The Rock is easily one of the best ever in WWE's history and just like every other legend, he too had a humble beginning. Though he was coming from a wrestling family, it was not necessary that he possed natural talent and was ready for the ring straight away.
Dr. Tom Prichard, Dwayne Johnson's former coach has revealed on Taking You To School with Dr. Tom Prichard what his first meeting with The Rock was like. He explained that their first meeting was back in the summer of 1996.
The Rock had joined the coaching along with Brakkus (Achim Albrecht) and Mark Henry and the three were put under Dr. Tom Prichard. The coach revealed that Dwayne was already doing shows in Memphis and getting the knowledge of the atmosphere but was not into ready to be up into the main roster at WWE.
On The Rock's character and his first impression, Prichard said that he did not know much about the new trainee apart from the fact that he was Rocky Johnson's son. Adding to that, he mentioned that Rock sported a chia-pet haircut and was an energetic youngster.
From first glance, Prichard has understood that The People's Champ had the look, size and everything needed to be successful in the industry. He said:
"I want to say the summer of 1996 because that was the first class we had and it was three guys. It was Brakkus (Achim Albrecht), Mark Henry who was just coming off the 96 Olympics and Dwayne Johnson. So I believe at that time and probably starting in May he went to Memphis but I think he was doing some shows in Memphis and on the road a little bit and just getting his feet wet.
Of course, he had been around the business his whole life and he was a natural performer obviously and he came in along with Mark and Achim in August and we set up the studio (WWE TV Studio) at 120 Hamilton Avenue and we just started training. They had gotten each of us an apartment and we were supposed to share an apartment, I was supposed to share with Mark and it was going to be Achim and Dwayne and I just decided that as the coach I am going to go ahead and get my own place in downtown, lovely downtown Stamford, Connecticut and I did.
That was when I first met him in the summer of 1996 and I didn't really know a whole lot about him except he was Rocky Johnson's son but he had that chia-pet haircut, young and energetic and had a lot of personality but he was one of those guys that you knew had the look, he had the size, he had everything and the recipe for success."
You can listen to the whole podcast here: