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Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), better known by his former ring name The Rock, and occasionally credited as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is an American actor and former professional wrestler. Johnson was also a collegiate football player, and in 1991, he was part of the University of Miami's national championship team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, but was cut two months into the season. This led to his decision to become a professional wrestler, like his grandfather, Peter Maivia and his father Rocky Johnson.

He gained mainstream fame as a standout in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), from 1996 to 2004. Johnson was quickly given a push in WWE, first as "Rocky Maivia", and then as "The Rock", a member of the Nation of Domination. Two years after he joined the WWE, Johnson won the WWF Championship, and became one of the most popular wrestlers within the company for his engaging interviews. Since 2001, he has focused on an acting career, though he still makes occasional WWE appearances for promotional purposes.

Johnson was a nine-time world champion in his career, including a record-setting seven-time WWE Champion where he ties current Champion Triple H in most reigns; his last reign was as WWE Undisputed Champion in 2002, and a 2 time WCW Champion. He also won the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and is a former five-time WWE Tag Team Champion. He also was the winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble.

Johnson is also an actor, with his first leading role in 2001, in The Scorpion King. For this film, he received the highest salary for an actor in his first starring role, earning $5.5 million. He has since starred in movies such as Be Cool, The Game Plan, Gridiron Gang, Doom, and Get Smart.

Biography

Early life

Dwayne Johnson, the son of Ata (née Maivia) and professional wrestler "Soulman" Rocky Johnson, was born in Hayward, California. His maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was also a professional wrestler. He is of half Black Canadian, half Samoan heritage (his mother is Samoan and his father is a Black Canadian). For a brief period, Johnson lived in Auckland, New Zealand, with his mother's family. During this time his mother Ata ensured Johnson was exposed to one of the urban Polynesian cultural strongholds of the Southern Hemisphere. Johnson attended Richmond Road Primary School before returning to the U.S. with his parents.

He spent 10th grade at President William McKinley High School in Hawaii. As he entered 11th grade, Johnson's father's job required his relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the state's Lehigh Valley region. He began playing football at Bethlehem's Freedom High School in the highly competitive Lehigh Valley Conference. In addition to playing football at Freedom High School, he also was a member of the high school's track and field and wrestling teams.

Education, football and philanthropy

Johnson received collegiate football scholarship offers from several universities and selected the University of Miami. While the University of Miami football program did not openly recruit Johnson, he entered try-outs as a walk-on for the program and made the team, playing defensive tackle. In 1991, he was part of the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team. After an injury kept him sidelined, Johnson was replaced by fellow Hurricane and future NFL star Warren Sapp.

Johnson met his future wife, Dany Garcia, who also was attending Miami at the time. Garcia, who graduated from the University of Miami in 1992, is a member of the University of Miami's Board of Trustees, and the founder of a Miami-based wealth management firm. The two have remained close to their alma mater, giving a $2 million donation in 2006 to build a living room at the university's alumni center. Johnson graduated from the University of Miami in 1995 with a degree in criminology. On November 10, 2007 he returned to the Orange Bowl in Miami to participate in the festivities surrounding the University of Miami's last home football game at the stadium.

Johnson continued his football career in 1995, joining the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League after being passed over by the NFL, but he was cut two months into the season.

In 2006, Johnson started up "The Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation", which is known for its charitable work with at-risk and terminally ill children. On October 2, 2007, Johnson and his wife donated an additional $1 million to the University of Miami to support the university's football facilities renovation; it was noted as the largest donation ever given to the university's athletics department by former students. The University of Miami plans to rename the Hurricanes' locker room in Johnson's honor.

Personal life and politics

Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997, a day after his 25th birthday. His best man at the wedding was fellow wrestler and long-time family friend Tonga "Haku" Fifita. Johnson and his wife have a daughter, Simone Alexandra, born August 14, 2001. On June 1, 2007, Johnson and Garcia announced that they would be splitting up after 10 years of marriage. They indicated that their parting was amicable and that they would spend the rest of their lives together as best friends.

