The Rock entertainer

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Template:Pwstatbox Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California), better 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, in homage to his father, Rocky Johnson, and his maternal grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia. With this family history, he became the first 3rd generation wrestler in WWE history. Since his entry into acting, Johnson continues to be known simply as The Rock.

Early life

Johnson was born into a family of diverse backgrounds and heritage. His father was the Black Canadian professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, a former WWF Tag Team Champion. Johnson's mother Ata 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 early 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

As a high school junior, however, Johnson's father's career led them to relocate to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Johnson assimilated quickly in the new area. In Bethlehem, Johnson cultivated and developed an intense athleticism, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He began playing football at Bethlehem's Freedom High School, a member of the East Penn Conference (now known as the Lehigh Valley Conference) in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. It was then (and continues to be) one of the most competitive high school football conferences in the United States.

Known for its blue collar ruggedness, the Lehigh Valley proved a hand-in-glove match for Johnson, who fit in well with the area's street toughness. That toughness carried to his football play, where Johnson began to excel amidst the area's intense athletic competition.

University of Miami

Johnson received various athletic 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 a CFL team instead. However, he was cut from the team 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.

World Wrestling Entertainment

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. He was the first Intercontinental champion of Samoan descent. 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 and jeered with chants of "Die Rocky Die!" from the crowd, Johnson was forced to go to the ring and smile, as if the crowd was cheering (like they were "supposed to").

The Rock

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 who even drove out the Nation's leader Faarooq. 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 way up"), The Rock became wildly popular, establishing several much-quoted catchphrases including "Do you smell what The Rock is cookin'?", "Layeth the Smacketh down," "It Doesn't Matter What Your Name Is!", and "Know your role and shut your mouth!"

Johnson's popularity as The Rock propelled him to the WWF Championship at the 1998 Survivor Series at age 26. At the time, he was the youngest WWF Champion in history, siding with Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of their "Corporation" stable. The Rock would begin to feud with Mankind over the WWF Championship in which the title would change back and forth between the two, first during the main event of the January 4, 1999 episode of RAW, when Mankind pinned The Rock with the help of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock would once again capture the WWF Title in a bloody "I Quit" match at the 1999 Royal Rumble that saw The Rock hit Mankind in the head with a chair over 15 times. This latest reign didn't last long however, because during that year's Superbowl halftime show, on January 31, 1999, Mankind pinned The Rock using a forklift in a empty arena match which saw the competitors use everything from bags of popcorn to fruit to punish each other. This feud lasted until the Februaury 15th, 1999 edition of RAW, where The Rock regained the WWF Title in a ladder match after The Big Show Chokeslammed Mankind off a ladder.

The Rock then focused on Stone Cold Steve Austin, his opponent at Wrestlemania XV. The Rock would lose the WWF Title to Austin at that event, and continued his feud with Austin until May 1999. WWF fans began to cheer The Rock despite being a bad guy, due to his hilarious interviews and segments which mocked wrestlers and announcers. Johnson eventually turned face again after the Corporation betrayed him and established a feud with The Undertaker and the Corporate Ministry.

The Rock, now a face, feuded with "Badd Ass" Billy Gunn over the summer of 1999. In the fall the Rock found himself in several WWE Championship opportunities, both in singles and tag. He teamed with now former enemy Mankind to create the "Rock N Sock Connection" and won the WWF Tag Team Titles. Aside from the championships, the team was one of the most entertaining teams in recent memory, where Mankind would imitate The Rock, while The Rock would mostly ignore Mankind. The team was also involved in a segment which occurred on RAW called "this is your life," which to this day is the single highest rated segment in terms of viewership in RAW history. As a singles competitor, The Rock participated in a six-pack challenge match at WWE Unforgiven 1999.

In January of 2000, the Rock entered in the WWE's annual Royal Rumble match and lasted until he and the Big Show were the final two men. In a controversial yet scripted move, the Big Show was going to seemingly dump the Rock over the top rope in a running powerslam-like position, and when they got to the apron, the Rock reversed it on the Show, sending the Show to the outside floor and the Rock's two feet hitting the floor and then coming back up with the rest of his body. Clearly there was controversy, and in the weeks that followed, the Big Show attempted to prove to the audience and to others, like Triple H, that the Rock's feet, not his, touched the mat first. This led to a number one contendership match at No Way Out 2000, 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 the People's Elbow.

The Rock, the Big Show, Mick Foley and Triple H competed in a fatal four-way elimination match for the WWE Championship at WWE Wrestlemania 2000. Each competitor had a McMahon in their corner--for Triple H, his on-screen wife (in actual fact was Triple H's real girlfriend before they married in 2003) Stephanie McMahon; for Mick Foley, the matriarch Linda McMahon; for the Rock, Vince McMahon, and lastly but certainly not least, in Big Show's corner, Shane McMahon. Triple H retained the title when Vince turned on the Rock, giving him two vicious chair shots, allowing Triple H to pin The Rock for the three-count.

Over the next year the Rock feuded with Triple H over the Championship, having several classic matches, such as an Iron Man match against the Game at WWE Judgment Day 2000, which starred Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee and saw the return of The Undertaker. In 2001, The Rock feuded with Olympian Kurt Angle over the WWF Championship and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the second time. The Rock went into Wrestlemania X-7 as the WWF Champion, but was defeated by Austin with the help of Vince McMahon. After losing to Austin in a rematch on the following night's RAW, he went on hiatus to film scenes for "The Mummy Returns." The Rock would return in July of 2001 and would decide which side of the WWF/Alliance wars he would align himself with. He would choose the WWF and began a feud with WCW Champion Booker T. The Rock would beat Booker T. at Summerslam 2001 to become WCW champ for the 1st time.

