According to a new interview in Muscle And Fitness magazine, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson really, truly, 100 percent in real life was beefing with John Cena in the run-ups to WrestleMania 28 and 29, the same year he was show-beefing with him in the ring.
“John had said some things in an interview that I took exception to,” The Rock said in the interview. “He felt they were okay, I felt that they weren’t okay.”
Essentially, Cena had called out The Rock — most likely in kayfabe, the industry term meaning keeping in character outside of the ring — for abandoning the WWE to become a Hollywood actor instead.
Of course, Dwayne Johnson, being the, um, Hollywood actor who occasionally returns to the WWE to play The Rock, used that real-life animosity to further his in-ring feud with Cena. In Hollywood, it’s called method acting.
“It got really uncomfortable for a lot of people. And it gets uncomfortable for the fans — that they sense something. But then when it gets uncomfortable for the wrestlers and to the executives and the company, then it’s something special,” Johnson/The Rock/the Marlon Brando of the squared circle said.
The Rock even admitted the duo’s real-life rivalry got so intense that they almost engaged in fisticuffs backstage, which he said ended up fueling an unlikely bond between the two former frenemies.
“[T]hrough all that edge and attitude and bite that we had and nearly coming to blows backstage and one night in the ring — literally we were nose-to-nose, it was any second. And through that in a crazy, weird completely unexplained way, we became great buds,” The Rock said.
Alas, that means even if you listen closely, you probably won’t hear The Rock’s voice joining the cacophony of “Cena sucks!” chants. Today, he’s got nothing but love for the man he used to hate.
“Now looking back, I have nothing but respect for John. He is an animal, in terms of his discipline, in terms of his focus, and I always tell people: You know you’re looking at John, you’re looking at a guy who’s been doing it for over a decade, consistently,” The Rock said, adding that as far as future WWE beef goes, he’s open to more.
“We just have to figure out … what the most ideal matchup would be, and who it would be with,” The Rock said. “Because I always feel like if I go back to the WWE, then it has to be bigger and greater than what I’ve done in the past, and I don’t know what could be bigger in terms of marquee value — in terms of value across the board — and to me it has to surpass what we’ve done.”