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Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), additionally known by his ring name The Rock, is an American and Canadian actor, producer and semi-retired professional wrestler, signed with WWE. Johnson was a college football player for the University of Miami, winning a national championship on the 1991 Miami Hurricanes football team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season. This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson (from whom he additionally inherited his Canadian citizenship).[7]

Originally billed as "Rocky Maivia", he gained mainstream fame in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF/E) from 1996 to 2004 as a major figure in the company's Attitude Era, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He returned to wrestling part-time for WWE from 2011 to 2013 and continues to make sporadic non-wrestling appearances for the company. As of July 2016, he has had 17 championship reigns in WWE, including 10 as a world champion, winning the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice. He won the Intercontinental Championship twice and the WWF Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history, and won the 2000 Royal Rumble.

The Rock is considered by a large number of to be the biggest superstar in WWE history,[9][10] as well as one of the top box office draws in wrestling history. WWE legend Hulk Hogan called The Rock "the biggest superstar in this business", 15-time world champion John Cena described him as "the biggest superstar in the history of WWE"[11] and "the most successful WWE superstar ever".[12] WCW icon Diamond Dallas Page described him as "the biggest star in our business, of all time".[13] Vince Russo, the head writer of WWE's most popular era, The Attitude Era, stated: "I don't think there's ever going to be a star in the history of this business that's bigger than The Rock".[14] The Rock is additionally the first African-American WWE champion in the history of the company.[15][16][17]

Johnson's autobiography The Rock Says..., co-written with Joe Layden, was published in 2000. It debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list, spent 20 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and sold 720,000 copies in hardcover alone.[18][19] Johnson's first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this role, he was paid US $5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first starring role.[21] He has after appeared in various films, and become known for his ability to reinvigorate film franchises. Perhaps his greatest success in his acting career can be sourced to his role as Luke Hobbs in The Fast and the Furious franchise. He hosted and produced The Hero, a reality competition series; and has after continued to produce TV series and films through his production company Seven Bucks Productions, each of which he additionally stars in. Forbes listed Dwayne Johnson #25 in the Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities in 2013.[22] Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016.[23]

 

 

Early life

Johnson began life in Hayward, California, the son of Ata Johnson (née Maivia) and professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. His maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was additionally a wrestler. His maternal grandmother, Lia Maivia, was one of wrestling's few female professional promoters, taking over Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after her husband's death in 1982, until 1988.[24] His cousin, Savelina Fanene, is additionally a wrestler currently working for WWE.[25] His father is a Black Nova Scotian, and his mother is of Samoan heritage.[26][27] His father was part of the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team championship in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).[28] Through Maivia, he's considered a non-blood relative of the Anoa'i wrestling family.[30][31][4][4][4][4][4][4][4][4][4]

Johnson briefly lived in the suburb of Grey Lynn in Auckland, New Zealand, with his mother's family.[41] He attended Richmond Road Primary School, before returning to the United States with his parents.[41] Johnson spent tenth grade at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. As he entered eleventh grade, his father's job required his relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He began playing football at Freedom High School in the East Penn Conference.[27] He was additionally a member of the school's track and field and wrestling teams.[27]

Johnson was a promising football prospect and received offers from a large number of Division I collegiate programs. He decided upon a full scholarship from the University of Miami to play defensive tackle. In 1991, he was on the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team.[42] After an injury kept him sidelined, he was replaced by future National Football League (NFL) star Warren Sapp.[27] While attending Miami, Johnson met his future wife, Dany Garcia, who graduated from the university in 1992 and later became a member of its Board of Trustees.[44] She additionally founded a Miami-based wealth management firm. In 2006, the couple donated $2 million to build a living room at the University's Newman Alumni Center.

Johnson graduated from Miami in 1995, with a Bachelor of General Studies degree in criminology and physiology.[45] He joined the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1995. He was on the practice roster as a backup linebacker but was cut two months into the season.[27][47][48] On November 10, 2007, Johnson returned to the Miami Orange Bowl to participate in the festivities surrounding the University of Miami's last home football game at the stadium.

Professional wrestling career

Training (1995–1996)

Like his father and grandfather, several of Johnson's additional (non-blood) relatives are or were professional wrestlers, including his uncles, Afa and Sika Anoaʻi (The Wild Samoans) and his cousins, Rodney (Yokozuna), Solofa (Rikishi), Matt (Rosey) and Eddie (Umaga).[41] When Johnson declared his intent to become a wrestler, his father initially resisted, but then agreed to train him himself, warning that he wouldn't go easy on him.[27] Veteran wrestler Pat Patterson got Johnson several tryout matches with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1996. Under his real name, he defeated The Brooklyn Brawler at a house show and lost the additional matches to Chris Candido and Owen Hart.[41] After wrestling at Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association, as "Flex Kavana",[5] and winning the USWA World Tag Team Championship twice with Bart Sawyer in the summer of 1996, Johnson signed a WWF contract. He received additional training from Tom Prichard, alongside Achim Albrecht and Mark Henry.[6]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

Rocky Maivia (1996–1997)

Johnson made his WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names, although his real name was acknowledged by the announcers. He was initially reluctant to take this ring name but was persuaded by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.[24] He was given the nickname "The Blue Chipper", and his lineage was played to on TV, where he was hyped as the WWF's first third-generation wrestler.[3] Maivia, a clean-cut face character, was pushed heavily from the start notwithstanding his wrestling inexperience. He debuted on Monday Night Raw as a member of "The Stalker" Barry Windham's entourage on November 4, 1996, and had his first match at Survivor Series on November 17, in an eight-man elimination tag match; he was the sole survivor.[49] WWF fans generally rejected him because of his cheesy character. On February 13, 1997, he won the Intercontinental Championship from Hunter Hearst Helmsley on Monday Night Raw.[51][52] Maivia successfully defended the title at In Your House 12: It's Time against Salvatore Sincere, at In Your House 13: Final Four against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and at WrestleMania 13 against The Sultan. He defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a title defense on March 31 episode of Raw.[53] On April 20, at In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, he lost to Savio Vega by countout, retaining the title for the final time. Audiences became increasingly hostile toward Maivia, with chants of "Die, Rocky, die!" and "Rocky sucks!" being heard throughout his matches.[2][5][24]

The Nation of Domination (1997–1998)

After losing the Intercontinental Championship to Owen Hart on April 28, 1997 Raw Is War,[55] and suffering a knee injury in a match against Mankind,[2] Maivia returned as a heel. Along with Faarooq, D'Lo Brown, and Kama, he formed a stable called the Nation of Domination.[56] Throughout this time, he refused to acknowledge the "Rocky Maivia" name, instead referring to himself in the third person as "The Rock". He insulted the audience in his promos, as well as WWF television interviewers, once calling Kevin Kelly an "ugly hermaphrodite".[56]

At D-Generation X: In Your House, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock in under six minutes to retain the Intercontinental Championship.[57] The next night, on Raw Is War, Austin was ordered by Mr. McMahon to defend the title in a rematch, but forfeited it to The Rock instead, handing him the belt before hitting him with the Stone Cold Stunner.[59][60] The Rock feuded with Austin and Ken Shamrock through the end of 1997 and beginning of 1998.[7][7] In March 1998, The Rock overthrew Faarooq as leader of the Nation of Domination, sparking a feud. He successfully defended the Intercontinental title against Faarooq at Over the Edge: In Your House on May 31, 1998.[7]

He and The Nation then feuded with Triple H and D-Generation X (DX). The two stable leaders first had a two out of three falls match at Fully Loaded: In Your House for the Intercontinental title, which The Rock retained in controversial fashion.[7] This led to a ladder match at SummerSlam, in which Triple H won the title.[7] At Breakdown: In Your House, The Rock defeated Ken Shamrock and Mankind in a triple threat steel cage match to become the number one contender for the WWF Championship. He then feuded with fellow Nation member Mark Henry, effectively breaking up the stable.[7][7]

The Corporation (1998–1999)

The Rock's entertaining promos and ensuing popularity led to a face turn, in which he called himself "The People's Champion". This led to a feud with Mr. McMahon, who said he had "a problem with the people" and would thus target "The People's Champion". A double turn occurred at Survivor Series, when The Rock defeated McMahon's associate, Mankind, in the finals of the "Deadly Game" tournament[70] for the vacant WWF Championship in a fashion reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob.[70][72][72] The Rock allied with Vince and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of their stable, The Corporation.[70][73]

On December 13, 1998, at the pay-per-view named for him, Rock Bottom: In Your House, The Rock had a rematch with Mankind for the WWF Championship. Mankind appeared to win the match when The Rock passed out in the Mandible Claw submission move, but Mr. McMahon ruled that after The Rock didn't tap out, he retained his title.[73][74] The Rock continued to feud with Mankind over the WWF Championship, which was traded back and forth between them. First, in the main event of January 4, 1999 Raw Is War, Mankind defeated The Rock after interference from Steve Austin.[75] Then, in an "I Quit" match at Royal Rumble on January 24, The Rock regained the title, when a recording of Mankind saying "I quit" from an earlier interview was played over the PA system.[76][77] On Halftime Heat (an episode of Sunday Night Heat aired in the same timeslot as the Super Bowl XXXIII halftime show) on January 31, Mankind pinned The Rock using a forklift truck in an empty arena match.[79] The two faced off again, at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House, in a last man standing match. The bout ended in a draw, meaning Mankind retained the title. Their feud ended on February 15 Raw Is War, when The Rock won his third WWF Championship in a ladder match after Big Show chokeslammed Mankind off the ladder.[81][82]

The Rock lost the WWF Championship to Steve Austin at WrestleMania XV.[84] He additionally lost the title rematch at Backlash: In Your House.[86] Though he was a heel, his amusing verbal skills led a large number of fans to cheer The Rock. He turned face again after Shane McMahon betrayed him, and began a feud with Triple H, The Undertaker, and The Corporate Ministry. He defeated Triple H at Over the Edge, then lost to the WWF Champion, The Undertaker, at King of the Ring.[87][89] He lost a number one contender's match to Triple H at Fully Loaded, after interference from Mr. Ass.[90] This sparked a feud with Mr. Ass, culminating in a "Kiss My Ass" match at SummerSlam, which The Rock won.[92]

The People's Champion (1999–2001)

Toward the latter part of 1999, The Rock had several singles and tag team championship opportunities. He teamed with former enemy Mankind as The Rock 'n' Sock Connection, after he challenged WWF Tag Team Champions The Undertaker and Big Show, and Mankind offered his help. They won the title for the first of three times.[93][94][95] The two performed numerous comedic skits together, including one on Raw Is War called "This Is Your Life" (based on the TV show), in which Mankind produced people from The Rock's past, like his high school girlfriend and his high school football coach. The segment earned an 8.4 Nielsen rating, one of the highest ratings ever for a Raw segment.[93][96]

At Royal Rumble on January 23, 2000, The Rock entered the Royal Rumble match and was one of the final two remaining, along with Big Show; Show seemingly intended to throw The Rock over the top rope in a running powerslam-like position, but Rock countered the move on the ring apron, sending Big Show to the floor before re-entering the ring as the winner.[97] Notwithstanding The Rock's feet hit the floor first, although those watching the event on TV didn't see that, until Big Show proved this with additional video footage, and claimed to be the rightful winner. Despite this proof, the original decision couldn't be reversed, so a number one contender's match for the WWF Championship was held at No Way Out, which Big Show won after Shane McMahon interfered and hit The Rock in the head with a steel chair as he attempted to execute a People's Elbow.[99] The Rock defeated Big Show on March 13 episode 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, additionally including Big Show and Mick Foley.[100][102] Each wrestler had a McMahon in his corner; Triple H had his wife, Stephanie, Foley had Linda, The Rock had Vince, and Big Show had Shane.[102][104] Triple H retained the title after Vince betrayed The Rock by hitting him with a chair.[104][105]

Over the next few months, The Rock feuded with Triple H over the WWF Championship. On April 30, at Backlash, The Rock defeated Triple H for his fourth WWF Championship reign, after Steve Austin intervened on The Rock's behalf.[107][108] On 21 May, at Judgment Day, the two had an Iron Man match, with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.[110] With the score tied at five falls each, and with seconds left on the time limit, The Rock was disqualified when The Undertaker attacked Triple H, giving Triple H the 6–5 win and the title.[110] The next night on Raw is War, The Rock got his revenge, taking out the entire McMahon-Helmsley Faction with The Undertaker's help.[112] He won the WWF Championship for a fifth time at King of the Ring on June 25, by scoring the winning pin in a tag team match, teamed with Kane and The Undertaker against Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Triple H.[114][115] He successfully defended the championship against Chris Benoit at Fully Loaded, Kurt Angle and Triple H at SummerSlam, and Benoit, Kane, and The Undertaker at Unforgiven.[116]

The Rock lost the WWF Championship to Angle at No Mercy in October.[118] Around this time, he feuded with Rikishi, and defeated him at Survivor Series.[120] He wrestled a six-man Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship at Armageddon, which Kurt Angle won to retain the title.[122] On December 18 on Raw, The Rock won the WWF Tag Team Championship with The Undertaker, defeating Edge and Christian, then losing it back to them the next night at a SmackDown! taping.[123] In 2001, The Rock continued to feud with Angle over the WWF Championship, culminating at No Way Out in February, where he pinned Angle to win the WWF Championship for a sixth time.[125][126]

He then feuded with the Royal Rumble winner, Steve Austin. The Rock lost the title to Austin at WrestleMania X-Seven after Austin allied with Mr. McMahon, who interfered on his behalf.[128] On the next night's Raw Is War, throughout a steel cage title rematch, Triple H came to the ring with a sledgehammer and it seemed he would help The Rock, because of the rivalry between Austin and Triple H (and an argument with McMahon earlier in the night), but he attacked him instead, allying with McMahon and Austin.[130] Austin and Triple H formed a tag team called The Power Trip,[12] while The Rock was indefinitely suspended. Johnson used this time off to act in the movie The Mummy Returns.[5]

The Invasion (2001–2002)

The Rock returned to the WWF in late July 2001, and had to decide whether to join the WWF or The Alliance (a group of former WCW and ECW wrestlers) throughout The Invasion, eventually siding with the WWF. At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship.[133][12] He lost the title to Chris Jericho at No Mercy.[136][12] The next night on Raw, he teamed with Jericho to win the WWF Tag Team Championship from The Dudley Boyz.[12]

The Rock defeated Jericho on November 5 episode of Raw for his second WCW Championship.[12] As part of the WWF's battle against The Alliance, The Rock wrestled in a "winner takes all" ten-man elimination match at Survivor Series. In the end, it came down to a one-on-one with Steve Austin (who had recently joined The Alliance). The Rock seemed to have the upper hand, until Jericho (a member of Team WWF, who was eliminated a few minutes earlier), entered the ring and attacked The Rock. Austin tried to capitalise on this by pinning The Rock, but Kurt Angle, a Team Alliance member, revealed his true allegiance by hitting Austin in the head with a title belt. The Rock then pinned Austin, forcing The Alliance to disband.[141]

The Rock closed out 2001 by losing the WCW Championship at Vengeance to Chris Jericho, who would unify the WWF and WCW titles later that night.[143] The Rock unsuccessfully challenged Jericho for both titles, now the Undisputed WWF Championship, at Royal Rumble, ending their feud.[144] The Rock defeated The Undertaker at No Way Out.[146] Three weeks before WrestleMania, The Rock headlined WWE's Asian tour to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. The first show was in Yokahama Arena and had sold 18,000 tickets in sixty minutes. Jericho, who was booked to face him for all three shows, said he brought out the best in him and described his reaction as "one of the loudest I'd ever heard in my career. It was as if Elvis had joined The Beatles and all of them were wearing Godzilla costumes."[13] He then feuded with the New World Order, after challenging Hollywood Hulk Hogan to a match at WrestleMania X8. The match was billed as icon versus icon, with both men representing the top tier of two generations of wrestling; ultimately Rock pinned Hogan at WrestleMania X8.[149] After the nWo turned on Hogan for losing the match, The Rock allied with him and then took a short sabbatical from wrestling.[13]

Hollywood gimmick (2002–2003)

When he returned, The Rock won his (then) record-breaking seventh WWF Championship (which had been renamed the Undisputed WWE Championship)[152] at Vengeance, defeating Kurt Angle and The Undertaker in a Triple Threat match.[152][154] He successfully defended the title at Global Warning against Triple H and Brock Lesnar by pinning Triple H. After the match, Lesnar attacked The Rock, until Triple H saved him.[13] At SummerSlam, after interference from Lesnar's manager, Paul Heyman, and the use of a steel chair, Rock lost the WWE Championship to Lesnar along with the record for the youngest WWE Champion, which Rock had set in 1998.

Following the loss against Lesnar, The Rock publicly declared that whether or not the crowd booed him he would always be the People's Champion, criticising the fans in the arena and again taking a sabbatical from wrestling in order to focus on his film career.[157]

The Rock returned on January 30, 2003 episode of SmackDown! to publicly criticise Hulk Hogan and make it clear that because of the success of his Hollywood career, WWE was no longer a priority. This reestablished him as a heel.[13] The Rock defeated Hogan again at No Way Out[160] and drafted himself to the Raw brand where he had various feuds, including one with The Hurricane.[14] He additionally performed "Rock concerts", segments in which he played the guitar and mocked the show's host city.[162]

After failing to win number one contendership for the World Heavyweight Championship, The Rock turned his attention to Steve Austin who, to The Rock's chagrin, had been chosen as "Superstar of the Decade". This led to a match at WrestleMania XIX, which called back to their previous two WrestleMania encounters, both of which Austin had won. The Rock won after delivering three consecutive Rock Bottoms, ending their long-running feud in what turned out to be Austin's final match.[163]

The next night, Raw was billed as "The Rock Appreciation Night", in honor of his victory over Austin. That night, he was attacked by a debuting Goldberg. At Backlash, Goldberg defeated The Rock, who then left WWE to focus on his film career.[165]

Final feuds and departure (2003–2004)

The Rock then occasionally returned to WWE in non-wrestling roles, gradually turning face again by engaging in one night feuds against heels like Chris Jericho and Christian.[166][166][14] The Rock aided Mick Foley in his feud against Evolution,[3][14] leading to a reunion of The Rock 'n' Sock Connection. They faced Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista in a handicap match at WrestleMania XX, losing when Orton pinned Foley after the RKO.[170] The Rock appeared in WWE sporadically following WrestleMania XX. He stood up for Eugene, made a cameo in his hometown of Miami and helped Mick Foley turn back La Résistance.[2] In 2004, he hosted a pie-eating contest, as part of the WWE Diva Search and ended the segment by giving Jonathan Coachman a spinebuster and a People's Elbow.[2] After this, he stated in several interviews that he was no longer under contract to WWE.[2] He stated that he would continue using the trademarked name "The Rock", per a dual ownership deal between him and WWE.

Sporadic appearances (2004−2009)

On August 23, 2004 episode of Raw, The Rock returned and took out Jonathan Coachman and La Résistance. In October 2005, The Rock did a tell all interview with WWE.com, he talked his contract with WWE, movies and feelings on a dream match with Shawn Michaels.[14] On March 12, 2007, The Rock appeared on a WWE show after nearly three years, via a pre-taped promo shown throughout Raw. He correctly predicted that Bobby Lashley would defeat Umaga at WrestleMania 23 in Donald Trump and Vince McMahon's "Battle of the Billionaires" match.[14] On March 29, 2008, The Rock inducted his father, Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather, Peter Maivia, into the WWE Hall of Fame. Throughout his induction speech, he roasted wrestlers John Cena, Santino Marella, Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.[15] In September 2009, he appeared at a World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) show to support the pro wrestling debut of Sarona Snuka, the daughter of his long-time friend and mentor Jimmy Snuka.[15] On October 2, 2009, the ten-year anniversary of SmackDown, The Rock (with his usual flattop hair shaved off) cut a promo via pre-recorded video.

Return to WWE

Feud with John Cena (2011–2012)

On the February 14, 2011 episode of Raw, The Rock was revealed as the host of WrestleMania XXVII, appearing live on Raw for the first time in almost seven years. Throughout a lengthy promo, he addressed the fans, Michael Cole, The Miz and John Cena, calling Cena a "big fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles", inspiring a popular crowd chant and sign.[15] The Rock claimed to love wrestling, having been born into the business, a claim Cena argued.[15] After numerous appearances via satellite, The Rock appeared live on the Raw before WrestleMania XXVII to confront Cena, with whom he had been feuding through Twitter, making fun of Cena's clothing and calling him a "homeless Power Ranger" and "Vanilla Ice". After he and Cena exchanged insults, The Miz and Alex Riley appeared and attacked The Rock; he fended off Miz and Riley, only for Cena to blindside him with an Attitude Adjustment.[15]

On April 3 at WrestleMania XXVII, The Rock opened the show by cutting a promo. After appearing in numerous backstage segments, The Rock came to ringside to restart the main event between Cena and The Miz as a No Disqualification match, after it had ended in a draw. As revenge for the Attitude Adjustment Cena had given him on Raw, Rock hit Cena with the Rock Bottom, allowing The Miz to pin him and retain the WWE Championship. After the match, Rock attacked Miz and hit him with the People's Elbow.[15] The following night on Raw, Cena challenged The Rock to a match at WrestleMania XXVIII the next year, which Rock accepted. They then worked together to fend off an attack by The Corre, which at the time consisted of Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, and Ezekiel Jackson.[15] The Rock appeared live on Raw in his hometown of Miami on 2 May, to celebrate his 39th birthday.[15]

