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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

I don’t smell what the Rock is cooking: the phoniness of Dwayne Johnson

Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returned to the WWE on Jan. 1 to a subsequent roar of applause.

When I first saw that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was set to return to WWE on Jan. 1, I was excited to see someone so famous, and frankly so good, back in the wrestling business. 

I previously viewed Johnson — acclaimed actor, celebrity and former professional wrestler — as a guy who can captivate people wherever he goes because he’s relatable and a solid dude.

Well … I was wrong, mostly. He still can hold a crowd in the palm of his hand, but as I’ve witnessed more of Johnson’s antics, I can no longer smell what The Rock is cooking. All I smell now is phoniness and a shell for public relations firms to espouse their narrative. 

My view of Johnson started to shift on Dec. 29, when one of my favorite YouTubers, “penguinz0,” otherwise known as “MoistCr1TiKaL,” made a video about Johnson’s recent trip to the fast food chain In-N-Out Burger.

Johnson posted a video to his Instagram of him going to In-N-Out, which he claimed to be visiting for the first time. In summary, the video shows Johnson going through a couple of In-N-Out drive-thrus and people being amazed to see someone so famous. He took a couple of pictures, tipped handsomely and pretty much exuded “look-how-famous-I-am” energy the whole time. 

In other words, he stroked his own ego. He wrote in the caption of said video “Loved everyone’s positive vibes and ‘holy shit it’s the rock’ energy.”

Seems arrogant enough, but the problem is Johnson lied about something as innocuous as going to In-N-Out for the first time. He posted on Instagram on Feb. 23, 2017 saying that was his first time at In-N-Out too. 

And again on Aug. 1, 2022, Johnson claimed he had In-N-Out again for the first time, pairing it with his very own Teremana tequila. 

Why lie? I have no problem with Johnson going to In-N-Out and posting about it, more power to him. My problem comes in lying about something so harmless and for seemingly no reason. 

Then, Johnson went on the Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most popular podcasts on the planet and for better or worse, a place known for people being authentic and free in their beliefs. Rogan has hosted people from all walks of life, from Alex Jones, to Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, to Candace Owens.

So Johnson being on could’ve been something really interesting, but it wasn’t. He didn’t share his view on pretty much anything of substance.

Johnson admitted that a political party reached out to him to run for President, but he said nothing conclusive about his positions, values or who he would be as a politician. 

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was Johnson’s recent return to WWE, where I now have realized he goes back to when he needs his ego boosted.

Johnson’s return was hyped up with Paul “Triple H” Levesque, the chief content officer of WWE, tweeting, “Not going to confirm or deny the rumors of a former @WWE Champion appearing at #WWERaw Day One… but I will say to stay tuned.” When Johnson returned, he interrupted a segment featuring former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, who came out first as the false return. 

The promo Mahal delivered wasn’t great, but he made it work. Mahal, a Canadian, trashed the U.S. the whole time, and some of which he said was true, but it furthered the “foreign heel” stereotype — a standard where wrestlers who aren’t from the U.S. or speak foreign languages are viewed as a bad guy. 

Johnson returned with a massive roar from the crowd and delivered his shtick.

He defended the U.S., did an impression of the late WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, dissed his own movie “Baywatch” (which is funny, I won’t hate) and continued doing what he always does, the same catchphrases and ways of entertaining the crowd.

There’s no denying that Johnson is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He’s one of the best on the microphone and one of the biggest draws in wrestling history. 

His catchphrases are the most recognizable in all of wrestling. “If you smell, what The Rock is cooking,” “finally, The Rock has come back to (insert city here)” and, when referring to the fans, “the millions (and millions)” are sure to make any fan recite them with him.

But like many superstars before him, I fear his coming back to wrestling will halt the current talent in the WWE and only boost Johnson.

Johnson made his name being the “people’s champ.” The WWE Universe rallies around him and hangs onto every word he says. People clamor to have their picture taken with him and be around him constantly. In the wrestling ring, he was the lovable heel, someone who had swagger and an effortless charisma. 

But now with his lucrative deals with Under Armour, Ford, Apple and his millions (and millions) of dollars, Johnson is no longer relatable. He can’t be down-to-earth in his mansion and massive pick-up truck. 

It’s time to stop pretending that he’s the “people’s champ” and recognize Johnson as merely the corporation’s seller.

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  • M

    MikeApr 28, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    Piece of garbage. After shilling for Biden on the 2020 election, I realized he is just another Hollywood Hack doing and saying whatever he needs to in order to makes his hundreds of millions.

    I hope the UFL fails.

  • A

    AceApr 7, 2024 at 2:13 am

    Spot on. Between trying to make the F&F and Shazam franchises all about him, and now the gutless Fox & Friends promo, his lack of integrity is now well documented.

  • M

    MichaelMar 23, 2024 at 8:33 am

    Steroids and bleached teeth. Congress went hard after baseball and wrestling for
    Steroids but refuse to go hard after Hollywood for the major steroids in Hollywood

  • G

    GabrielaFeb 2, 2024 at 6:12 am

    Yeah, i’m not a huge fan anymore either. It started with him being the cause of Journey 3 not being done, ’cause he’s too busy for it or something. I don’t know. There’s just something about him…

  • D

    DmdFeb 1, 2024 at 1:09 am

    he’s bringing in money for the WWE. WWE has a script they want Johnson to do, he accepted the script, and so be it. Johnson does not stroke his ego, he is just being a people’s person. Johnson is giving back to the people which made him. Stop making Johnson look like somebody he is not.

  • E

    elijahJan 31, 2024 at 11:59 am