Jim Ross recalled meeting The Rock in his rookie years and the sky-high contract that he was offered by WWE.
The ‘Voice of pro wrestling’ Jim Ross recently spoke on the GrillingJR podcast about the birth and evolution of a star who went ahead and took the world of pro wrestling by the storm. The Rock began his career as an amateur footballer but later gravitated toward pro wrestling as it was the family’s tradition.
In his rookie years, the Rock was offered a huge contract by the WWE though, he didn’t have much success during the inception of his career.
The Rock’s gimmick as ‘Rocky’ was something that the fans did not want to have any part of. His claim to fame was the gimmick he is well-known for which is ‘The Brahma Bull’. In the world of pro wrestling, to have the superior genetics of an athlete is not enough. If the fans don’t find them entertaining, their career never takes off.
JR on offering Rock the highest rookie contract:
JR in his podcast said:
“I paid Rock the highest rookie contract we’d ever done. Six figures plus, and most of those guys are, you know, weren’t making that kind of money. We pay what the market will bear and the issue is that we didn’t want to take any chances of being silly with the money, and as much as with an insulting offer, you know, we’re going to pay a boot chip guy field hand wages and, uh, so that’s kind of where that started.”
The beginning stages of a 3rd generation performer’s rise to fame and transition from an unremarkable babyface to a red-hot heel.#GrillingJR: THE ROCK 1996-1997 is available NOW! Get ad-free access exclusively on https://t.co/uzd5DsOY1h@JRsBBQ @TheRock pic.twitter.com/SUOCx9Ab4d
— GrillingJR (@JrGrilling) May 5, 2022
The money invested in The Rock brought WWE more success. The Rock went on to became a megastar winning the WWE championship title multiple times.
The Rock became ‘The People’s Champ’ and his career in pro wrestling went through the roof.
JR talks about the first exchange with The Rock
To hunt for new talents isn’t easy for a wrestling promotion. A lot of work and money goes into the development of the character of the wrestler.
“Well, Pat Patterson was a great friend of Rocky’s grandfather and dad. So, Patterson had his eye clued in about it when the football ventures didn’t succeed for Rock. Pro wrestling was another road he could take, which he did and succeeded amazingly well as we’ve discussed. Patterson was at the forefront of putting Rock’s name on the radar. It was my job to go to Florida to meet with him and talk to him and negotiate our first contract.”
The Rock later rose to fame in Hollywood and to this day is one among the highest-paid actors in the world.
As for JR, he’d been the voice of Monday Night Raw for many years until he jumped ships to join AEW.