1997, I was 25yrs old, the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history and performing in #WrestleMania13.
It would become one of the most defining moments of my life. Not because it was my first WrestleMania I had the privilege to be a part of, but because I was boo’d out of the building. Literally boo’s from 20,000 people that screamed “Get the f*ck outta here”. And when you’re supposed to be a good guy or “babyface” in wrestling speak – getting boo’d is the worst thing that can ever happen. They boo’d me because I wasn’t being real. I was told by the company how to act, how to respond to fans and the worst part of all.. I was told what to say and what not to say.
Not long after this match, I lost the title and was eventually sent home for months to recuperate from an injury – it didn’t really matter anyway because I wasn’t drawing the company any money nor did the fans care I was gone.
A week before I was scheduled to return to the WWE, I got a call from Vince who said “How do feel about turning heel?” (which means becoming a bad guy). I said “Great, but I have one request… give me 2 minutes on the microphone on live TV and let me be myself. Be real and authentic. I gotta be me”. Vince said “You got it”. The following week I cut a promo that was from the heart. Real and authentic.
6 months later I was the hottest heel in the company.
Even though I hated being boo’d out of the building at WrestleMania 13, I learned one of the greatest life lessons that still serves me today. Be real. Be authentic. Be me.
Truly my honor to perform this Sunday at #WrestleMania32 for the WWE Universe.. as me. #TheRock #DwayneJohnson #BigBrownBaldTattooedPuppyLover #SlightlyElectrifyingAndOneHandsomeSumb—h