Dwayne Johnson is no stranger to the spotlight. Johnson’s father is
Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson who was co-holder of The World Wrestling
Entertainment’s Tag Team Championship. Johnson’s maternal grandfather
was “High Chief” Peter Maivia who was also a professional wrestler.
Johnson was also a member of The University of Miami’s football team
that won a national championship in 1991. After a brief stint in The
Canadian Football League, Johnson threw his hat into the wrestling ring.
In 1996, Johnson got his start in The United States Wrestling
Association as “Flex Kavana” before he made the jump to Vince McMahon’s
then World Wrestling Federation.
At first Johnson was a babyface dubbed “Rocky Maivia” as he took his
father’s first name and his grandfather’s last name. Fans didn’t warm
up to Johnson at first, but he would be on a course for greater things
as “The Rock’. Along with Shawn Michaels, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Johnson was a big part of The WWE’s “Attitude
Era” that once again made McMahon the king of professional wrestling.
What allowed Johnson to appeal to the masses was his charisma and his
numerous interviews in third person while he continuously told
“jabronis” to know their role.
In 1999, Johnson became The WWE’s first black heavyweight champion.
Johnson’s career would never be the same after he hosted NBC’s Saturday
Night Live in 2000. Johnson’s persona came out in several skits on the
show which caught the eyes of the people in Hollywood. Johnson’s first
big role came in 2001 as he was Mathayus in The Mummy Returns. Johnson’s
popularity and ability in front of the camera led to him reprising this
role in 2002 in The Scorpion King as it was the first movie that he was
the featured star.
Johnson has consistently teased his wrestling fans with cameo
appearances here and there since 2002 as the riggers and finances of
starring in films have kept him away from the squared circle.
the 1980’s Hulk Hogan laid the foundation for wrestlers to become
crossover stars and now Johnson has taken it to another level. Hogan
starred in an era where we all said our prayers and ate our vitamins,
but those wrestling fans have grown up and they now have split time in
supporting Johnson in the ring and at the box office.
After the success of The Scorpion King in 2002 which grossed $91
million at the box office, Johnson has gone on to star in such films as
Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, and Fast Five. Johnson has several films on
tap for 2013 which appear to have the potential to pack people in at
the movie theaters as he will star in Fast 6, GI Joe: Retaliation, and
Snitch. With a net worth over $70 million, Johnson has transcended to
Last year at WrestleMania 28, Johnson returned to the ring to take
on John Cena. These two icons battled for over 30 minutes at Sun Life
Stadium in Miami before Johnson pinned Cena. Johnson then returned to
ring in January as he took on The WWE Champion CM Punk at The Royal
Rumble. Johnson defeated Punk for his eighth reign as WWE Champion. All
signs now point to Johnson walking down “the people’s aisle” at
WrestleMania 29 in April at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New
Jersey to defend his title against Cena.
Whether it is delivering “the people’s elbow”, bringing it on the
mic, or establishing himself as one of the best action stars in
Hollywood, Johnson is showing that at the age of 40 he is just starting
to have fun and we definitely smell what he is cooking.