“In 1995 I had 7 bucks in my pocket and knew two things: I'm broke as hell and one day I won't be.”
Before Johnson literally hit “rock bottom” with 7 bucks in his bank account he was still doing a fair share of traveling. Johnson moved around at a young age due to his father’s involvement in the pro wrestling business. He was born in Hayward, California. He would make various different pit-stops as a child residing in New Zealand and Hawaii briefly. Johnson would later settle in Miami, the place he typically calls home.
Traveling continued as he tried to make it into the NFL. However Johnson ended up in the CFL ultimately getting cut by the Calgary Stampeders. This proved to be a blessing in disguise as Johnson joined the WWE shortly after the rejection.
Dwayne started off under some pretty memorable circumstances. His first major WWE match took place in Madison Square Garden back in 1996. Ironically, more than two decades later he’s rumored for a return once again in the New York area at WrestleMania 35. It remains to be seen if he’ll attend the event in some capacity given his busy life as Hollywood’s top grossing actor.
In this article we compare some of the more memorable destinations visited by Johnson as both an actor and wrestler. Let’s just say he’s come a long way since his days wrestling at the New Haven Coliseum in Connecticut. Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado here are 10 places The Rock visited for his films and 10 with the WWE. Let’s begin!
20 Film - Kauai, Hawaii (Disney’s Jungle Cruise)
Dwayne moved around a heck of a lot during his younger days. He briefly lived in Honolulu, Hawaii – Johnson attended the 10th grade there. Little did he know that decades later he’d be shooting films at the same destination.
He recently shot his newest project Jungle Cruise, in Kauai. Rock had a plethora of other projects in Hawaii as well, including the popular film Jumanji alongside his good friend Kevin Hart. Dwayne also shot in Hawaii for the film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. It is safe to say that Hawaii has a special place in The Rock’s heart given his trips from both then and now.
19 WWE - New Haven, Connecticut (First Ever SmackDown Episode)
This might be one of the least glamorous destinations ever visited by The Rock throughout his WWE career. However it holds a special place in his heart. This was the location for the first ever episode of SmackDown back in April 29th, 1999. Almost two decades later the show is still going strong with episode 1,000 looming in October.
Seeing as the show is named after The Rock, he’s rumored for at least an appearance of some sort. Sadly the company cannot visit the venue that hosted the first show – the New Haven Coliseum was torn down and turned into a parking lot.
18 Film - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Skyscraper)
Shooting in Vancouver Dwayne was reminded of how grateful he truly is for the way things turned out. A prior experience at the location, Johnson recalls facing rejection and not making it in the CFL;
"I was so excited. Two days later, I got cut. Dreams shattered, I was sent home with seven bucks in my pocket. I was like, 'Wait no, I gotta play in the NFL eventually,''' he says. You realize that playing in the NFL was the best thing that never happened because it got me here."
Despite the rejection Johnson calls Vancouver one of his favorite cities in the world. Almost a year ago Vancouver showed the same amount of appreciation for the mega Hollywood star declaring it as “Dwayne The Rock Johnson Day.” It is safe to say Rock holds Vancouver in high regard.
17 WWE - Vancouver, British Columbia (Rock Bottom 1998)
For those who aren’t aware The Rock was a pretty big deal back in his WWE days. Now he wasn’t enjoying the same type of fame but he was still very successful. Not only did he get his own show named after him but the WWE also gave him his very own PPV, Rock Bottom back in 1998. Ironically the location for the event was Vancouver, a close-by area that shattered his CFL dreams. However according to Johnson, Vancouver also has a lot to do with his hard work prior to making it in Hollywood;
"I've dropped my blood and sweat in this city, wrestled multiple matches in this city, shot big movies in this city," he tells CBC.
16 Film - Sahara Desert, Morocco (The Mummy Returns)
As they say we all have to start somewhere. For Dwayne his Hollywood career took off a long way away from home, all the way in the Sahara Desert. Shooting for The Mummy Returns Johnson recalls his experience shooting his very first film;
“Sahara Desert, Morocco. My first scene ever in a movie... Told myself 3 things before the director yelled, ACTION. Focus, find your power and don't mess this up."
He shot the film way back in 2001 leaving the WWE. From that point on Rock featured sporadically. It is safe to say his appearance in the film was a success as he was given a main role in TheScorpion King, shortly after.
