The Rock (entertainer)

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Dwayne Douglas Johnson is an actor and former professional wrestler known as The Rock.

Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California), also known by his stage name The Rock, is an American actor and former professional wrestler. He has starred in such motion pictures as Be Cool, The Mummy Returns, The Rundown The Scorpion King, Walking Tall, and others.

Johnson first gained mainstream fame as a standout in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Before becoming The Rock, he was known as Rocky Maivia, an homage to his father, Rocky Johnson, and his maternal grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia. Since his entry into acting, Johnson continues to be known simply as The Rock.


Early life

Upbringing in Hawaii

Johnson was born into a family of diverse backgrounds and heritage. His father was the professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, a former WWF Tag Team Champion. Johnson's mother Lia Maivia belonged to a royal lineage of Hawaii and Samoa (such Polynesian lineages are interconnected across the Pacific societies). Johnson's maternal grandfather retained the royal title of Ali‘i and was highly respected especially as an elder among Native Hawaiians and Samoans. Peter Maivia was also a professional wrestler, known especially for the tattoos (of great cultural significance) that covered the lower half of his body. In keeping with this tradition, Johnson has also received such tattoos, the most prominent covering his left shoulder and upper chest.

Johnson spent his childhood living near his maternal grandfather and grandmother in Honolulu. He attended local public schools including Washington Intermediate School and President William McKinley High School, both near Ala Moana and Waikiki.

High school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

As a high school junior, Johnson's father's career uprooted him from his Hawaii home and they relocated to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Johnson cultivated and developed a more intense athleticism in high school, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He began playing football at Freedom High School, a member of the East Penn League of Lehigh Valley. It was considered one of the most competitive high school football conferences in the United States.

At the University of Miami

Johnson received various atheletic scholarship offers from several universities before choosing to attend the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The University of Miami football program did not openly recruit Johnson; he had to face try-outs to join the program. In 1991, he was part of the Hurricanes' National Championship team.

Considered a candidate for the NFL, Johnson's hopes of a football career was challenged by a severe back injury. After college, Johnson signed a three-year contract with the CFL instead. However, he was cut from the program after a year. It was then that Johnson decided to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by pursuing a professional wrestling career.

Wrestling career

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The Rock (WWF late 1990s)

Along with his father and grandfather, several members of Johnson's family are current and former professional wrestlers, including his uncles, the Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika Anoai), and cousins such as the late former WWF Champion Yokozuna and former WWF Tag Team Champion Rikishi. When he declared his intention to join the family business to his father, the elder Johnson resisted, but agreed to train his son himself, warning him that he would not go easy on him. With help from former WWE executive and veteran wrestler Pat Patterson, Johnson secured a tryout with the WWF. Impressed by his talent and charisma, he was signed to a WWF deal after a short stint for "seasoning" in Jerry Lawler's USWA, where he wrestled under the stage names of Flex Kavana and Pidlaoan Rock.

Johnson first wrestled in the WWF as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names. The WWF played up his connection to his father and grandfather, calling him the first third-generation superstar to wrestle for the company. Johnson was first portrayed as a clean-cut babyface, and gained early success, winning the prestigious Intercontinental Championship after only three months. However, wrestling had changed since Hulk Hogan's heyday in the mid 80s, and fans quickly grew sick of the two-dimensional good guy character. Despite often being loudly booed, Johnson was forced to go to the ring and smile, as if the crowd was cheering (like they were "supposed to").

Eventually, Johnson was allowed to turn heel and joined the Nation of Domination (wrestling's version of the Black Panthers), spewing venom at the fans for turning on him, influenced by Johnson's real-life feelings toward the WWF audience. In the Nation, Rocky Maivia became The Rock, a cocky and charismatic bully. Now allowed to be more or less himself (Johnson has often said in interviews that The Rock is merely Dwayne Johnson with "the volume turned up"), The Rock became wildly popular, establishing several much-quoted catchphrases including "Do you smell what The Rock is cookin'?", "Layeth the Smacketh down," and "Know your role and shut your mouth!" Johnson's popularity as The Rock propelled him to the WWF Championship in 1998 at age 26. At the time, he was the youngest WWF Champion in history, siding with then-heels Vince and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of their "Corporation" stable. Johnson eventually turned face again and would have many face/heel turns, feuding with all of WWF's top talent.

Fueled by the star power of The Rock and other stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mankind, the WWF experienced a massive surge in popularity not seen since Hulk Hogan's reign in the '80s. In particular, Johnson's extremely entertaining interviews and storylines made WWF programming a must-see for wrestling fans. From 1998 to 2002, The Rock feuded against the WWF's top stars, winning the WWF Championship on several occasions, and eventually crossed over into mainstream popularity, such as a guest appearance on R&B singer Wyclef Jean's track "It Doesn't Matter" and the accompanying video. While still wrestling full-time, Johnson made an appearance as host of the popular sketch comedy TV series Saturday Night Live. The episode was very popular, and showcased Johnson's acting and comedic ability favorably. After this, Johnson started to get offers from Hollywood for a multitude of different projects. He was a guest star on Star Trek:Voyager and That '70s Show, in which he played the role of his father. The Rock's first role in a major film was a limited appearance as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns, and his natural charisma translated well to the silver screen. He made occasional wrestling appearances up to 2004's WrestleMania XX, but has since devoted himself to acting full-time.