On September 16, WWE announced The Rock would wrestle in a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series tag team match, teaming with Cena at Survivor Series in November.[15] Notwithstanding on October 24 episode of Raw, Cena instead chose The Rock to be his partner in a standard tag team match against Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth),[15] which Rock which agreed to the following week via satellite.[16] On November 14, throughout the special Raw Gets Rocked, The Rock appeared live, delivering Rock Bottoms to Mick Foley, who had been hosting a "This Is Your Life"-style segment for Cena, and later both members of Awesome Truth.[16] Despite their rivalry, The Rock and Cena defeated Awesome Truth on November 20 at Survivor Series, when The Rock pinned The Miz with the People's Elbow. After the match, The Rock gave Cena a Rock Bottom.[16]

Leading up to WrestleMania, The Rock and Cena had several verbal confrontations on Raw.[16][16] On March 12, 2012, episode, The Rock hosted his first "Rock Concert" segment after 2004, mocking Cena in his songs. He opined that, having beaten Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin at previous Wrestlemanias, beating Cena would make him the greatest wrestler of all time.[16] On April 1 at WrestleMania XXVIII, The Rock faced Cena in the main event hyped for a year and billed with the tagline "Once in a Lifetime". When an overconfident Cena attempted the People's Elbow on The Rock, he countered with a Rock Bottom for the pin and the win.[16] The following night on Raw, The Rock praised Cena for putting up a good fight, calling their match "an honor". He then vowed to once again become WWE Champion.[16]

WWE Champion (2012–2013)

On July 23 at Raw 1000, The Rock announced he would face the WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. Throughout the show, he encountered WWE Champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena, all of whom expressed a desire to face him. He later saved Cena from an assault by Big Show, only to be laid out by CM Punk.[16]

On the January 7, 2013 episode of Raw, The Rock returned to WWE to confront his Rumble opponent, then reigning champion CM Punk.[16] He additionally made his first SmackDown appearance in ten years on January 11 episode, attacking Team Rhodes Scholars with a Rock Bottom to Damien Sandow and a People's Elbow to Cody Rhodes.[17] The Rock closed out the twentieth-anniversary episode of Raw on January 14 with one of his famous "Rock concerts", leading to a brawl with CM Punk.[17] The following week on Raw, The Rock was attacked by The Shield. Vince McMahon then asserted that if The Shield attacked The Rock in his title match with CM Punk, Punk would be stripped of the WWE Championship.[17] On January 27 at the Royal Rumble, Punk defeated The Rock after The Shield interfered. McMahon was about to strip Punk of the championship, however, at The Rock's request, he instead restarted the match. This culminated in The Rock defeating Punk to win his eighth WWE Championship, a win which marked The Rock's first WWE Championship reign in over ten years, and ending Punk's long reign as champion at 434 days.[17] Punk received a title rematch with The Rock at Elimination Chamber, with the added stipulation that if The Rock was disqualified or counted out, he would lose the title, but Rock pinned Punk to retain the championship.[17] The following night on Raw, The Rock unveiled the new WWE Championship throughout his championship celebration, with an entirely new centre plate and his signature Brahma Bull logo on the side plates.[17] The Rock then resumed his rivalry with John Cena, with Cena blaming his personal and professional troubles on his loss to The Rock the previous year.[17][17] On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Rock lost the WWE Championship to Cena, ending his reign at 70 days.[17] Despite being advertised for the Raw after WrestleMania, where it was stated by SmackDown General Manager Booker T that The Rock was still entitled a re-match for the WWE Championship,[17] The Rock didn't appear because of a legitimate injury sustained throughout WrestleMania, in which his abdominal and adductor tendons tore from his pelvis.[205] Johnson underwent surgery on April 23 to reattach the torn tendons.

In August 2013, The Rock hinted at possible retirement, but ultimately didn't rule out a return.[207]

Part-time appearances (2014–present)

In April 2014, the Rock appeared in the opening segment of WrestleMania XXX along with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan.[208] On October 6 episode of Raw, the Rock made a surprise appearance to confront Rusev and Lana; this resulted in the Rock clearing Rusev from the ring.[209] Later that week, off-air footage from the night of a staredown between the Rock and Triple H aired on the fifteenth-anniversary show of Smackdown.[210]

The Rock appeared at the 2015 Royal Rumble event throughout the main event match, where he helped Roman Reigns fend off Big Show and Kane, and was booed ("for the first time in forever"(2003) as described by Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com) for doing so.[211] The Rock endorsed Reigns' eventual victory, but the crowd still booed both him and Reigns.[212][213] The Rock appeared at WrestleMania 31 alongside Ronda Rousey, getting into an in-ring altercation with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (The Authority). Rock and Rousey prevailed after he attacked Triple H and she overpowered McMahon.[214] On June 27, 2015, The Rock appeared at a live event in Boston where he confronted Bo Dallas, giving him a Rock Bottom in the process.[215]

At WrestleMania 32, The Rock announced that WWE had broken the all-time WrestleMania attendance record before being interrupted by The Wyatt Family. The Rock defeated Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan in an impromptu match, giving him a Rock Bottom and pinning him in six seconds and setting the record for the fastest win in WrestleMania history. The Rock was then aided by the returning John Cena to fend off the remaining members of The Wyatt Family, Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman.[19]

Mainstream popularity in wrestling

The success of Johnson's wrestling character allowed him to cross over into mainstream pop culture. He appeared on Wyclef Jean's 2000 single "It Doesn't Matter" and in its music video.[19][19] He additionally recorded "Pie" with Slick Rick for WWF The Music, Vol. 5.[19] In 2000, he hosted Saturday Night Live.[220] Fellow wrestlers Triple H, The Big Show, and Mick Foley additionally appeared on the show.[3][222] Johnson has stated the success of that episode is the reason he began receiving offers from Hollywood studios.[19] Johnson had guest roles on Star Trek: Voyager, as an alien wrestler that uses The Rock's famous moves,[19] and on That '70s Show, as his father, Rocky Johnson.

