23 Weird Things You Didn't Know About The Rock
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a force of nature. The 6'5", 260lb behemoth has laid the smackdown on every facet of popular culture -- pro wrestling, movies, music, television, comedy, Sexiest Man Alive -- and demolished them, remaking each industry in his own hulking, grinning image. He's also good with Instagram. There's nothing this enormous man can't do.
But despite The Rock's total dominance of multiple entertainment spheres, there's plenty of lesser-known trivia you might not know about America's go-to catchphrase-spouting, eyebrow-arching tough-guy-turned-box-office-destroying-sweetheart. Let's take a closer look:
1. He's a third-generation wrestler
Not only was The Rock's father Rocky Johnson a NWA Georgia Champion and a member of the first black tag team to win the WWF Tag Team Championship, his grandfather Peter Maivia was a NWA Hawaii heavyweight champion. How cool was The Rock's grandpa? He almost kicked James Bond's ass in You Only Live Twice.
2. In high school, his classmates thought he was an undercover cop
3. He lost his virginity when he was 14 to an 18-year-old
In his New York Times bestselling memoir The Rock Says, Johnson described his first sexual encounters in surprisingly candid detail. "I've always been attracted to older women, and they've often reciprocated," he writes in the book. "That's one of the benefits of being an early bloomer, I guess. I lost my virginity to an eighteen year old girl named Maria. Maria was not merely an acquaintance or a conquest. She was, at the time, the love of my life. She was THE ONE." The full story from the book involves a public park and a cop -- really, you should probably just read it yourself.
4. His original wrestling name was Flex Kavana
After a successful college career as a football player and a short stint in the Canadian Football Leage in 1995, Johnson made his wrestling debut with this really uncool nickname. It's hard to picture the name Flex Kavana on a giant Fast And Furious poster.
5. He picked up the word "jabroni" from the Iron Sheik
Sometimes it feels like The Rock is speaking his own language, but one of his favorite words, "jabroni," actually comes from another wrestling legend. "The Iron Sheik was famous for saying the word constantly backstage," Johnson told Esquire last year. "Jabroni, jabroni, jabroni. Around 1998, I thought, Why can't I say it on TV? So I started saying it publicly, but the Iron Sheik was known for it."
6. He played his father on an episode of That '70s Show
Johnson didn't really have to stretch very much as a thespian to play his father in an early episode of That '70s Show, but he did hold his own against Red Foreman. I like to think of Kurtwood Smith as the thinking man's Vin Diesel.
7. He eats seven meals a day
In the time it takes you to finish reading this article, The Rock will probably eat one of his many daily meals. It probably had cod in it.
8. He wrestled a match in an empty arena during the Super Bowl
Great pro wrestling matches feed off the energy of the crowd -- so what happens when you wrestle in an empty arena? Well, just watch this match-up between The Rock and Mick Foley's Mankind character, which took place on Halftime Heat, a special that aired during the halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. It's very weird. Turns out crowds are there for a reason.
9. He helped Martha Stewart make a cookie cake
The Rock has been a tag team champion in the WWE many times, so it's not surprising that he makes a perfect partner for Martha Stewart in this surreal clip from her daytime show. The pair spend the beginning of the video going over what The Rock eats every day, and at one point the Rock says, "I usually have one or two steaks a day," which both makes sense and is a little terrifying.
10. He bro'ed out on stage with Bill Gates when the Xbox came out
"The Xbox is everything The Rock is," says The Rock in this very charming piece of video game history. "Cutting edge, powerful, exhilarating, and, like The Rock, it will be the most electrifying thing coming out this year." Sadly, the video does not end with Bill Gates getting the People's Elbow.
11. He laid the smackdown on the Republican Convention in 2000
Back in 2000, The Rock attended both the Democratic and Republican Convention as a representative of the WWF, telling everyone to get out there and vote. But only the Republicans let the Great One give a speech on stage, delivering his signature "If you smell what the Rock is cooking" line and introducing the "honorable Dennis Hastert," who was later indicted and pled guilty in a federal hush money case.
12. He introduced the first XFL game
The Rock cut a pretty hilarious promo before the first game ever played in the XFL, WWE head honcho Vince McMahon's short-lived attempt to take on the NFL. "Six years ago NFL suits decided Los Angeles shouldn't have a football team," The Rock told the rabid crowd. "Well, The Rock and Los Angeles and the entire country for that matter are sick and tired NFL suits telling us what we want." Would it surprise you if I said The Rock's monologue ends with him telling the suits to stick something up their asses?
13. He recorded a song called "It Doesn't Matter" with Wyclef Jean
He's no Lauryn Hill, but The Rock does provide some funny vocals on this track off Wyclef's The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. Johnson doesn't exactly spit hot fire, but, at the very least, this song is better than the entirety of John Cena's rap career.
14. He was the first two-time athlete host in SNL history
The Rock's appearances on SNL are reliably excellent, but it's easy to forget that when he first hosted in 2000 he was just a wrestling star and not famous for his acting chops. He ended up doing such a great job that he got invited back multiple times, and even Steven Spielberg praised his recent appearance on the show. At this rate, you have to assume that he'll be the first athlete to join the five-timers club.
15. He holds two world records
After briefly appearing as the Scorpion King in 2001's The Mummy Returns, The Rock got his own spin-off movie and landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for his $5.5 million price tag, the highest pay day for a first-time leading man. But what's cooler than having one World Record? Having two. So, the Rock secured his place in history by setting a new record for the most selfies taken in three minutes at the London premiere of San Andreas. What important record will the Rock break next? Most cod eaten in a day, probably.
16. He played a fighting alien on Star Trek: Voyager
The Rock's threat of "You're no bigger than a Tarkanian field mouse" didn't exactly become one of his most beloved catch-phrases.
17. He had male breast reduction surgery
As part of his transition into acting and away from wrestling, The Rock pursued a less bulky look, which included getting plastic surgery to reduce the size of his gargantuan pecs in 2005. Yes, it could've been possible for The Rock to look even bigger than he already does.
18. His ex-wife is his manager
Like his character Hobbs in the Fast and Furious films, loyalty and family are important to The Rock. Johnson got divorced from Dany Garcia in 2007 after 10 years of marriage, but in 2012 the two co-founded 7 Bucks Productions. Also, Garcia re-married a man named Dave Rienzi, who is now Johnson's strength and conditioning coach, according to a 2014 Forbes profile. As Vin Diesel says in Furious Seven: "I don't have friends, I got family."
19. He's a Canadian citizen
No one seems more All-American than The Rock, right? Wrong! Johnson's father was actually born in Canada, and, because of changes to Canada's nationality laws that took place in 2009, The Rock also gained Canadian citizenship, despite the fact that he was born in the good old U.S. of A.
20. He switched agents after playing the tooth fairy
The Rock has been famous for a long time, but it feels like he really took a leap to another tier of stardom in the last few years, right? There's a reason for that. In a Hollywood Reporter profile, the actor discussed his dissatisfaction with where his career was going in 2011, after starring a in a handful of family films like 2010's Tooth Fairy, and how he switched agencies -- leaving CAA to join forces with super-agent Ari Emanuel's team at WME -- and hired a new publicist to kick things into high gear. Sorry, Julie Andrews.
21. He could maybe perform your marriage if you ask really nice
The Rock has a minister's license from the state of California and has married people in the past. It's not impossible. But you'll probably need a higher food budget if the Rock attends your wedding. He likes cod. A lot of cod.
22. He was Tim Burton's second choice to play Willy Wonka
This sounds like a way better movie than the Johnny Depp version we got, right? Just imagine a beefed-up Willy Wonka giving the Rock Bottom to snot-nosed Augustus Gloop.
23. He wears a different cologne for each character
Many actors are known for getting deep into the characters, but The Rock takes things a step further: he smells like his characters. That's right, according to the New York Times, the Rock decides what cologne each of his characters would wear. For his upcoming comedy Central Intelligence with Kevin Hart, he wore Kenzo. For Furious Seven? "Just baby oil, and the makeup artists were instructed not to remove a drop of sweat," says the Times. Think of all the exotic smells the future could hold.
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