15 Film - Hong Kong, China (Skyscraper Press Tour)
Rock returned to Asia most recently as a Hollywood megastar. Skyscraper held one of their Premieres out in Hong Kong. The community definitely showed interest. Dwayne posted some stunning photos of the Premiere to his Instagram account showing the plethora of fans that attended the event.
According to the producer the area in Hong Kong was the perfect place due to the tall buildings – which includes one of the tallest in the world in West Kowloon, the International Commerce Center Tower. Dwayne, along with the cast, enjoyed lots of sightseeing experiences - it’s a trip he won’t forget both as an actor and WWE star.
14 WWE - Malaysia (2002 Live Event Tour)
For those who aren’t aware, not only are WWE Superstars performing on live television on a weekly basis but they’re also putting on shows throughout the week that aren’t on television. The company is constantly touring and that was no different back in Dwayne’s full-time days with the WWE.
His final overseas tour with the WWE was a special one back in early 2002. With The Rock headlining the tour, it is said that tickets for the Yokohama event sold out in less than an hour. His opponent Chris Jericho, describes Rock’s crowd reaction as being on par with Elvis and The Beatles. Among the pit-stops included Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. Ironically WWE recently returned to Shanghai just days ago. This time it was John Cena returning from his Hollywood gig and headlining the overseas show.
13 WWE - Melbourne, Australia (Global Warning Tour)
In early October the WWE is set to make history in Australia with record setting attendance numbers. The company fully intends on making an impact with the show. So much so that both WWE legends Triple H and The Undertaker are set to appear.
What fans might forget is the fact that WWE took to the country way back in the summer of 2002 for the Global Warning Tour. It was a special show as it turned out to be the first WWE appearance in the country since the mid-80s. Taking place in Melbourne Dwayne had a lot to do with the ticket sales. He was the headliner for the show getting his hand raised in victory during the final match of the night – this in front of nearly 57,000 Australian fans.
12 Film - Puerto Rico (Fast Five)
The Fast and Furious franchise is a big reason for The Rock’s early success. Typically the films shoot in various places around the world which made the experience that much more gratifying for those involved.
Fast Five was initially intended to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – a stunning location to shoot a film. However the Puerto Rican government had other plans stepping in and offering the film crew various tax incentives. Due to tax incentives said to be worth over $10 million, the cast and crew changed locations shooting the movie in Puerto Rico.
11 WWE - Toronto, Canada (WrestleMania X-8)
Canada will always have a special place in The Rock’s heart. Long before his Hollywood success Johnson reached the very peak of his career challenging Hulk Hogan to a match at WrestleMania in front of a sold-out Toronto crowd.
In front of almost 70,000 fans this particular match is regarded as not only the best and most memorable in Rock’s career, but arguably among the most iconic WWE matches of all-time. It was a surreal moment seeing the past and current star staring down one another in the middle of the ring. It was truly a fantasy match come to life and one Dwayne still discusses regularly to this day.
10 Film – Miami, Florida (Ballers)
How The Rock finds time to film a TV show along with his various films is truly beyond most of us. However what might have facilitated his decision to take part in Ballers is the fact that the show was initially filmed back in the place he grew up in, Miami, Florida. Johnson carved out his early football days in the area. These days he’s making the big bucks as a major Hollywood star in the same location.
Ballers would eventually move and relocate to Los Angeles, California. Rock wasn’t too upset considering he adores California and he was born in Cali as well.
The HBO show also shot in San Francisco and New York.
9 WWE - Miami, Florida (WrestleMania XXVIII)
A theme in this article is Johnson finding success in certain areas as both a WWE star and mega Hollywood actor. This accomplishment however might stand alone. Despite his part-time status with the WWE Johnson was given the opportunity to main event WrestleMania back in 2012. What made it that much more special is the fact that Johnson enjoyed the experience in the area he grew up in, at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.
In front of a record crowd of almost 80,000, Rock got his hand raised in the final match of the night defeating John Cena. It was another once-in-a-life-time type of ordeal. However the location of it all might have been the sweetest part for Johnson.
8 Film - Leicester Square, London (Rampage Premiere)
“7am. Beautiful London. Weather forecast: Pockets of sun, misty w/ light winds. AM cardio forecast: Dominate this b****. #WithASmile.”
So traveling across the world won’t slow down The Rock one bit. He’s known for bringing his gym along for the ride. Now that’s dedication, folks.
