When The Rock was about 11-12 years old in the 80s, Hulkamania was very much running wild throughout the world of professional wrestling. During a recent interview to promote his new movie in Hawaii, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, “The Great One” shared an awesome story about his Hulkamania experience. Rock said he caught one of Hulk Hogan‘s headbands during a live event and joked about crying ‘nerd tears’ out of joy. Here’s the story:
This is an amazing story!
When I interviewed @TheRock for JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, I brought him my original JUMANJI ticket from when I saw it in January of 1996.
— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) November 30, 2017
“When Hulk Hogan came into the WWF in 1983 or ’84, I can’t remember … And this was when getting ready to blow up. Vince McMahon said, ‘You’re going to be my guy, I’m giving you the ball. I’m giving you the baton, and I want you to go.’ Hulkamania running wild, right?
“Right there, right when he came in … he was wrestling at Madison Square Garden, and he had a white headband that said ‘HULKSTER.’ Do you remember that? He came in the ring, and I was at Madison Square Garden. I was sitting there front row with my mom, I was watching the matches. And he came out. And I’ll never forget, he was wrestling Paul Orndorff, Mr. Wonderful. And he takes the thing off, and he throws it to the crowd. And I caught it. And it was a big nerd-out moment. … It was amazing.
“My dad was wrestling on the card that night … I was so happy that I caught this thing from Hulk Hogan. I go in the back of the dressing room when the matches were over. I go to my dad and I said, ‘Look. I caught Hulk Hogan’s headband.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. That’s awesome,’ you know”
‘Take it home.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay.’
“But then Hulk Hogan was right over there taking off his wrestling boots, getting ready to shower. And I’m like damn, I want to go over and just say hello to him. So I went over to him, and I was like, ‘Mr. Hogan … I caught your headband.’ And he goes, ‘Oh man! That was my last one! I didn’t want to throw it out! Thank you so much! … Thanks man!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. You’re welcome, Hulk.’ …
“He did [take it back], but he didn’t know how bad I wanted it. But here’s how cool Hulk Hogan was. Two or three weeks later, he had thousands [of headbands] made. Went to my dad, he goes, ‘Hey, I signed this for your son. He gave me my only one back, and I needed that one, as one to make a thousand other copies. Give this back. Give this to him.’
“And I have one of those. Isn’t that the coolest thing. So Hogan, if you’re watching, I appreciate it, brother. I still have it.”