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WWF Wrestler The Rock: Duane Johnson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   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?

I strongly 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 a thing.


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 way possible.

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.


In your entire wrestling career, what do you consider your greatest match?

I 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.

Hosting "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 cool


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 is"?

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, jabroni. "


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

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 of friends.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Mike said...
Oct. 25, 2010 at 9:29 am
Sorry I spelled your name wrong Duane!!!
 
Mike said...
Oct. 25, 2010 at 9:24 am
Dwayne Johnson ; My Daughter and I think you are the greatest, her favorite Movie is the tooth fairy! If you are ever in the Buffalo NY area we would deem it a honor to meet you!!!
 
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