The Rock added numerous tattoos to his body over the course of his wrestling career. An early nickname, "The Brahma Bull", came from the steer's head tattoo on his right bicep.

In interviews conducted in 2005, Johnson revealed that his contract with World Wrestling Entertainment expired at the end of 2004. He also stated that he is able to continue using his stage name The Rock as part of a dual-ownership agreement with WWE. Pro Wrestling Insider ( has since reported that Johnson and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon are back on good terms, and he will continue to appear sporadically for the company, as he did after becoming a successful actor. Announcer Jim Ross' Happy Birthday announcement to The Rock on Raw's May 2 broadcast seemed to confirm this, as Ross stated that The Rock is looking forward to future appearances in WWE. It is unknown whether Johnson has signed a new contract, however it is extremely unlikely that he will ever return to wrestling full-time.

Acting career

After Johnson's first role in The Mummy Returns, he reprised his role as The Scorpion King in the 2002 movie of the same name. The movie was generally panned by critics, but was a box-office success, taking in more than $90 million. His five million dollar paycheck for The Scorpion King earned The Rock a listing in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest salary for an actor reciving top billing for the first time. His next role was in The Rundown, a formulaic action/comedy which earned generally favorable reviews from critics initially skeptical of the grappler-turned-actor, but was less financially successful.

In 2004, The Rock starred in a remake of Walking Tall, as war hero-turned-sheriff Chris Vaughn (loosely based on Buford Pusser, the real-life inspiration for the original), who returns to the town where he grew up and rids it of corruption with his trusty two-by-four.

In 2005, The Rock will see more exposure on the big screen as he starred alongside John Travolta and Uma Thurman in Be Cool (where he was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher's crew members for blowing his trailer up into pieces, while shooting the movie), the sequel to Get Shorty, and will star in Spy Hunter, a movie based on the popular video game. He has been approached to play the role of Duke Nukem in a live action Duke Nukem movie, and will star in a movie based on the popular Doom video game series, which recently finished filming. Johnson will also star in the live-action movie adaptation of the Cartoon Network series Johnny Bravo.

In March 2005, The Rock made an appearance on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien. During the interview, Johnson made a remark about his character in Be Cool, the film he was promoting, bringing up the many similarities between himself and the character, mentioning that like his character, he started out a young, struggling actor. He was not as clear as he could have been, and that weekend, VH1's Best Week Ever jumped to the conclusion that Johnson had just come out of the closet.

One of The Rock's most anticipated personal projects is the role of Kamehameha, the warrior chief that united the Hawaiian Islands and governed them as the Kingdom of Hawaii. A former Honolulu resident, The Rock developed an admiration for the king who became known as the Napoleon of the Pacific for his skills in warcraft and diplomacy. The Rock signed to create the movie with Columbia Pictures. Its preliminary title will be King Kamehameha and began the first stages of production in Hawaii in 2003.

Personal Life

Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997. They have a daughter, Simone Alexandra.


Wrestling Profile

  • Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
  • Weight: 275 lbs (125 kg) (in wrestling prime)
  • Birthday: May 2, 1972
  • Hometown: Miami, Florida
  • Trained By: Rocky Johnson, Pat Patterson
  • Professional Debut: 1995
  • Previous Identities: Flex Kavana, Rocky Maivia
  • Previous Managers: Debra


  • "Layeth the smaketh down."
  • "If you smell...what The!"
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth!"
  • "Finally, The Rock has come back to (name of city)."
  • "It doesn't matter what you think!"
  • "Who is this roody-poo?"
  • "It doesn't matter what your name is!"
  • "Who in the blue hell are you?"
  • "The Rock is 'The Most Electrifying Man in all Entertainment!'"
  • "Jabroni!"

Finishing maneuvers

Signature maneuvers

Wrestling championships and accomplishments

WWE Championship
Preceded by:
First reign Followed by:
Preceded by:
Second reign Followed by:
Preceded by:
Third reign Followed by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Preceded by:
Triple H
Fourth reign Followed by:
Triple H
Preceded by:
Triple H
Fifth reign Followed by:
Kurt Angle
Preceded by:
Kurt Angle
Sixth reign Followed by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Preceded by:
The Undertaker
Seventh reign Followed by:
Brock Lesnar

  • He has also won several PWI Awards. He won Most Popular Wrestler in 1999 and 2000 and Wrestler of the Year in 2000. He was involved in the PWI Match of the Year in 1999 (vs. Mankind) and in 2002 (vs. Hulk Hogan).


Autobiography: The Rock Says... 2000 with Joe Layden.

External links


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