In 1999, The Rock was listed #5 on Entertainment Weekly's Top 12 Entertainers of the Year.[19] In 2000, on an Access Hollywood’s prime-time special, The Rock was ranked number six in the Top 10 Celebrities Of 2000.[19] Rock was additionally listed in Forbes Celebrity 100 that year and People Magazine's 25 Most Intriguing People.[21][21]

The Rock made a surprise appearance at the official Xbox unveiling throughout Bill Gates' keynote speech at the ongoing Computer Electronics Show in 2001.[21] Rock was additionally listed on E!'s 20 Top Entertainers[21] and Entertainment Weekly's 101 Most Influential People[21] that year and the previous year (2000).[21]

In 2002, Rock was listed on E!'s 25 Toughest Stars.[21] In 2003, Rock was listed in VH1's 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons[21] and #13 on People Magazine's 50 Favorite TV Stars.[21]

Johnson's motion picture debut was a brief appearance as The Scorpion King in the opening sequence of The Mummy Returns. The character appears in the movie's climax in CGI form.[3][220] The movie's financial success led to his first leading role, in the spin-off The Scorpion King.[3] He was listed in the 2007 Guinness World Records as the highest-paid actor in his first starring role, receiving US$5.5 million for this movie.[21][22] The Mummy Returns, featuring The Rock, shattered a two-year record by earning $28,594,667, making it the highest-grossing single day for any film in history.[22]

The Rock has appeared on the cover of a large number of magazines, including Rolling Stone,[22] Entertainment Weekly,[22] Newsweek,[22] and TV Guide.[22]

Legacy in wrestling

The Rock is widely considered as one of the all-time greatest professional wrestlers[9][10] as well as one of the top box office draws in wrestling history.

WWE legend Hulk Hogan called The Rock "the biggest superstar in this business", 15-time world champion John Cena described him as "the biggest superstar in the history of WWE"[11] and "the most successful WWE superstar ever". WCW icon Diamond Dallas Page described him as "the biggest star in our business, of all time". Vince Russo, the head writer of WWE's most popular era The Attitude Era, stated: "I don't think there's ever going to be a star in the history of this business that's bigger than The Rock".

Many WWE legends and superstars placed The Rock on their "Mount Rushmore of Wrestling" including Hulk Hogan,[22] Ric Flair,[22] Chris Jericho[22] and John Cena.[22]

In "Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting", The Rock was described as "for a long time, the WWE's biggest star and probably held the greatest international appeal".[23] R.D. Reynolds stated in his book "The WrestleCrap Book of Lists" that The Rock was "the biggest star for WWE from 1999 until 2004."[23]

He main evented the most bought pay-per-view (PPV) worldwide in WWE history (WrestleMania XXVIII),[23] the most bought pay-per-view (PPV) domestically in WWE history (WrestleMania XVII), the second highest attended event in the history of WWE (WrestleMania 29),[23] the highest rated Raw in history,[23][23] and was part of the highest rated segment in Raw history.[23] In addition, The Rock main evented the nine highest-rated Raws in history and 10 out of the 15 highest rated SmackDowns in history. His return in 2001 did a 7.1 rating which was the highest rated segment of the entire year.[23]

The Rock was additionally part of the highest rated match of 2000. His steel cage match with Shane McMahon on 1 May did a 8.3 rating on the regular time and a 9.1 on the overrun making this match the most watched professional wrestling match in the United States of this millennium.[23]

In 2011, The Rock's return generated a lot of buzz, an average of 4.7 million people watched that episode of RAW, but 7.4 million tuned in just throughout The Rock’s promo.[23] His return additionally led the following episode of Raw on March 7 to be the highest rated episode of that year.[256] In that same year, The Rock wrestled his first match in years at 2011 Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden. The event sold out in less than 90 minutes[257] and was the highest attended Survivor Series in almost a decade (since 2002). The Rock was additionally part of the highest rated Raw segment in 2012 in a segment on Raw 1000 with WWE superstars CM Punk and Daniel Bryan which drew a 4.3 rating and was additionally part of the highest rated overrun of that year (4.4) the same night.[258]

The Rock's highly anticipated WWE title match at the 2013 Royal Rumble led the event to be the most bought non-WrestleMania PPV in 7 years. The night after the 2013 Royal Rumble on January 28 which saw The Rock win the WWE Championship for the first time in over a decade was the highest rated Raw episode of that year.[259] Throughout that night, The Rock's segment with CM Punk did a 4.03 rating which was the highest rated segment after Raw 1000. The Rock would additionally be part of the highest rated segment of 2013 in his segment with John Cena on Old School Raw which did a 4.1 rating.[260]

Rock headlined five WrestleManias (XV, 2000, X-Seven, XXVIII, and XXIX), and wrestled in five additional WrestleManias in non-headlining matches. In 2011, he became the first wrestler to ever host a WrestleMania (WrestleMania XXVII).[261]

Derived from one of his catchphrases "lay the smackdown", WWE introduced its second flagship program SmackDown! which would later become television's second longest-running weekly episodic program.[262] The term "Smackdown" additionally has been included in Merriam-Webster dictionaries after 2007.

