During the latest episode of The Grilling JR Podcast, former WWE commentator and producer Jim Ross opened up on The Rock’s wrestling legacy. Dwayne, The Rock Johnson, comes from a proud lineage, one which has provided the professional wrestling entertainment industry with a memorable gift. His in-ring name, The Rock, is also known as Dwayne Johnson. Originally sought after as a soccer player to make his fortune, The Rock realised that was unfeasible and subsequently pursued his family’s business into professional wrestling.
Blessed with a fantastic combination of size, speed, agility, and excellent mic skills, Dwayne Johnson made his debut for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1996 under the ring name Rocky Maivia, which paid tribute both to his father and his grandfather Rocky Maivia. From The Mummy Returns to The Game Plan, to Fast Five, to Black Adam, The Rock has proven that his greatest strength is in adapting to the films in which he is involved, maintaining his larger-than-life character persona, and it is what makes him such an iconic professional wrestler.
The Rock might not be the first wrestler to go on to become an actor, but he is the first one to be so successful that you could argue his acting career has eclipsed his exceptional wrestling one. Outside of the wrestling ring, The Rock has gone on to a successful acting career, dropping the stage name and going simply by the name of Dwayne Johnson.
Known as the Peoples Champ, The Rock went on to win a combined 17 WWE titles during his well-received career. Dwayne Douglas Johnson won the WWE Championship for the first time in 1998 (the same year as fellow wrestling legends Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mick Foley). As The Rock, he has been known to feud with fellow wrestler Steve Austin and has won the WWE Heavyweight title on multiple occasions.
The Rock has Unleashed Johnson was a quick success among the wrestling masses, and he captured his first WWF Championship in February of 1997, making him the youngest wrestler ever to hold a belt at the age of twenty-four. Johnson’s popularity as a pure babyface propelled him to win the WWF championship at 1998 Survivor Series, aged 26, becoming the first African-American world champion in WWE history and the youngest WWF World Champion ever.
In a post on Instagram, Dwayne Johnson listed Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan as three of the greatest wrestlers of all time – and thanked Ric Flair for pioneering him. WWE legend The Rock, AKA Dwayne Johnson, tweeted out his favourite wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Gorgeous George/Bruno Sammartino, and Stone Cold.