The Rock remains the biggest movie star in the world and (one of the) biggest professional wrestlers of all time. Lately he’s been in the news for singing “You’re Welcome” as Maui from Moana (and getting no reaction) as part of a Make A Wish campaign. There’s also some major speculation he’ll have a role in a major sequel. Now Dwayne is back, this time with an amazing Hulk Hogan story from the set of Jumanji.
Film critic Kevin McCarthy interviewed The Rock on the set of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and shared a piece of movie nostalgia. After handing him a ticket stub from the original Jumanji in January 1996, The Rock shared a wild story of his own.
The transcript, if you’re not in a place where you can listen to the Rock’s sonorous voice:
“When Hulk Hogan came into the WWF in 1983 or ’84, I can’t remember … And this was when getting ready to blow up. Vince McMahon said, ‘You’re going to be my guy, I’m giving you the ball. I’m giving you the baton, and I want you to go.’ Hulkamania running wild, right?
“Right there, right when he came in … he was wrestling at Madison Square Garden, and he had a white headband that said ‘HULKSTER.’ Do you remember that? He came in the ring, and I was at Madison Square Garden. I was sitting there front row with my mom, I was watching the matches. And he came out. And I’ll never forget, he was wrestling Paul Orndorff, Mr. Wonderful. And he takes the thing off, and he throws it to the crowd. And I caught it. And it was a big nerd-out moment. … It was amazing.
“My dad was wrestling on the card that night … I was so happy that I caught this thing from Hulk Hogan. I go in the back of the dressing room when the matches were over. I go to my dad and I said, ‘Look. I caught Hulk Hogan’s headband.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. That’s awesome,’ you know”
‘Take it home.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay.’
“But then Hulk Hogan was right over there taking off his wrestling boots, getting ready to shower. And I’m like damn, I want to go over and just say hello to him. So I went over to him, and I was like, ‘Mr. Hogan … I caught your headband.’ And he goes, ‘Oh man! That was my last one! I didn’t want to throw it out! Thank you so much! … Thanks man!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. You’re welcome, Hulk.’ …
“He did [take it back], but he didn’t know how bad I wanted it. But here’s how cool Hulk Hogan was. Two or three weeks later, he had thousands [of headbands] made. Went to my dad, he goes, ‘Hey, I signed this for your son. He gave me my only one back, and I needed that one, as one to make a thousand other copies. Give this back. Give this to him.’
“And I have one of those. Isn’t that the coolest thing. So Hogan, if you’re watching, I appreciate it, brother. I still have it.”
I’m not sure what’s weirder, that Kevin McCarthy kept that movie stub for 20-plus years or that there was a payoff to him keeping the movie stub for 20-plus years. Regardless, this is a very sweet story about a very interesting exchange, one that you can bet the WWE video archive squad spent an entire summer or two trying to track down.
And Hogan appreciates the story, too!
If this pattern holds true, it would mean that John Cena caught something from The Rock at one point, and then whoever has caught something from John Cena is the next big thing. Something get this guy to the Performance Center, STAT: