Bruce Pritchard says WWE didn't quite expect Hollywood to take to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson like it did and thought they would have been able to keep him around for a further five years.
The Rock is the subject of one of Hollywood's biggest success stories, having literally hit rock bottom when his football career flunked and he was forced to return home with just seven dollars to his name.
The star's wrestling career didn't start off as brightly either and it took a while for the fans to get on his side. As soon as they did, though, one could just tell that the third-gen wrestler was destined for big things.
Johnson has since gone on to become Hollywood's brightest star and his newest film, Hobbs & Shaw, is currently top of the global box office following its release this month.
The 47-year-old recently broke the news that he's quietly retired from WWE following sporadic appearances over the last few years.
"I miss wrestling, I love wrestling," he said. "Yes, I do...I quietly retired from wrestling because I was lucky enough to have just a really wonderful career and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, but there's nothing like a live crowd, a live audience, a live microphone as you both know."
According to Pritchard, WWE didn't see him blowing up this big that fast. Johnson broke into movies with a cameo role in The Mummy Returns in 2001, vowing to juggle wrestling and acting as best he could, but starring in The Scorpion King was all it took for the industry to realize it had a gem it simply could not let go of.
“Well, we thought we had maybe another five years of it, at least," Pritchard said on the newest episode of Something to Wrestle With (h/t 411Mania).
"You look at it, and you’re saying, ‘Okay. How big can he really get?’ Hulk went through the same thing. Hulk went through the surge of, he does No Holds Barred, critically-acclaimed, man. You know, s**t. Everybody wanted Hulk after No Holds Barred. And he went on and did a few movies, and we thought, ‘Oh my god! We’ll lose him too.’ But he still stuck around. So we thought the same thing would kind of happen with Rock.
"But after Scorpion King, then it was like, ‘Ruh-roh. They like him a lot! He’s gonna be [a] big star. F**k.'”