'The Rock' rules out return to wrestling

NEW YORK - Action star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has flatly ruled out any return to professional wrestling, saying his retirement is official - and the days of his bullying ring character The Rock are numbered.

Johnson, 34, was one of the most popular wrestlers in the US World Wrestling Entertainment circuit before he started making movies in 1999.

With a new movie and video game out this month, Johnson, who towers at 6-foot-five tall weighing about 114 kgs, said he would never return to wrestling.

"I have been out (of wrestling ) now for about three, four years. People always ask me (if I will go back) because I quietly got out," Johnson, a third generation wrestler, told Reuters in an interview in a Manhattan hotel.

"I never wanted to make a big splash or exodus...I just wanted to quietly get out and devote myself to acting."

Johnson said this shift in career meant the days of The Rock, a nickname he adopted in the ring, were numbered.

"When I first got into acting I never wanted to say from this day forward I only want to be know as Dwayne Johnson as that did not feel good to me or right," he said.

"But I wanted to hopefully - and I am happy this is what has taken place naturally - progress into Dwayne Rock Johnson or just Dwayne Johnson."

In his new film, "Gridiron Gang", on release in the United States this week, Johnson plays a probation officer who decides to shape a group of teenage felons at a juvenile detention camp into a football team.

"The clear distinction with this movie is...the message is very simple but powerful, that ever kid deserves a second chance," said Johnson who acknowledges he had a chaotic children but beams as he talks about his five-year-old daughter.

Playing a hero's role is also a shift from his character in the ring and from some of the villains roles he has played on screen with his film credits including "Doom", "The Rundown", "Walking Tall" and "Scorpion King".

Johnson is also on the side of good in the character he plays in a new video game, "Spyhunter: Nowhere to Run," which went on sale this month.

The game is the fourth in the Spyhunter series which began in 1983 as an arcade game.

Johnson, a keen gamer himself, appears as government super-spy Alex Decker who, for the first time, can step out of the spy vehicle in the game and into third person action.

He said there were ongoing talks about making the game into a movie but nothing was yet decided.

"The comedy has to be there. The action has to be there. Eventually we will find the right tone and fingers crossed we will get it made," he said.

- REUTERS

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