The Rock has done it all in professional wrestling. From headlining WrestleMania to selling out arenas and stadiums across the world. He's stepped in the ring with legends like Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and John Cena. All those matches and moments were meaningful to The Rock in some way.
But it was a 2002 house show match against Chris Jericho that will be The Rock's most meaningful match of his career.
"It was the first and only time I've ever wrestled in Hawaii. It was not a big pay-per-view or television production; it was a house show. The reason why it meant so much to me -- my grandfather, 'High Chief' Pete Maivia, the first wrestler to put the island of Samoa on the map, owned a wrestling promotion in the islands of Hawaii that he and my grandmother ran. My dad and mom helped him promote as well in the late 70s. They struggled. They could never get it off the ground and all five of us lived in a little apartment. Hawaii, for me, always represented struggle and tough times and a force of human nature to grit it out. We were running wrestling shows across the island on the military bases every week, maybe drawing 200-300 people. Once a month, they would run The Big Show at Blaisdell Center, not draw any people, not draw any money," said The Rock on Instagram.
"We end up leaving Hawaii. My grandfather died in 1982 and it was his dream for my grandmother to take over the promotion. She struggled with it as well. It got a little hot, a little successful, and she was brought up on federal charges for extortion. She was like the Black Widow from Cocaine Cowboys, minus dealing the cocaine."
The Rock said he would share the story of his grandmother at another time, but continued to reference the struggle he and his family went through while growing up in Hawaii. Fast forward to 2002 when The Rock was on top of the wrestling world.
"When Vince McMahon approached me at the height of my wrestling career and said, 'What do you think about going to Hawaii? Small show. You probably don't want to go because it's a lot of travel.' I cut him off and said, 'No, you don't understand, it would be the most meaningful show of my life.' He looked at me and said, 'Really?' 'Absolutely. Book it.' I headlined that show and I wrestled Chris Jericho, a very good buddy of mine today."
He continued, "I've had the honor and privilege, I've been a lucky son of a bitch to have the career that I had in professional wrestling. I've wrestled every major arena around the world and the most meaningful match I ever had was to go back to Hawaii, Blaisdell Center, be the main event -- sold it out, faster than Elvis did, I'm just saying -- it was so special. I flew my entire family in for this because everyone knew what this moment meant, including my grandmother. I flew her in, she was sitting there, my music hits. We have our match, a phenomenal match, Chris Jericho was a great dance partner. After, I get on the mic and thank the crowd and let them know how much this meant."
The Rock noted that the crowd was electric during the night and then began getting choked up when talking about the moment he shared in the locker room with his family.
To no surprise, The Rock was victorious in the bout.
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