The Rock was the first wrestler to win the WWF/E Championship six times[263] and seven times.[264] Rock's Intercontinental Championship's reign in 1997–98 lasted 265 days and is the longest Intercontinental title reign of the modern era (the last 24 years). Rock is the sole wrestler to introduce a different design of both the Intercontinental Championship (shortly after WrestleMania XIV) and the WWE Championship (on February 18, 2013 episode of Raw).[265] He was the youngest Intercontinental Champion as well as the youngest WWF Champion of his time.

Rock was additionally the first wrestler to be part of a title match at five consecutive WrestleManias, having competed for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania 13 and WrestleMania XIV, and for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania XV, WrestleMania 2000, and WrestleMania X-Seven.

He is one of three wrestlers (along with Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker) to main event WrestleMania in three different decades, doing so in the 90s (WrestleMania XV), the 2000s (WrestleMania 2000 and WrestleMania X-Seven) and the 2010s (WrestleMania XXVIII and WrestleMania XXIX). He is additionally one of three wrestlers (along with Hulk Hogan and Triple H) to win the WWE title in three different decades doing so in the 90s, the 2000s and the 2010s.

The Rock additionally holds the record for most Raw shows main evented in one year (38 in 2000),[266] most Smackdown shows main evented in one year (36 in 2000)[267] and tied with Stone Cold Steve Austin (in 2001)[268] for most PPV shows main evented in one year (12 in 2000).[269] Overall The Rock has headlined 35 PPV events in WWE (including two Royal Rumble matches).

Rock was on the cover of the first three video games of the WWE games series including WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role which ended up being the best-selling combat sports game on a single format (PlayStation 2) with 3.2 million copies sold.[270]

WWE listed The Rock as the funniest WWE superstar in history.[271]

Acting career

In their May 2004 issue, Vibe magazine stated "At six-foot-four, 245 pounds, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, 31, might be the biggest star to hit the big screen after Arnold Schwarzenegger." Johnson additionally continued to act on television, including in an episode of the Disney Channel show, Cory in the House, entitled "Never the Dwayne Shall Meet".[273] While Johnson was away from WWE, the company continued to sell "The Rock" merchandise, and he continued to be featured prominently in the opening montages of their television shows.[41]

Johnson broke into the mainstream with roles in the blockbuster action films The Mummy Returns in 2001 and The Scorpion King in 2002, the action comedy The Rundown in 2003 and the remake of Walking Tall in 2004. He played a supporting role in 2005's Be Cool and was the primary antagonist in Doom in 2006. Roles in the Gridiron Gang and Reno 911!: Miami soon followed. Johnson played against type with The Rundown co-star Sean William Scott in 2007's Southland Tales. Johnson played the cocky famous football player, Joe Kingman, in The Game Plan, and Agent 23 in Get Smart. Johnson presented the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 80th Academy Awards on February 24, 2008.[25] He was nominated for the Favorite Movie Actor award at the 2008 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for his role in The Game Plan, but lost out to Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.[25][25]

Johnson hosted the 2009 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on March 28. He appeared on the Wizards of Waverly Place episode, "Art Teacher", as part of his stint with The Walt Disney Company. He has made several guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, reviving his character of "The Rock Obama", a spoof of both President Barack Obama and The Hulk.[25] Also in 2009, Johnson played ex-con cab driver Jack Bruno in Las Vegas in Race To Witch Mountain. He provided the voice of Capt. Charles "Chuck" Baker in Planet 51. In 2010, Johnson starred in the family comedy, Tooth Fairy. He made an uncredited cameo in the 2010 film, Why Did I Get Married Too? as a psychiatrist who asks out the recently widowed Patricia Agnew (Janet Jackson). He briefly appears in The Other Guys, as an action-seeking detective. He returned to action films with the 2010 film Faster.

In 2011, Johnson appeared in the fifth film of The Fast and the Furious film series, Fast Five, as Luke Hobbs, a Diplomatic Security Service agent assigned to hunt down the series' protagonists. Johnson landed the role after series star Vin Diesel read comments and feedback from fans, one of whom wanted to see Diesel and Johnson in a movie together. Johnson, a fan of the franchise, had wanted to work with Universal again after they had given him his first film roles. Fast Five grossed over $86 million in its opening weekend, the biggest opening for a Fast & Furious film, the biggest opening for an April release,[25] and the biggest opening for a Johnson movie.[25]

In 2012, Johnson starred in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. He starred in the 2013 true-story film Snitch, which opened to mixed reviews; however, Johnson's performance was praised. He became known to reinvigorate film franchises after portraying Roadblock in G.I. Joe: Retaliation in 2013, and reprised his role as Luke Hobbs, in Fast & Furious 6, the same year.[25][25] Johnson starred in true-story films, Pain & Gain and Empire State in 2013. In addition to these films, Johnson hosted and produced the reality competition/game show series The Hero, on TNT.[25][25] He won the Favorite Male Buttkicker Award at the 2013 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards on March 23, 2013.[284] In May 2013, it was announced that he would executive produce and star in Ballers,[285] a HBO comedy-drama series about athletes living in Miami.[286]

