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Jim Ross Recalls His Lunch With The Rock and Wanting to Sign Him to a Six-Figure Contract Right Off the Bat

May 21, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
The Rock Dwayne Johnson WrestleMania 32 Second Elias Image Credit: WWE

– In his latest Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed meeting a young Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a lunch meeting back in the mid-1990s and deciding right then that the WWE needed to sign him to a six-figure contract to get him off the market. Highlights on JR discussing his recruitment of The Rock are below:

Jim Ross on his lunch meeting with The Rock: “I was at a little restaurant near Davie, Florida, where he was living. And we went to this little Cuban restaurant to eat, he and I. And I took him, and I remember vividly what he ordered. He ordered like three breasts of grilled chicken, black beans, and yellow rice and a great deal of sweet tea. So I said a lot like that women in When Harry Met Sally, I said, ‘I’ll have what he’s having.’ Gonna be a big shot, right? Except, he had his tank top on. If i had been wearing a tank top, people would’ve thought I just had a litter of pups and would’ve run their ass out of the restaurant. So in any event, every woman in the house — and some that didn’t even work there — came by our table to see if we needed more water and tea just to get a look at him.”

Jim Ross on getting The Rock a six-figure contract: “So now I’m thinking — so now I see this, I’m going to do some market research here. So then I see these men in there eating and looking at me. They’re glancing over and glancing over. They recognize me. They didn’t have a clue who he was. Think about that in today’s world. That would be the farthest thing from the truth. But then, he had never been on television. He had had some success playing football down at the University of Miami. He was cut from the Calgary Stampeders practice squad. And so, the guys would come down and go, “Hey, JR. How are you doing? What are you doing down here, blah blah blah.” I said, ‘I’m recruiting.’ And so, they didn’t give no pushback, they were all so respectful and in awe of this young kid. So now, I got market research in the women. I got market research in the men. It’s generally accepted that he’s got a great smile. He’s got an amazing physique. He’s 6’4″-6’5″. And he’s got this great pedigree.”

“So to speak to Meltzer’s — and he’s right. A lot of guys we paid $300 a week to get started, but Dwayne was not one of those guys. Dwayne got a lot more money than that because — the playing the games, the negotiating game, it’s like I told Vince, ‘I’m going to pay this guy X. It was six figures. And we’re not going to have to worry about him going to the other guys or looking around. Let’s just shut this deal down right away,’ and so we did. We shut it down right away. And that’s when — I was gonna buy lunch. We shook hands, we had a deal, and he said, ‘I’d like to buy lunch, but I don’t have any money.’ Another statement you’ll never hear him say anymore. And he says, ‘I’ve got seven bucks to my name,’ which by the way, is the name of his production company, Seven Bucks Entertainment, a little bit of trivia for you. But Dwayne was a can’t-miss. So I didn’t want him back on the market. I wanted to close our deal. And I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that we had — I believe I called home office in Stamford and had them wire a bonus check — a signing bonus — to the guys that count. It ingratiated us. It was the right thing to do, and we gout our guy. So, successful mission on that behalf, all over those chicken breasts and those black beans and rice.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.