The Rock Recalls How Little He Made Early In Wrestling Career
Dwayne Johnson, known in wrestling circles as The Rock, is known for being an incredibly popular wrestler and a massive draw…but it wasn’t always that way.
The Rock’s entire full-time wrestling career was relatively short, lasting only six years or so. And his time as a top-drawing megastar counted for less than half of that.
Before he was main-eventing big shows opposite Steve Austin, and before he was even given his “Blue Chipper” monster push that led to fans chanting “Die, Rocky, Die”, he wrestled in smaller companies to gain experience and exposure.
And those early days were as difficult for him as they were for many other wrestling journeymen that struggled during their early years.
In an interview with the Pivot Podcast, The Rock talked about how his first few matches for Tennessee territory United states Wrestling Association (USWA) would lead to some of the lowest payouts ever seen in the wrestling business.
“I made my bones down in Tennessee. There’s a wrestling company down there. It was called USWA, famous! Everybody came through there, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. Everybody who became somebody went through there. And that’s where you, uh, you made your bones and you cut your teeth.
The guarantee every night was 40 bucks, wherever. Doesn’t matter where you are on the card that was your guarantee.”
Additionally, The Rock noted that wrestlers working that territory would make a bit of extra money by selling polaroids for $5-10 each and on a “good night”, Rock would walk home with an extra $80 or so.
By comparison, in 2020, Dwayne Johnson was officially listed as the highest paid actor in Hollywood, taking home approximately $87.5 million from all his films.