Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson, WWE Hall of Famer and the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, passed away at the age of 75, the WWE announced on Wednesday.
Johnson, born Wayde Douglas Bowles in Nova Scotia in 1944, began his wrestling career in the mid-1960s, but his breakout moment came when he joined the WWE in 1983. Johnson later became known for being the first African-American World Tag Team Champion in WWE history as a member of The Soul Patrol. Some of the biggest rivals in his career were Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis.
Johnson retired from the entertainment sport in 1991. He then trained his son Dwayne to follow in his wrestling footsteps. Dwayne took to the ring in the late 90s with the name Rocky Maivia in honor of his wrestling roots before reimagining himself as just “The Rock.”
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Bought my dad a Christmas gift and surprised him. He's had a hard life. This one felt good. My dad, Rocky Johnson is a minimalist. Always has been. Never asks me for much and over the years his needs are always the barest. Crazy story, my dad's dad died when he was 13yrs old. That Christmas, my dad's mom had her new boyfriend over for Christmas dinner. Her boyfriend got drunk and pissed on the turkey. My dad went outside, got a shovel, drew a line in the snow and said if you cross that line I'll kill you. The drunk crossed it and my dad laid him out cold as a block of ice. Cops were called. They told my dad's mom that when her boyfriend regains consciousness, he's gonna kill your son so one of them has got to go. In front of the entire family, my dad's mom looked at him and said get out. He was 13yrs old and now homeless. That f*cked up true story happened in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1954. He needed the bare minimum then, just like does now. Over the years, I've moved him into a big home, got him trucks to drive – which he'll literally drive into the ground until I get him something else. Hell, I'll get him anything he wants, but the SOB just won't ask;). Every Christmas, I always think about that story and my dad having every odd stacked against him at 13, but he fought thru it and still made something of himself. Makes me appreciate his struggle and hard work. Also, makes me appreciate the fun times he would beat my ass in the gym so bad when I was 13 and say "If you're gonna throw up, go outside.. and if you're gonna cry, then go home to your mother". I hated it then, but I embrace it now. Made a man outta me. Without pissing on my turkey. 😂👍🏾. Just a small way of saying thank you dad and Merry Christmas! #DwantaClaus🎅🏾
In 2008, Dwayne inducted his father into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The legendary wrestler is survived by his two sons, Dwayne and Curtis, and his daughter, Wanda. The cause of his death is currently not known.
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