The Rock finally went on The Joe Rogan Experience this week - and also worked out with Joe, Shane Gillis, Duncan Trussell, and Tony Hinchcliffe, which seems like it'd be a way more interesting watch than the podcast itself....
....and Dwanye dropped this "bombshell" tidbit that he considered leaving the WWF for Japanese MMA promotion PRIDE back in 1997. He claims that he was making $150,000/year (wrestling 235 days/year) - and when he talked to Ken Shamrock and Mark Kerr and found out how much PRIDE was paying per fight, he seriously considered making the jump.
Johnson said he didn't think he would go over to Japan and start winning fights, necessarily, but viewed it as a very profitable endeavor for one night of work - especially feeling that he wasn't where he wanted to be in the WWF.
Do I believe this story? No, not really.
I wanna say "Not one bit!" - but I guess I believe The Rock once thought "I wonder if I could make more money doing MMA" in passing and then never seriously followed up on that thought. It's just a classic pro wrestler lie - like Hulk Hogan claiming he almost joined Metallica....or The Rolling Stones!
Jonathan Snowden, Ken Shamrock's biographer, shut down The Rock's claims right away by pointing out how the timelines Dwayne Johnson spoke about don't line up at all with when PRIDE was active and successful….
It's a good story, though, and you should never let the truth get in the way of one of those!
For example: sometimes I tell people I almost fought Paige VanZant at one point, when the real story is: I was once asked if Barstool would be interested in co-promoting a grappling match between Paige VanZant and myself, and Dave immediately said no because we had just launched Rough N Rowdy. "I almost fought Paige VanZant" is a better story, tho!
Woulda been sick to see The Rock try a People's Elbow in an MMA fight.