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Hulk Hogan Fondly Recalls Rocky Johnson Mentoring Him During Early WWE Stint – Wrestling Inc.

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Hulk Hogan recently spoke to Sports Illustrated about his career, and the topic of the late Rocky Johnson, aka the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, came up. He and Hogan go way back, but it turns out that Johnson had a strong influence on his wrestling career when he first joined WWE.

According to Hogan, he first met Johnson and several other wrestlers in a place called the Imperial Room. This was where the wrestlers typically hung out after shows, and Hogan’s connection to the music scene at the time meant that he visited the venue as well. Naturally, it was only a matter of time until he crossed paths with Johnson and the gang. Thus began a friendship between the legend and Hogan, which saw Johnson serve as his mentor in the wrestling industry.

“This was back when I was in a rock and roll band. I finally got the nerve to speak to the guys, and there was one time where I offered to drive Rocky Johnson to Tallahassee for his match. That was a five-hour drive, but I didn’t care, I was just so excited. I drove him in my girlfriend’s brand-new Ford Torino, and I was so proud to drive him. I ended up driving him a few times, and I’d be gone until the sun came up. Or, if he was on earlier, I’d break every speeding limit to get him back to the Imperial Room before last call. When I went to New York in ’79 [to work for the World Wrestling Federation], he took me under his wing when he wrestled there. I never forgot that.”

During the interview, Hogan also recalled feeling honored when Johnson told The Rock to listen to him ahead of their WWE WrestleMania 18 match. Johnson’s influence was massive on certain wrestlers, including one former WWE star.

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