– The Rock recently spoke with Muscle and Fitness. Here are some highlights:
M&F: Right before you start filming, you have the injury sustained in the match with Cena at WrestleMania 29. How did that set you back in terms of your filming schedule?
DJ: Any athlete or any actor who’s preparing for a long time to step on a stage or step on a field or step on a movie set, who suffers an injury right before you’re getting ready to perform or to execute–it is a massive challenge that’s thrown your way that you didn’t expect. I wound up tearing my rectus tendon from my pelvis I also tore my adductor from my pelvis, then had a triple hernia as well.
The match was scheduled to go approximately 50 minutes and about minute 25, is when I tore my rectus. I asked the referee at that time how much time do we have left, and he said, ‘Well we’ve got about another 25 minutes. Are you okay?’ And I said ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ Which I knew I wasn’t, but I knew when I stood up, as long as I could put a little pressure on one leg and kind of move the other one around… You know when you lose your rectus tendon–that’s a tough tendon to lose because you can’t push off of it and you don’t have a lot of power in it. So I think what happened was because I had to continue another 25 minutes on that. As you know, when something like that happens, all the surrounding muscles start to weaken. I didn’t know what the extent of the injury was until the very next day. I flew home to Miami and went to see my doctors at the University of Miami.
M&F: Is there more respect; are you friendlier with John Cena now that the two-year feud is over?
DJ: We’re good buddies these days. We’re good buddies these days.
M&F: Do you remember the exact move that tore your tendons?
DJ: Yeah, it was one of the bigger finishing moves that we started hitting on each other at about 25 minutes in. And I didn’t want to tell him, that was the thing. A lot of the time when the boys, when the other wrestlers get hurt in the ring, you either tell the referee and the referee would tell the other wrestler or you’d whisper to him and I didn’t want to tell John I was hurt because the match was an iconic match and I just wanted the focus to remain on the match. Knowing John the way I know him—very closely by the time we got into that match, by the way—I knew that he’d have that on his mind. The guy is a great guy and would do anything for anybody and would do everything he can to make sure the injury didn’t get worse.
With John, by the way, we went into that two-year feud agreeing that things are edgy between us and things are salty, and let’s carry that into the arena.
M&F: So that was real. You’re telling me that’s real?
DJ: Yes, it was very real. When I came back, I needed something real to sink my teeth into, as a performer.
M&F: And why was that?
DJ: John had said some things in an interview that I took exception [in essence, that the Rock cared only about being an actor not about wrestling or WWE fans]. He felt they were okay, I felt that they weren’t okay. I also laughed it off years ago but it wasn’t until I came back and realized that the marquee match-up was going to be between he and I that I would take that edge that we had—and let’s use it. So, we don’t have to hang out, we don’t have to be best friends, we won’t be friends at all.
M&F: Well it worked, because I remember watching it and being like, ‘I think these guys really hate each other.’ I just couldn’t separate it and it was really hard to figure out, and it was awesome to watch for that reason.
DJ: 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.
M&F: Did it get there?
DJ: Right away. And it continued to build. And what happens in wrestling is anybody who is in a feud and anybody who is in a match, everybody knows what everybody is going say. In this case, we approached it differently.
I’d say ‘John, here’s what I’m going to say tonight: Go fuck yourself.’ He’d say, ‘Well, here’s going to be my response: Fuck you too.’ I mean, it was like that. And it was palpable for the fans, and it was palpable backstage. And I would never be like that under any other circumstance. I’m collaborative with everyone I work with. And I take a lot of pride in that, and you know something? So is John. He’s a great guy. He’s one of the best guys out there, but here’s what we realized: If we wanted to build the two biggest matchups back-to-back and create something special in Miami and in New York, we’re going to do it this way. And we might fail miserably at it. People might think it’s not real or you run into the challenge of the potential for people to go, ‘It’s so real that it’s not real.’ But in this case it worked out very well and through 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.
M&F: It’s not that hard to understand because who else would ever be able to understand what you went through besides the other guy?
DJ: Yeah, you know you’re right. And people were calling. Fans felt uncomfortable But I was very happy with how it all went down and what we were able to achieve together. 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. No one out there trains harder and more consistent and really understands the value of training and diet. Not only that, but then you move in an exhausting, grueling schedule, like a lot of the WWE Superstars, I have nothing but respect.
M&F: Do you see yourself returning to the ring soon?
DJ: Yeah, I’d love to. We just have to figure out what it could be and what the most ideal matchup would be, and who it would be with. 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.