The Rock would lose and later regain the title feuding with Chris Jericho, until December 9th, 2001, where he lost the WCW Title for the final time to Jericho at Vengeance 2001. By that time the title had been renamed the "World Championship" due to the WCW's earlier defeat at Survivor Series basically ending the entire plot of the "Alliance." As 2002 came along, Vince McMahon introduced the nWo, and The Rock began a feud with Hollywood Hulk Hogan, which ended with a victory at Wrestlemania X-8. Later in 2002, he would return from a hiatus to capture the Undisputed Title. After he lost the Title to Brock Lesnar(which was ironic in and of itself as with this victory Lesnar replaced Rock as the youngest WWF/WWE champion), the fans started to boo The Rock on a regular basis, despite being a good guy.

Hollywood

The Rock's last heel turn began on Smackdown in February 2003, where he publicly criticized rival wrestler Hulk Hogan. They fought at Wrestlemania X8 and later had a rematch at WWE No Way Out, with The Rock claiming victory both times. It is widely speculated that this turn was due to The Rock's growing Hollywood stardom, giving the appearance of having "sold out" his wrestling roots.

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" which 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, the city The Rock now thought of as home. The Rock would also tease Canada in a song also (basically referring to the fact that they booed him at WrestleMania X8, despite being the "good guy").

When Steve Austin returned, they once again feuded, with the Rock defeating Austin at WrestleMania 19; this was the first time the Rock defeated Austin at Wrestlemania, and Austin's last appearance in a wrestling role. The Rock then had a feud with former WCW star Bill Goldberg, losing at Backlash. After that, The Rock turned face once more by betraying Chris Jericho and Christian-specifically when Christian (who was the WWE Intercontinental Champion at the time) labelled himself as the New People's champion (based around the fact that Christian was labelled by The Rock as his "favourite wrestler". This would eventually lead to Christian labelling his fans as "his peeps"). The Rock, with the help of Booker T defeated Chris Jericho and Christian, and even did his version of the "spinaroonie".

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/E Championship seven times during his career, and eventually crossed over into mainstream popularity, such as with 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 the latter, 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.

At WrestleMania XX the Rock seemingly had his last match for quite some time, if one doesn't count his numerous antics over the summer with the Diva Search contestants and Eugene. In March of 2004, Mick Foley was facing seemingly overwhelming odds against Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton, the stable collectively known as Evolution. The Rock returned to aide his old friend and the match was made for WMXX to feature Mick & the Rock against Flair, Batista and Orton. In an above-average match, Evolution emerged victorious after Orton nailed Foley with an RKO and scored the pinfall.

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, but it is extremely unlikely that he will ever return to wrestling full-time as long as his Hollywood career continues with success.

Acting career

After The Rock'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 receiving 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 four-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 starred as the character "Sarge" in the movie based on the popular Doom video game series - the film was his first film to receive an "R" rating in the United States. Johnson will also star in the live-action movie adaptation of the Cartoon Network series Johnny Bravo. He is now filming in Richard Kelly's Southland Tales as a amnesiac action film star, Boxer Santaros.

One of The Rock's most anticipated personal projects is the role of Kamehameha I, 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.

Salary

  • Doom (2005) $8,200,000. Plus 5% Box-Office.
  • Walking Tall (2004) $15,000,000.
  • The Rundown (2003) $12,500,000.
  • The Scorpion King (2002) $5,500,000.

Personal information

Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997. They have a daughter, Simone Alexandra. He married his wife twenty-four hours after his twenty fifth birthday. Dwayne's best man was former WWF/WCW wrestler, and longtime family friend, Uliuli Fifita (a.k.a. Haku/Meng).

His wife Dany and his family have been present at three of The Rock's WrestleMania appearances- ironically, all three attendances have featured The Rock being booed (WrestleMania 13, X8, 19).

He admitted in the special WrestleMania movie that he is honored and proud to call fellow WWE Superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin his close friend. Enjoys fishing in his spare time (according to his book The Rock Says).

The tattoo on his arm and left pectoral muscle is from Samoa, applied when he was given a title of high importance when he visited Samoa in late 2002. At the time, the tattoo only covered his arm. In 2003, he returned to Samoa to complete it.

Trivia

  • He is the only WWE Superstar to have a pay per view and a weekly show named after him or his catchphrases, that being SmackDown! and In Your House: Rock Bottom (which took place in December 13 of 1998). Also, the popular WWE SmackDown! video game series for the Sony PlayStation systems were named after him.
  • He has been dubbed "The Samoan Samson" in reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Austrian Oak"
  • In his book, The Rock Says, he claims that such mannerisms like the eyebrow and the words "Jabroni" and even the phrase "If you smell what The Rock is cookin" were things that he did not invent and that they have existed for some time, most of The Rock's phrases can be heard in 1970s blaxploitation films. The phrase "Roody poo" is a variation of Iceman Parsons' pet phrase "Rooty Poot".


Filmography

Additional facts

Championships and accomplishments


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Brock Lesnar Template:End box

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Stone Cold Steve Austin |- Template:End box


Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) ranked him # 76 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the PWI Years in 2003.

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).

Books

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

References

See also

External links

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de:Dwayne Douglas Johnson es:The Rock (Lucha Libre) it:Dwayne Johnson ja:ザ・ロック (プロレスラー)