Back in April the cast took part in a Rampage Premiere at the popular Cineworld Leicester Square location. It was another fantastic turn-out. Johnson posted various shots of the experience to his Instagram account. He is nothing but grateful for all the love shown by the UK fans.
7 WWE - Dallas, Texas (WrestleMania 32)
The biggest WrestleMania turn-out in history, it only made sense to include The Rock. Taking place in AT&T Stadium WWE shattered its previous attendance record with over 101,000 WWE fans on the night.
Not only did Rock take part in the experience just a couple of years ago in 2016, but he also wrestled in what is his last active match to date. Now the bout wasn’t the longest, lasting only 6 seconds, but it was still quite the moment to see Johnson lace up the boots for nostalgia purposes alone. Fans are hoping that he returns to the ring for a little longer at the upcoming WrestleMania 35 event at MetLife Stadium.
6 Film - Deerfield Beach, Florida (Baywatch)
The original Baywatch was shot in Malibu, California. However this was not the case for Baywatch the film featuring both Hollywood megastars Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.
The film shot in various locations. Among the first is Deerfield Beach Florida, a location we assume most on the cast were pretty pleased with.
The film also shot in Miami and Savannah, Georgia. The shooting began in Tybee Island, Georgia. Although Johnson moves around a heck of a lot, most of his films usually get shot in US areas – this reminiscent to his days as a WWE star.
5 WWE - Houston, Texas (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Ask most 90s wrestling fans and it’s likely that they’ll tell you WrestleMania X-Seven was the greatest WWE show ever produced. As far as the greatest rivalries ever, The Rock and Stone Cold hold the honor. At this event the rivals took part in a main event that had fans talking. The show took place in front of a nearly 68,000 fans at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
What made this match so special is the fact that both were at the very prime of their careers back in 2001. It was truly a match for the ages. Rock would appear sporadically years later entering the world of Hollywood – he would later make the full-time transition.
4 Film – Atlanta, Georgia (Rampage)
According to The Gainesville Times, The Rock hit Georgia for the shooting of his film Rampage;
“Dwayne Johnson came to North Georgia in May and June 2017 to film scenes for an upcoming movie on the Brenau University campus. After filming was done, Johnson hit the town to visit with fans.”
According to the publication most of the scenes featuring The Rock were filmed in Georgia. Some scenes also took place in Chicago, Illinois. Georgia is a popular location for film shooting. Among other notable flicks shot in the area include Black Panther, Guardians of The Galaxy and Captain America Civil War.
3 WWE - Brooklyn, New York (Raw Return)
One of Dwayne’s most recent surprise appearances took place in front of the Brooklyn, New York crowd at Barclays Center. New York will always have a special place in Dwayne’s heart but we’ll discuss that in a little more detail in the final entry.
Rock received a warm ovation during his surprising return. He worked an in-ring segment along with Rusev and Lana. Ironically as we made mention of earlier in the article, Rock is billed to return to the ring in the New York area. He’s being billed for a WrestleMania 35 match at MetLife Stadium. The heavily favorite opponent at this point is WWE rising stat Elias - though most fans wouldn’t mind seeing Rock tangle with Roman Reigns.
2 Film - Canary Islands, Spain (Fast & Furious 6)
“THANK U to all the amazing fans of the Spanish Canary Islands for making my visit incredible! #MuchoAmorAndGratitudalosCanarios.”
The Rock posted that special thank you message following the shooting of Fast & Furious 6. The crew also took to Abu Dhabi during the 7thFast and Furious, though Dwayne was not there for that portion of the film.
The crew was ultimately most grateful for being able to shoot in the area. According to Mother Jones, the Fast and Furious crew weren’t necessarily quiet when shooting in Spain;
“To have the Tenerife and Gran Canaria governments say, ‘Hey, yeah, come over, we have this brand new highway you can wreck,’ it made all the difference.”
1 WWE - New York, New York (Survivor Series 1996)
Some nights you just never forget. Back on November 17th, 1996 Dwayne Johnson would make his WWE debut at the PPV event Survivor Series. What made his debut that much more iconic and memorable is the fact that it took place in WWE’s unofficial home, Madison Square Garden.
Labelled as a major prospect for the future, Rock saw his hand held in victory in front of more than 18,000 fans. Little did he know he’d be entertaining millions one day as the biggest Hollywood star in the world. Johnson has come a long way from performing in the fourth Survivor Series bout of the night – he has now become a source of inspiration for millions upon millions at home.