WWE Champion Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was in town this week to promote the news that WrestleMania XXX will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, April 6, 2014.
At a press conference to announce the news on Monday in the Superdome, Johnson discussed his appreciation for New Orleans. He even closed his presser by singing "When The Saints Go Marching In."
As a defensive lineman for the University of Miami, he competed in the National Championship against Alabama in the 1993 Sugar Bowl at the Superdome. He has been a part of a number of New Orleans WWE events, including last Sunday's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view show at the New Orleans Arena. He recently filmed scenes from the soon-to-be-released movie "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" in the Crescent City.
"For me, New Orleans has always been a special place," said Johnson. "I was able to come here to play for the national championship when I was at the University of Miami. Over the years, coming here and performing in front of crowds of 15-20,000 people whether they were pay-per-view events or other WWE events. Then, to come back and bring film productions here were truly amazing experiences because it just allowed me to live here in New Orleans, buy a house here and be here months and months at a time. The fact that we are bringing WrestleMania here, it's going to be a hell of an experience."
Johnson did offer advice for his fellow superstars on how to stay in shape when they come to New Orleans.
"You have to go easy on the beignets and the po-boys," joked Johnson.
Along with his admiration for the city, Johnson is a big fan of two members of the New Orleans Saints – fellow Miami alums TE Jimmy Graham and LB Jonathan Vilma.
"I follow them because that's what happens when you go to the University of Miami," said Johnson. "There is support, loyalty and love for all the players you know or don't know. I am proud of those guys. Vilma has had to overcome some things recently. I am proud of him because it takes a special type of guy to still remain fairly poised through what he went through. And of course Jimmy has been kicking butt. He has been great these past two years. I am proud of those guys."