The Rock has certainly been on a roll lately.
He had his big screen movie debut in The Mummy Returns, had a baby with his wife Dany and returned triumphantly to the WWF, where he proceeded to capture the WCW title.
In Toronto for the WrestleMania X-8 announcement, plus RAW and Smackdown! tapings, The Rock is quick to thank the people themselves for his success. “There’s nothing like a live audience, nothing like performing in front of the WWF,” he said.
Some may say that he’s more over now than he was before he left to make The Scorpion King, a movie based on his character from The Mummy Returns.
“It feels great to come back. I think it’s a testament not only to my hard work, but more importantly it’s a testament to the fans, and their passion and their loyalty, and I really appreciate that,” said The Rock.
The current crew in the WWF, including a bunch of newcomers from ECW and WCW, have been a big part of his return. “I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky. I’ve got a lot of great people around me, and I continue to work hard every night, the guys I’m in the ring with, from a Stone Cold to a Rhyno.”
Would The People’s Champ consider being a full-time movie star? “I’m not too sure, in time we’ll see. As a person, personally and professionally, we look for growth. I definitely look for that.”
It was recently announced that one of Rock’s upcoming projects with Universal Pictures would be Hunting Bronze, which Variety described as a Midnight Run-style action comedy, which casts The Rock as a bounty hunter seeking a wanted man who is also being chased by a vengeful cop.
“Right now Universal is working extremely hard, we’ve got a lot of projects in development right now, talking about doing things with Chris Tucker, talking about one with Ben Stiller, so we’ll just have to see,” Rock explained, turning in his best Hollywood-esque speak.
Back on the wrestling front, The Rock is pretty pumped that WrestleMania X-8 will be in Toronto, a city where his father Rocky Johnson lived for years, and where his uncle Ricky Johnson continue to live.
“I’m really excited obviously, I’ve got a lot of ties here in Canada, especially in Toronto. My dad’s from Toronto, and I can’t wait,” he said.
The Canadian market is as unique as the Canadian fans. “The WWF really is not over-saturated here in Canada. Not that it is in the States, but in the States, we’re in a different state every single week, whereas in Canada, we come once in a while, and every time we come, people come out, they give their passion and give out all that energy and there’s nothing like a live audience, and the people in Toronto know that.”
He believes the Canadian fans are actually louder. “I think they’re more vocal, … because we don’t come here every single week, and when we come it’s such a big event, and WWF Canada does a fantastic job of promoting everything, and the people come out and they show their love and support and their energy.”
— with files from Jon Waldman