Gerald Brisco has recalled the incredible story of The Rock’s father Rocky Johnson jumping out of a moving plane after it caught fire.
While the perception of the modern wrestling industry is relatively glamorous and appealing, things were very different for generations gone by. During the territory days, wrestlers were often poorly paid and had to find a way to get from one town to another on their own dime.
This was the life lived by stars such as Gerald Brisco and The Rock’s father Rocky Johnson. Speaking on a recent episode of the Stories With Brisco and Bradshaw podcast, Gerald Brisco recalled one particularly scary incident.
With wrestlers often having to appear in multiple territories across only a few days, they would club together to hire small commercial airplanes to travel in.
Looking back at one such journey, Brisco said that he once saw Rocky Johnson jump out of a moving plane after it caught fire.
“We had that tail dragger that caught on fire that time where Rocky Johnson jumped out of the airplane as we were taxiing down the highway. He saw smoke on the back of the airplane. He was sitting by one of those drop-down doors, and he dropped that damn door down as we were taxiing and jumped out of the damn thing.
And we went, ‘What the hell is he doing, he’s crazy.’ All of a sudden we saw the smoke coming out we all wanted to jump out the door too,” Brisco said. “Yeah, there was a fire, fire in the commode man, somebody had been back there smoking a doobie or something.”
Perhaps even more incredibly, Brisco explained that once the fire was put out, everyone simply got back on board and flew to Miami as planned.
“They pulled it over at the side of the runway, a fire-truck came out and put the commode out. We got back on the airplane and flew to Miami,”
Rocky Johnson made his in-ring debut in 1964, competing across numerous territories in the NWA before winding up in the WWF in 1982. Johnson was a pioneer for Black athletes in the wrestling industry, and as a result was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. Johnson passed away on January 15th, 2020, aged 75.
H/t to Sportskeeda for the transcription.