Superstar Rewind: The Rock

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was born on May 2, 1972 to professional wrestler, Rocky Johnson and Ata Johnson. That makes him the grandson of “High Chief” Peter Maivia, who was also a professional wrestler. The Rock grew up as kid being highly influenced by football and wrestling. He began playing football at Bethlehem’s Freedom High School in the highly competitive Lehigh Valley Conference. Later, he accepted a full scholarship from the University of Miami to play defensive tackle, while pursuing a degree in criminal psychology. In 1991, he was sidelined due to a injury and was replaced by fellow Hurricane and future National Football League (NFL) star, Warren Sapp.

It was at this time at the Rock met his ex-wife, Dany Garcia, who also was attending Miami University. After graduating in 1995, The Rock took a shot at wrestling and debut in WWF as “Rocky Maivia”, a ring name that honors his father and grandfather. He was dubbed “The Blue Chipper” and was hailed by Vince Mcmahon as the first third generation superstar in WWF. His clean cut face character garnered the WWF Intercontinental Championship within three months of his debut. Fans, however, quickly grew sick of the one-dimensional “Mr. Nice Guy”, thanks in part to the increasing popularity of the “Attitude Era”. As a result, a regular occurrence during his matches was the fans’ angry chants of “Die Rocky Die!” and “Rocky Sucks!”

He returned to WWF the following year as a heel and joined the Nation of Domination that comprises of Faarooq, D’Lo Brown, and Kama. It was at this time that he shortened his ring name to “The Rock” and started referring to himself in a third person such as “The Rock says…..” The Rock was soon recognized for cutting arguably the best promos in the industry. He later credited his well-versed promo skills in his autobiography to the speech communications classes he had in Miami. The Rock soon left Nation of Domination and joined the faction, The Corporation.

Under the wings of Vince and Shane Mcmahon, The Rock’s popularity soared. He became the WWF champion shortly and started feuding with big names such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Big Show, Mankind and The Undertaker. It was also at this time that he formed the classic partnership with Mick Foley, dubbed the “Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection” Over the next two years, The Rock went solo and started to segment his main event status as a single competitor.

In 2000, he was cast as the Scorpion King in the popular Brendan Fraser’s franchise, The Mummy Returns. The film’s financial success led to his first leading role in the spin-off, The Scorpion King that was shot in 2001 and released in 2002. During the production, The Rock took a hiatus from wrestling for 6 months before returning at Summerslam and got involved in the WCW/ECW invasion storyline. Following the commercial success of the Scorpion King, The Rock took on other films opportunities including The Rundown (2003), Walking Tall (2004) and Be Cool (2004). In 2004, he decided to go full swing into acting and departed on good terms with Vince Mcmahon and WWE. Despite his legendary status in the wrestling biz today, The Rock has only spent 8 years in the business. He has won the Royal Rumble in 2000 and was crowned 9 times heavyweight champion.

Despite his retirement from wrestling, he has continued to entertain the wrestling fans in many ways. In 2007, he cut a promo for Bobby Lashley and Umaga match at WrestleMania 23 that features Donald Trump and Vince McMahon’s “Battle of the Billionaires”. In 2008, he also returned to WWE and inducted his father Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather, Peter Maivia into the WWE Hall of Fame. Lately, The Rock has also cut a promo on the 10th anniversary of SmackDown – talking about how the show was named after him. In an interview with Sports Illustrated to promote his film, The Tooth Fairy, The Rock mentioned that he has plans to come back in WWE and guest host Raw. We shall look forward to that. Till then, if you smell what the…….. cooking?

~ by wrestlingdynasty on July 28, 2010.

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