In 2000, Johnson delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention. Because his mother, Ata Maivia, had royal blood, Samoan King Malietoa Tanumafili II bestowed Johnson with the noble title of Seiuli during his visit to Samoa in July 2004. He is a supporter of the Samoan national rugby team, as the team's website during the run-up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup showed him holding a personalized Manu Samoa jersey with "The Rock" emblazoned on the back.

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

Training and Rocky Maivia (1996)

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 Anoa'i) and cousins, such as Rikishi, Rosey, and Umaga. When he declared his intention to join the family business, his father resisted, but agreed to train his son himself, warning him that he would not go easy on him. With help from veteran wrestler Pat Patterson, Johnson had several tryout matches with WWE in 1996; he defeated The Brooklyn Brawler at a house show, and lost the others to Chris Candido and Owen Hart. Impressed by his talent and charisma, Johnson was signed to a deal after a short stint for "seasoning" in Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association, where he wrestled under the ring name "Flex Kavana". While there, he won the USWA World Tag Team Championship twice with Bart Sawyer in the summer of 1996.

Johnson made his WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, which combined his father and grandfather's ring names; Johnson was initially reluctant to the idea, but was persuaded to go ahead with the name by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross. In addition to tacking on the nickname "The Blue Chipper," the WWF played up his connection to his father and grandfather, calling him the company's first third-generation wrestler.

Johnson, who was first portrayed as a clean-cut babyface, was pushed heavily from the start despite his lack of in-ring experience. He debuted at Survivor Series in November 1996 and was the sole survivor, and he won the Intercontinental Championship from Hunter Hearst Helmsley on Raw on February 13, 1997, after only three months in the company. Fans, however, quickly grew sick of the one-dimensional good guy character, thanks in part to the exploded popularity of Stone Cold Steve Austin. As a result, a regular occurrence during Johnson's matches was the fans' angry chants of "Die Rocky Die!" and "Rocky Sucks!"

Nation of Domination and feuding with DX (1997–1998)

After losing the Intercontinental Championship to Owen Hart on the April 28, 1997 edition of Raw is War, and returning from an injury, Johnson was allowed to turn heel. He joined the Nation of Domination with Faarooq, D'Lo Brown and Kama, using the nickname "'The Rock' Rocky Maivia," which was quickly shortened to just "The Rock." During that time, Johnson attacked and insulted the fans in his promos. In sharp contrast to the overly positive persona of Rocky Maivia, The Rock was a charismatic bully, eventually driving out the group leader, Faarooq in February 1998. The Rock also referred to himself in the third person, starting many sentences with "The Rock says..."

Johnson was soon recognized for cutting arguably the best promos in the industry. In his 2000 autobiography, Johnson attributed this skill to his exceptional performance in speech communications classes at Miami, in which he earned "A" grades. At In Your House: D-Generation X, Austin defeated The Rock in less than six minutes to retain the Intercontinental title. The following night on Raw is War, Austin was ordered by Mr. McMahon to forfeit the WWF Intercontinental Championship, which Austin handed over to The Rock before hitting the Stone Cold Stunner on him. Rock spent the end of 1997 and the beginning of 1998 feuding with both Austin and Ken Shamrock.

Johnson next feuded with Faarooq, who was angry at The Rock for usurping his position. The two had a title match at Over the Edge, where Rock retained the Intercontinental belt. The Rock then moved into a feud with Triple H and D-Generation X. Nation members fought DX while The Rock fought Triple H over the Intercontinental Championship. They first had a two out of three falls match at Fully Loaded for Rock's title, where Rock retained the belt in controversial fashion. This led to a ladder match at SummerSlam where Rock lost the belt. At Breakdown, Rock defeated Ken Shamrock and Mankind in a triple threat steel cage match to become the #1 contender to the WWF Championship before feuding with fellow Nation member Mark Henry, effectively disbanding the Nation.

