The Rock has praised Bret Hart saying that The Hitman welcomed him into the World Wrestling Federation with open arms while describing some of his other peers as “sharks in the water.”
The eight-time WWE Champion became one of the biggest wrestling stars of all time before conquering Hollywood but it wasn’t always this way. In 1996, Johnson entered the World Wrestling Federation as Rocky Maivia looking to follow in his family’s footsteps.
While doing interviews for his new Jungle Cruise movie, The Rock noticed that a reporter was wearing a Bret Hart t-shirt and then took the time to explain to co-star Emily Blunt what Hart meant to him.
The Rock said:
“One thing before we leave, the t-shirt he’s wearing is a guy who didn’t have to be but was so good to me when I was a rookie professional wrestler and his name is Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. He comes from a very famous wrestling family but at that time he was world champion and there were a lot of guys in that world at that time in 1996 that didn’t necessarily embrace me. Just when I was a rookie coming in because everyone is hungry for their spots and there’s a lot of sharks in the water. But Bret, he was world champion, he showed me how it’s done. I think [he was welcoming to The Rock] because our families knew each other and he knew I came from a lineage of pro wrestling and that I had a real love and respect for wrestling and he was just a great guy and I always like to give him props where I can.”
Bret Hart has since responded to The Rock’s words on social media, Tweeting:
“I appreciate the kind words. I hold @therockand his family in very high regard and it’s been inspiring to watch his hard earned success in wrestling, Hollywood, and beyond.”
I appreciate the kind words. I hold @therock and his family in very high regard and it’s been inspiring to watch his hard earned success in wrestling, Hollywood, and beyond. 👊🏻 https://t.co/7uA4Drfm61
— Bret Hart (@BretHart) July 30, 2021
The Rock then followed his words with his own social media post:
“Im always happy to shine light on those who impacted my life early in my pro wrestling career. Bret Hart treated me so good, took me under his wing and gave me great advice. Respect the business, save your money and never let those a**holes bring you down. The rest is history”
The Rock and Bret Hart only had a single one-on-one match during their illustrious careers. On Raw on the 31st of March 1997, The Rock put his Intercontinental Championship on the line against Hart defeating The Hitman by disqualification when Hart locked in the figure four leg lock around the ring post and refused to let go. That night will probably be more well remembered for being the night Hart began reforming The Hart Foundation by embracing his brother Owen and brother-in-law The British Bulldog in the ring.