When Vince McMahon wanted The Rock to wrestle a Bear

Vince McMahon, known for his bold and crazy ideas in the WWE, planned an extreme event in 2000 to celebrate WWE’s transition from NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange. He proposed a wrestling match between WWE’s top star, The Rock, and a live bear in the middle of Wall Street.

The idea was to symbolize WWE’s bullish position in the market and to make a memorable impact. McMahon even planned to close down Wall Street, install a wrestling ring, and stream the event live on WWF.com. This anecdote was revealed by longtime WWE producer Bruce Pritchard on his Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard podcast, highlighting how serious McMahon was about this over-the-top concept.

Bruce said: “Vince wanted to put a ring in the middle of Wall Street. Shut Wall Street down and put a ring there and have matches at noon. Huge spectacle, we’re gonna go live on WWF.com. So it’s like, okay, cool. I thought he was just kind of like telling me this so that I knew that, ‘Okay, we need to put together a show, we need to come up with something.’ But what he was telling me was, ‘Hey, I want to do this, get it done.’ As he’s trailing off he goes, ‘And I want a bear! I want The Rock to wrestle a bear. The Brahma Bull versus the bear. “But what he was telling me was, ‘Hey, I want to do this, get it done.’ As he trails off he goes, ‘And I want a bear! I want The Rock to wrestle a bear.’ The Brahma Bull versus the bear. The honest to God living wrestling bear which used to be an attraction back in the day.”

Luckily the WWE thought better of the idea, and Prichard explained why:

“The bear, thank God, was reconsidered on several fronts. Because, first of all, you had the animal rights activists that would not look kindly on a wrestling bear. Even thought the human rights activists that probably should have been alarmed. Because trust me … the bear always goes over. So anyway, as we’re getting closer to this, the idea becomes, ‘Well, do you really want a bear hanging around on the New York Exchange the day your stock goes public?’ Well, ‘The bear was out today on the New York Stock Exchange.”

Ultimately, WWE block off a section of Wall Street and install a wrestling ring to celebrate their milestone in the stock market. Thankfully, no animals were harmed during the event.

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