The Corporation (1998–1999)

Johnson's popularity as The Rock propelled him to the WWF Championship. The Rock began to conduct many entertaining interviews, and thus he got over with the fans. Fan reaction effectively turned him face, and he began to feud with Mr. McMahon, who said he has a "problem with the people" and thus he should target the "People's Champion" (as The Rock claimed himself to be). A double-turn occurred at Survivor Series, when The Rock defeated the then-heel Mankind in the finals of the "Deadly Game" tournament for the vacant WWF Championship, to become the first world heavyweight champion of African American descent in WWF history and the youngest WWF Champion at the time. At the end of the match, The Rock applied a Sharpshooter on Mankind. As he did this, McMahon called for the bell to be rung and then ordered for The Rock to be declared the winner.

With the plan coming to fruition, The Rock turned heel again and sided with Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of The Corporation stable. This was also a start of a double turn, as Mankind was kicked out of The Corporation and made a face turn. Later, The Rock had his own pay-per view Rock Bottom: In Your House where he had a rematch against Mankind for the WWF Championship. Mankind won by submission but Mr. McMahon said that since The Rock did not tap out that The Rock would retain his title. The Rock began a feud with Mankind over the WWF Championship, during which the title changed hands back and forth between the two, first during the main event of the January 4, 1999 edition of Raw is War, when Mankind defeated The Rock with the help of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock captured his second WWF Championship in an "I Quit" Match at Royal Rumble in early 1999, when a pre-recorded sample of Mankind saying "I quit" from an interview segment was played over the sound system. This latest reign did not last long, however. In a match that counter-programmed the Super Bowl halftime show on January 31, 1999, Mankind pinned The Rock using a forklift in an Empty Arena Match where the competitors used everything from bags of popcorn to garbage to punish each other. This feud lasted until February 15 edition of Raw is War, where The Rock won his third WWF Championship in a ladder match after The Big Show chokeslammed Mankind off a ladder.

With Mankind out of the way, The Rock had to defend his WWF Championship at WrestleMania XV, but lost the belt to Austin. Rock lost the title rematch to Austin at Backlash: In Your House. WWF fans began to cheer The Rock despite him being a heel, due to his comedic interviews, promos and segments which mocked wrestlers and announcers and made him popular to the fans. Rock eventually made his second face turn after being betrayed by Shane McMahon and established a feud with The Undertaker, Triple H and the Corporate Ministry. During this feud, he sometimes found himself fighting alongside Steve Austin. Rock defeated Triple H at Over the Edge before losing to WWF Champion Undertaker at King of the Ring. He continued his rivalry with Triple H, after losing to him in a #1 contender's match at Fully Loaded.

The Rock 'n' Sock Connection (1999)

Later on, still as a face, besides feuding with Triple H, The Rock also feuded with Mr. Ass over the summer of 1999, including a "Kiss My Ass" match at SummerSlam. In the fall of the same year, The Rock found himself in several singles and tag championship opportunities. He teamed with former enemy Mankind to create the Rock 'n' Sock Connection, after The Rock challenged the team of The Undertaker and The Big Show, which led to Mankind offering his help. The Rock accepted, and they went on to win the WWF Tag Team Championship three times. Aside from the championships, the team was regarded as one of the most entertaining teams in history, as Mankind imitated The Rock, who ignored Mankind, with both wrestlers having support from the crowd. The team was also involved in a segment which occurred on Raw is War called "This Is Your Life," in which Mankind brought out people from The Rock's past, such as his high school girlfriend and gym teacher. The segment earned an 8.4 Nielsen rating and is, to this day, one of the single highest rated segments in terms of viewership in Raw history.