Johnson starred in Hercules (2014), as the title character,[287] and once again reprised his role of Luke Hobbs in Furious 7 (2015).[288] He hosted another reality series for TNT in 2014, entitled Wake Up Call, which saw him "lending a helping hand to everyday people who were facing enormous challenges in their lives" alongside guest experts like Rocco DiSpirito, Jillian Michaels, and Josh Shipp.[289] He would additionally executive produce and star in the horror film Seal Team 666,[290] and is set to play Nick Schuyler in the drama film Not Without Hope.[291]

On December 16, 2013, Forbes named Johnson the top-grossing actor of 2013, with his films bringing in $1.3 billion worldwide for the year. Forbes credited the success of Fast & Furious 6, which grossed $789 million globally, and Johnson's frequent acting work as primary reasons for him topping the list.[292] In March 2014, Johnson confirmed that he would be working with DC Entertainment for an untitled film project.[293][294][295] In September 2014, it was announced that he would play Black Adam, the villain, in a film about Shazam as a part of the DC Extended Universe; which he would additionally produce.[296][297]

In 2016, Johnson co-starred with Kevin Hart in the action-comedy Central Intelligence, and will have a voice role in the Disney animated film Moana, as the Hawaiian demigod Maui. After the continued success of The Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast 8 was announced with a release date of April 14, 2017. Johnson's production company Seven Bucks Productions will produce various film projects in which he'll star, namely: Baywatch (2017), Rampage (2017) and the Jumanji remake.[298][299] A sequel to the box-office hit San Andreas was announced to be in the pre-production stage with director of the first film, Brad Peyton, signed to return (marking their fourth collaboration following Journey 2, San Andreas, and Rampage respectively), along with the cast including Johnson.[300] Johnson confirmed that he would star in the Jumanji remake via his Instagram social media page, something he has most often done with previous project announcements.[299] In an interview, Johnson additionally discussed the possibility of an earlier release date than was originally announced for the DC Extended Universe film, Shazam.[301] Johnson signed on to return in two additional sequels to Warner Bros. Entertainment's Journey film series, as well as a Jungle Cruise feature film being developed by Disney.[302][303] In May 2016 Johnson confirmed his attachment to The Janson Directive as Paul Janson. The film will be produced by Universal Studios Pictures, with the intent to adopt more of Robert Ludlum's work in the future as well to create a larger project than just the announced first installment.[28] Later that same month, it was announced that he would star in Legendary Entertainment's Skyscraper movie which will be an action-thriller film with Rawson Marshall Thurber signed on as director and writer of the film, as well as a rebooted version of the character Doc Savage in a film written and directed by Shane Black.[28]

Personal life

Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997.[306] Their daughter, Simone Alexandra, was born August 14, 2001.[306] On June 1, 2007, they announced they were splitting up amicably and intended to remain friends.[306] Soon after the divorce, Johnson began dating Lauren Hashian, the daughter of Boston drummer Sib Hashian. They first met in 2006 while Johnson was filming The Game Plan, prompting rumors he left his marriage for Hashian.[307] In September 2015, it was announced that Johnson and Hashian are expecting their first child.[307][308]

Johnson co-wrote an autobiography with Joe Layden, titled The Rock Says.... It was published in 2000, debuting at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remaining on the list for several weeks.[18]

Johnson is a good friend of actor and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.[28] He has two nephews who play football: Kaluka Maiava played at USC and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2009, and his brother, Kai Maiava, currently plays at UCLA.

Johnson attended the 2000 Democratic National Convention[28] as part of WWE's non-partisan "Smackdown Your Vote" campaign, which aimed to influence young people to vote.[28]

Because his mother, Ata Fitisemanu Maivia, is a descendant of Samoan chiefs, and in recognition of his service to the Samoan people, Malietoa Tanumafili II bestowed upon Johnson the noble title of Seiuli throughout his visit there in July 2004.[28] He received a partial Samoan pe'a tattoo in 2003.[28]

In 2006, Johnson founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation, a charity working with at-risk and terminally ill children.[30] On October 2, 2007, he and his ex-wife donated $1 million to the University of Miami to support the renovation of its football facilities; it was noted as the largest donation ever given to the university's athletics department by former students. The University of Miami renamed the Hurricanes' locker room in Johnson's honor.[30]

On May 21, 2015, Johnson set a Guinness World Record for most selfies in three minutes, taking 105 selfies with fans throughout the premiere of San Andreas in London.[30]

On March 2016, Johnson partnered with the new juggernaut in American fitness apparel Under Armour to release "Project Rock".[30] The first item in his partnership with Under Armour, a gym bag, was met with ferocious demand and was sold out in a couple of days.[30][30] His second item, a black T-shirt sporting the wrestler's iconic "brahma bull" has sold out in record time for Under Armour after being worn at WrestleMania 32.[30] Johnson additionally released an alarm clock app as part of "Project Rock" that received over one million downloads in its first week of release.[30]

Filmography

Discography

YearSongAlbum
2000"It Doesn't Matter"The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book
2001"Pie"WWF The Music, Vol. 5
2005"You Ain't Woman Enough"Be Cool soundtrack
2010"Wind Beneath My Wings"Tooth Fairy soundtrack
2012"What a Wonderful World"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island soundtrack

In wrestling

Relatives in wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

1 The Rock's seventh reign was as Undisputed WWE Champion.

Other awards and honors