During a recent episode of GAW TV, former WWE wrestler and talent relations executive, Tommy Dreamer, opened up about a past falling-out between WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and one of the company’s biggest stars, The Rock, also known as Dwayne Johnson. Dreamer revealed that there was a period when Vince and The Rock weren’t on speaking terms due to a dispute over ownership rights of The Rock’s ring name.
As the dispute escalated, WWE took ownership of “The Rock” name, which compelled the iconic wrestler to start using his real name, Dwayne Johnson, in his Hollywood endeavors. This decision caused friction between The Rock and WWE, and the tension spilled over into the backstage atmosphere during WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles.
During the WrestleMania party, which was expected to be a joyous celebration, the backstage environment was tense, and both parties were avoiding each other. However, a glimmer of hope emerged when news circulated that The Rock was planning to attend the party. This prompted WWE officials, including Johnny, to take action and set up a secure area for Vince McMahon and The Rock to have a much-needed conversation to patch things up.
To ensure privacy and avoid any unwanted interruptions, security personnel were positioned everywhere, resembling scenes from a secret service operation. The Rock arrived in a limousine, and Vince waited anxiously in the designated area. However, an unexpected and slightly comical turn of events took place when the wrestler Hawk, from Tough Enough, and SoCal Val, a ring girl for TNA Wrestling, unknowingly walked into the area where Vince was about to meet The Rock.
Tommy Dreamer, being ever vigilant, immediately escorted Hawk and SoCal Val out of the area to prevent any potential disruption. The atmosphere became tense as the long-awaited moment of reconciliation approached. The Rock stepped out of his limo, and time seemed to slow down as he and Vince McMahon locked eyes for the first time in a while.
Despite the awkward moment caused by the unwitting intrusion, the meeting between Vince and The Rock finally happened. The tension in the air was palpable as they exchanged greetings with their chosen names – Vince calling The Rock “Dwayne” and The Rock addressing Vince as “Vince.” It was evident that their dispute had caused a strain on their relationship, but this face-to-face encounter offered a glimmer of hope for resolution.
“They haven’t spoken because remember WWE took ownership of the name ‘The Rock,’ and he had to go to Dwayne Johnson. It’s a big deal and there was animosity. They haven’t spoken. We get word — Johnny pulls me aside — that one Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is showing up at the WrestleMania party,” he explained. “We have to set up this secure area for Vince and The Rock to have their first conversation in a while.
“It’s like the secret service. It’s outside, people positioned everywhere. The Rock’s limo pulls up, Vince is sitting there. John’s going to be the first, then I’m going to meet them. We have security everywhere, but it’s on an outdoor patio and there’s these planters. As The Rock gets out of the limo,” Dreamer noted. “It’s almost like a movie of an assassination. Like everything is happening in slow motion and all of a sudden, the wrestler from Tough Enough, Hawk, and one SoCal Val walk into the area where Vince is getting ready to meet [Rock] and try to squash the beef.”
Not The Best Timing
Dreamer said Hawk thought he had a chance to speak with Vince alone, but he quickly jumped in and escorted him and Val out of the area.
“So we scoot them in and as I’m escorting them out, here comes The Rock. Vince is like, ‘Dwayne,’ he’s like, ‘Vince,’ and it’s all this tension. I’m like, ‘Who the hell? If I have to murder these people, I will,’ and that was one SoCal Val.”
SoCal Val explained her side of the story and said she was just there to meet Hawk and some other friends. Val was working as a ring girl for TNA Wrestling at the time, but now realized that it might have been an inopportune moment to approach either one of them.
“We just said, ‘Oh, we’re gonna hang out in the lobby, not in the party.’ We sit out in the lobby, whatever, meet our friends. And Hawk, as sweet as he was because that was one of my first indie shows, was just, let’s call it eccentric. Just all over the place, whatever. Yeah, I remember he was a very loud personality. Yeah, that was the weirdest… And I later actually, with Frankie and Hawk, went into the party. I probably should’ve be like, ‘No,’ but maybe it’s all friends, that’s fine. We got the wristbands, went in. I remember seeing The Rock down at the buffet table like, ‘Holy shit, that’s The Rock.’ But yeah, probably not the best time to have made our way over.”