Feuds for the WWF Championship (2000–2001)

At Royal Rumble in early 2000, The Rock entered in the Royal Rumble match and lasted until he and The Big Show were the final two men. In the final moment of the match, The Big Show was seemingly going to dump The Rock over the top rope in a running powerslam-like position, but when they got to the apron The Rock reversed the throw, sending the Big Show to the outside floor and then came back up. The Rock's feet, however, hit the floor first, although those watching the event did not see that. The Big Show attempted to prove that The Rock's feet, not his, touched the ground first. He provided video footage showing that he was the rightful winner. Despite that, the decision that The Rock had won the Rumble match could not be reversed, so a number one contender's match for the WWF Championship at No Way Out was held, which saw the Big Show come out on top after Shane McMahon interfered, knocking The Rock in the head with a steel chair as he attempted to finish off his opponent with a People's Elbow. The Rock later defeated The Big Show on March 13, 2000 edition of Raw is War to regain the right to face the WWF Champion, Triple H, at WrestleMania 2000 in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match where The Big Show and Mick Foley competed, as well. Each competitor had a McMahon in their corner; for Triple H, his on-screen wife and then off-screen girlfriend Stephanie McMahon; for Mick Foley, the matriarch Linda McMahon; for The Rock, Vince McMahon; and in Big Show's corner, Shane McMahon. Triple H retained the title when Vince turned on The Rock, giving him two chair shots, allowing Triple H to pin The Rock for the three-count.

Over the next couple of months The Rock feuded with Triple H over the WWF Championship. A month after the match at WrestleMania 2000, The Rock had a rematch with Triple H at Backlash in which The Rock won his fourth WWF Championship, after Stone Cold Steve Austin made a brief return and intervened on The Rock's behalf. Later, at Judgment Day, the two had an Iron Man match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee, that saw The Undertaker return. The Rock got disqualified and lost the title, as a result of The Undertaker attacking Triple H. The following night on Raw is War, The Rock got his revenge, taking out the entire McMahon-Helmsley Faction with the help of The Undertaker. He later won his fifth WWF Championship at King of the Ring in a tag team match, which saw him team up with Kane and The Undertaker to fight Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Triple H. He successfully defended the championship against superstars such as Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Kane, The Undertaker, and Shane McMahon.

The Rock later lost the WWF Championship to Angle at No Mercy in October. During this time, he feuded with Rikishi and defeated him at Survivor Series. He also participated in a six-man Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon for the WWF Championship, in which Kurt Angle retained the title. Around that same time, Rock held the WWF Tag Team Championship with The Undertaker and the duo exchanged the titles with Edge and Christian.

In 2001, The Rock continued his feud with Angle over the WWF Championship and eventually settled it at No Way Out. After a battle that saw both wrestlers kick out of each other's finishers, The Rock finally came out on top and regained the WWF Championship. Afterwards, he feuded with the Royal Rumble winner, Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock went into WrestleMania X-Seven as the WWF Champion, but he was defeated after a shocking heel turn from Austin, who used Mr. McMahon to win the title. During a Steel Cage match with Austin in a rematch for the WWF title on the following night's Raw is War, Triple H came down to the ring with a sledgehammer. Many thought he was coming to aid The Rock, due to the hatred between Austin and Triple H (and an argument with Vince earlier in the night), but it transpired that he had joined the Austin/McMahon partnership by hitting The Rock instead. Austin and Triple H became a Tag Team and called themselves "The Two-Man Power Trip. Rock went on to film the movie "The Mummy Returns" after a storyline suspension.

The Invasion and the return back from Hollywood (2001–2002)

He returned in late July 2001 and had to decide if he wanted to join the WWF or The Alliance during The Invasion, eventually siding with the WWF. At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship. He lost the WCW title to Chris Jericho, with whom he won the WWF Tag Team Championship around the same time, at No Mercy.

Rock defeated Jericho on November 5 edition of Raw is War for his second WCW Championship. The Rock ultimately decided to join the WWF in its battle against The Alliance and was involved in a "Winner Takes All" match at Survivor Series, which saw him end up one on one with Steve Austin. The Rock seemed to be superior than Austin, until Chris Jericho, who was also a member of team WWF and was eliminated a few minutes before that point, came inside the ring and attacked The Rock. Austin took advantage of that and tried to defeat The Rock, but Kurt Angle, a supposed teammate of Austin, proved out to be a mole planted by Vince McMahon and hit Austin in the head with a title belt, allowing The Rock to eliminate him, destroying The Alliance once and for all. The Rock closed out the year losing the WCW Championship to Chris Jericho at Vengeance as Jericho became the Undisputed WWF Champion.

