a WWE Championship run, there were a handful of guys in the business at that time, they did everything they could to stop that run from happening.
‘Undertaker was one of those guys who was always so steady, telling me “Don’t worry about it, kid. You just got out, you keep doing your thing, you have a hell of a future.” ‘
Dwayne revealed how having ‘Taker there to support him meant a lot, and he praised the iconic superstar’s passion for the pro wrestling world.
‘He would ask me, “You hit 30 yet?” “No, not yet.” “F**k. One day you will, your bones will be sore.”‘ he laughed.
‘I always appreciate that about Mark, because it spoke volumes about his integrity and love for the business. I’ll always be grateful for that.’
Despite backing The Rock, Undertaker wasn’t immediately won over by Dwayne, and he recalled the terrible reaction he revealed when he stepped out at Madison Square Garden as smiling Rocky Maivia.
‘He came into Madison Square Garden, and they’d given him the name of Rocky Maivia. Oh my gosh, it was awful,’ he told Gary Vaynerchuk on YouTube earlier this year.
‘I mean, they handcuffed him right out of the get go, right? I remember watching him, and the Garden [fans], they’re merciless if they don’t like what you’re doing. And man, they just lit him up.’
It wasn’t the best in-ring start for Johnson, and the Dead Man recalls thinking that his career was over before it had really started.
‘I had no clue to how charismatic he was. I was like, “Such a shame, he’s not gonna be here long,” ‘ he said.
However, that soon changed when he joined the Nation of Domination and went onto become The Rock – with the rest being wrestling and Hollywood history.
Undertaker added: ‘And it didn’t take long. Once he got to The Nation of Domination, it had completely flipped. By the time he was at the end of his run with them, I was like, “He’s not gonna be here long.”
You could just tell that he was destined [to move on to better things].’