Shannon Sharpe The Rock First Take Shannon Sharpe gave Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson his flowers on ‘First Take’ Tuesday. Credit: ESPN

Among the biggest headlines of Tuesday came from the professional wrestling world. WWE will move its flagship television show, Raw, to the Netflix streaming service beginning in January 2025. The lucrative deal will shift the wrestling television industry significantly, and the trickle-down could be immense.

Beyond that deal, though, there was more big news. That was the news that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, a WWE legend and the biggest movie star in the world, will join the board of directors at WWE and UFC parent TKO.

The Rock and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, former pro wrestling rivals, made the rounds on TV Tuesday after the announcement, which also saw Johnson gain $30 million in stock and full ownership of the “The Rock” trademark. Johnson and Levesque appeared on CNBC to discuss the Netflix-Raw move.

Additionally, the man formerly known as “The Great One” also appeared on ESPN’s ‘First Take.’ Johnson has been no stranger to ESPN lately, appearing on College GameDay this past season.

Pro Football Hall of Famer-turned-TV-entertainer Shannon Sharpe has expressed his love for pro wrestling before. So it should be no surprise that Sharpe wanted to wax poetic about The Rock when talking to him on Tuesday’s episode of First Take.

“You know what? I was gonna call you DJ, but since you got the full ownership name of The Rock, I’m gonna say The Rock. But I wanna give you your flowers,” Sharpe said. “Because do you understand how inspirational what you’ve been able to accomplish is?

“The football career – you tear your knee up, and you’re not able to have the NFL career that you wanted. And Rock, I’m not so sure you’re the most talented guy in any profession. But it’s hard for me to believe that there’s someone that’ll outwork you because that’s something that you can control is hard work.

“You might not have the most talent. There might be people that were born with more talent than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. But it’s hard for me to believe. And so seeing you and the success that you’ve had, you’ve given me inspiration because if I see you do it, it can be done. So that means I can do it or someone else can do it.

“So I just wanna say thank you. From a guy that played the game of football, that had a little success that’s now in the media, Rock, what you’ve been able to do and what you’ve been able to become is truly an inspiration. Not only to people of color. And I want the kudos for that. But to anybody to let you know what you can be if you put your mind to it. So thank you,” Sharpe said.

While it’s maybe become popular to scoff at Rock‘s road to the top (his “seven dollars in my pocket” line has become something of a meme) it’s hard to argue with Sharpe. The man has accomplished a lot over his fascinating life. He became one of pro wrestling’s greatest superstars, and now he has a hand in the business. It’s a wild rags-to-riches story for a guy who keeps finding new ways to set new standards.

[First Take]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022