In early 2002, Rock feuded with Jericho and challenged him for the Undisputed Championship at Royal Rumble, but lost the match. After losing to Jericho, Rock engaged in feuds and wrestled the likes of The Undertaker at No Way Out and Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8. On July 21, The Rock won his record-breaking seventh and final WWE Championship, which was then under the name "WWE Undisputed Championship". He defeated Kurt Angle and The Undertaker in a match at Vengeance, after he hit the Rock Bottom on Angle. The Rock successfully defended the title at Global Warning against Triple H and Brock Lesnar by pinning Triple H, who then saved The Rock after Lesnar tried to ambush him after the match. Johnson finally dropped the WWE Undisputed Championship to Lesnar at SummerSlam, ending his final championship reign.

Final heel turn (2003)

The Rock's last heel turn began on SmackDown! in January 2003, where he publicly criticized Hulk Hogan. Their WrestleMania X8 rematch at No Way Out ended with The Rock claiming victory again, with assistance from Vince McMahon and Sylvain Grenier. The Rock later drafted himself to Raw and started a feud with The Hurricane and other babyfaces. He also had a comical gimmick, where he played the guitar and sang songs mocking the host city for the event, which culminated in a "Rock concert" that took place during the main event of the March 24, 2003 edition of Raw, where The Rock mocked host city Sacramento because of the Sacramento Kings' inability to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. After putting down the city of Sacramento and singing about how he intended to leave as soon as possible, he concluded the song with, "I'll be sure to come back when the Lakers beat the Kings in May!".

When Stone Cold Steve Austin returned, they once again feuded, and The Rock defeated Austin at WrestleMania XIX, which was Austin's last major appearance in a wrestling role. The Rock then had a feud with former WCW star Bill Goldberg, to whom Rock lost at Backlash. The Rock then turned face once more by engaging in a one night feud against Chris Jericho and then-heel, Christian. During his previous heel turn, he had declared Christian as his favorite wrestler, leading Christian to begin calling himself the "new people's champion" and referring to his fans as "his peeps."

Sporadic appearances (2004–2008)

The Rock made occasional wrestling appearances up to 2004's WrestleMania XX, when the storyline revolving around Mick Foley had him brought back to help in his feud with Evolution (Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista). One humorous in-ring segment involved The Rock hosting his own version of "This Is Your Life" for Foley on the March 8, 2004 edition of Raw. Rock reunited with Foley after five years, as Rock 'n' Sock Connection and the duo went on to lose to Orton, Flair and Batista at WrestleMania XX in a handicap match when Orton pinned Foley with a RKO. As of 2008, this was Rock's last match.

He made sporadic appearances in WWE following WrestleMania, including standing up for Eugene, making a cameo appearance in his home-town of Miami and helping Foley turn back La Résistance. He hosted a "Pie-Eating Contest" during the Diva Search 2004 and ended the segment by giving Jonathan Coachman a Rock Bottom and a People's Elbow. After this appearance, Johnson reported in several interviews that he was no longer under contract with WWE. He also reported that the reason he was able to continue using the name "The Rock" was part of a dual ownership between him and WWE.

On March 12, 2007, The Rock made an appearance on WWE after a near three year absence, appearing on Raw via a pre-taped segment on the titantron. He correctly "predicted" that Bobby Lashley would defeat Umaga at WrestleMania 23 in Donald Trump and Vince McMahon's "Battle of the Billionaires" match.

On March 29, 2008, The Rock inducted his father, Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather, Peter Maivia into the WWE Hall of Fame. During his induction speech he roasted WWE superstars such as Santino Marella, John Cena, Chris Jericho, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

In wrestling

  • Finishing and signature moves

  • Managers
  • Nicknames
    • The People's Champion
    • The Brahma Bull
    • The Corporate Champion
    • The Great One
    • The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment
    • Rocky
  • Entrance themes
    • "Destiny" by Jim Johnston (1996–1997)
    • "Know Your Role" by Jim Johnston (1999–2001, 2004–present)
    • "If Ya Smell..." by Jim Johnston (2001–February 2003)

    Relatives in wrestling

    Championships and accomplishments

    1Won during The Invasion
    ²Final reign was as WWE Undisputed Champion

    Television and movie career

    The success of Johnson's in-ring character allowed him to cross over into mainstream popularity, and he appeared on Wyclef Jean's 2000 single "It Doesn't Matter" and the accompanying video. That same year, he hosted Saturday Night Live. Fellow wrestlers Triple H, The Big Show, and Mick Foley appeared on the show. According to Johnson, it was due to the success of that episode that he began receiving offers from Hollywood studios.

    He filmed guest roles on Star Trek: Voyager and That '70s Show where he played his father, Rocky Johnson. His motion picture debut was a brief appearance as The Scorpion King in the opening of The Mummy Returns. The film's financial success led to his first leading role starring in the follow-up, The Scorpion King. He was considered for the lead in a feature-length Johnny Bravo film, but it was canceled during production.

    Since his last WWE match in 2004, he has quit wrestling and focused solely on acting. He also continued to make television appearances, including Disney Channel's hit show Cory in the House, in the episode entitled “Never The Dwayne Shall Meet.” Though Johnson is no longer active with WWE, the company continues to sell "The Rock" merchandise, and Johnson continues to be featured prominently in the opening montages of their television programming. The Rock has continued to show a multitude of his acting/talent skills including movie roles like the cocky famous football player Joe Kingman in The Game Plan, and in Get Smart where he played Agent 23.

    Johnson was featured in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest salary as an actor in his first starring role, receiving $5.5 million. He appeared at the 80th Academy Awards on February 24, 2008 as a presenter for the Best Visual Effects award. He was nominated for Favorite Movie Actor at Nickelodeon's 2008 Kids' Choice Awards for his role in The Game Plan, but lost out to Johnny Depp, who won for his performance in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

    Filmography

    Year Title Role Notes Gross Revenue
    1999 Beyond the Mat Himself non-fiction documentary 2,047,570 USD
    That '70s Show (TV series) Rocky Johnson Episode: "That Wrestling Show"
    The Net (TV series) Brody Episode: "Last Man Standing"
    2000 Longshot The Mugger
    Star Trek: Voyager (TV series) The Champion Episode: "Tsunkatse"
    2001 The Mummy Returns Mathayus the Scorpion King 202,007,640 USD
    2002 The Scorpion King Mathayus the Scorpion King Salary 5,500,000 USD 90,341,670 USD
    2003 The Rundown Beck Salary 12,500,000 USD 47,592,825 USD
    2004 Walking Tall Chris Vaughn Salary 15,000,000 USD 45,860,039 USD
    2005 Be Cool Elliot Wilhelm Salary 4,500,000 USD 55,808,744 USD
    Doom Sarge Salary 4,500,000 USD 28,031,250 USD
    2006 Gridiron Gang Sean Porter 38,432,823 USD
    2007 Cory in the House/Hannah Montana Himself Part of the Rock Block
    Reno 911!: Miami Agent Rick Smith (cameo) 21,659,638 USD
    The Game Plan Joe Kingman Last movie to use ring name "The Rock" 110,776,944 USD
    Southland Tales Boxer Santaros Released November 14 2007 275,380 USD
    2008 Get Smart Agent 23 201,151,640 USD
    2009 Race to Witch Mountain Las Vegas cab driver filming
    Planet 51 Capt. Charles 'Chuck' Baker (voice) filming
    Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam Black adam pre-production
    The Tooth Fairy Derek Thompson filming

    Notes

    External links

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