Dwayne Johnson

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Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Johnson at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Dwayne Douglas Johnson
(1972-05-02) May 2, 1972 (age 41)
Hayward, California, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of Miami
Occupation Professional wrestler, actor
Years active 1995–2004, 2011–present (wrestler)
1999–present (actor)
Spouse(s) Dany Garcia (1997–2007)
Children 1
Ring name(s) Flex Kavana[1]
Dwayne Johnson[1]
Rocky Maivia[1]
The Rock[1]
Billed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[2]
Billed weight 260 lb (120 kg)[2]
Billed from Miami, Florida[2]
"The South Pacific"
(as Rocky Maivia)
Trained by Rocky Johnson[3]
Pat Patterson[3]
Tom Prichard[4]
Debut 1995[3]

Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor and semi-retired professional wrestler, known for his time in WWE.[2][5][6]

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.[7][8][9] This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson. Originally billed as "Rocky Maivia", he gained mainstream fame as "The Rock" in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1996 to 2004, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He returned to wrestling part-time for WWE from 2011 to 2013.

Johnson is widely considered one of the all-time greatest professional wrestlers.[10][11] He had 17 championship reigns in WWE, including being a ten-time World Champion having won the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice. He won the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and the World Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth WWF/E Triple Crown Champion, and won the 2000 Royal Rumble.

Johnson's autobiography The Rock Says... (co-written with Joe Layden) was published in 2000. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for several weeks.[12] 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.[13] He has since appeared in several films, including The Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Tooth Fairy, Doom, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.

Early life

Johnson was born in Hayward, California, the son of Ata Johnson (née Maivia) and professional wrestler Rocky Johnson.[6] His maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was also 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.[14][15] His father is of Black Nova Scotian (Canadian) origin, and his mother is of Samoan heritage.[16][17] Johnson briefly lived in Auckland, New Zealand, with his mother's family.[18][18] He attended Richmond Road Primary School, before returning to the United States with his parents.[18]

Johnson spent 10th grade at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. As he entered 11th grade, his father's job required his relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He began playing football at Freedom High School in the East Penn Conference.[17] He was also a member of the school's track and field and wrestling teams.[17] On April 17, 2009, changes to Canadian nationality law came into effect, making all people born in the first generation abroad after 1947 to Canadian-born parents automatically (and retroactively to date of birth) Canadian citizens.[19] Johnson, through his father, thus became a Canadian.

Johnson was a promising football prospect, and received offers from many 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.[20] After an injury kept him sidelined, he was replaced by future National Football League (NFL) star Warren Sapp.[17] 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.[21] She also 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.[22] He joined the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1995, after being passed over by the NFL. He was cut two months into the season.[7][17] 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 other relatives are or were professional wrestlers, including his uncles, Afa and Sika Anoaʻi (The Wild Samoans) and his cousins, Afa Jr. (Manu), Rodney (Yokozuna), Solofa (Rikishi), Matt (Rosey) and Eddie (Umaga).[18] When Johnson declared his intent to become a wrestler, his father initially resisted, but then agreed to train him himself, warning that he would not go easy on him.[17] 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,[23] and lost the other matches to Chris Candido and Owen Hart.[18] After wrestling at Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association, as "Flex Kavana",[3] 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.[4]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

Early WWF run (1996–1997)

Johnson made his WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names. He was initially reluctant to take the name, but was persuaded by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.[15][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.[2] Maivia, a clean-cut face character, was pushed heavily from the start despite his wrestling inexperience. He debuted at Survivor Series in November 1996, in an eight-man elimination tag match; he was the sole survivor.[25] On February 13, 1997, he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Hunter Hearst Helmsley on Monday Night Raw.[26][27][28] 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 the March 31 episode of Raw.[29] 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. Though pushed as a face, audiences generally disliked Maivia. Chants of "Die, Rocky, die!" and "Rocky sucks!" were common during his matches.[1][3][15]

Nation of Domination (1997–1998)

The Rock as Intercontinental Champion, during his time with the Nation of Domination, at WWF Mayhem in Manchester, April 1998

After losing the Intercontinental Championship to Owen Hart on the April 28, 1997 Raw is War,[30] and suffering a knee injury in a match against Mankind,[1] Maivia returned as a heel. Along with Faarooq, D'Lo Brown, and Kama, he formed a stable called The Nation of Domination.[31] During 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".[31]

At In Your House: D-Generation X, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock in under six minutes to retain the Intercontinental Championship.[32] 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.[33][34] The Rock feuded with Austin and Ken Shamrock through the end of 1997 and beginning of 1998.[35][36] 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 In Your House: Over the Edge on May 31, 1998.[37]

He and The Nation then feuded with Triple H and D-Generation X. The two stable leaders first had a two out of three falls match at Fully Loaded for the Intercontinental title, which The Rock retained in controversial fashion.[38] This led to a ladder match at SummerSlam, in which Triple H won the title.[39] 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.[40][41]

The Corporation (1998–1999)

As part of The Corporation, The Rock feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin and stole Austin's personalized WWF Championship, the Smoking Skull belt

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[42] for the vacant WWF Championship in a fashion reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob.[42][43][43] The Rock allied with Vince and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of their stable, The Corporation.[42][44]

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 since The Rock did not tap out, he retained his title.[44][45] 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 the January 4, 1999 Raw is War, Mankind defeated The Rock after interference from Steve Austin.[46] 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.[47][48] 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.[49] The two faced off again, at St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House, with the stipulation being a last man standing match. The bout ended in a draw, meaning Mankind retained the title. Their feud ended on the 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.[50][51]

The Rock lost the WWF Championship to Steve Austin at WrestleMania XV.[52] He also lost the title rematch at Backlash: In Your House.[53] Though he was a heel, his amusing verbal skills led many fans to cheer The Rock. He turned face again after being betrayed by Shane McMahon 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.[54][55] He lost a number one contender's match to Triple H at Fully Loaded, after interference from Mr. Ass.[56] This sparked a feud with Mr. Ass, culminating in a "Kiss My Ass" match at SummerSlam, which The Rock won.[57]

The Rock 'n' Sock Connection and WWF Championship feuds (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 The Big Show, and Mankind offered his help.[58] They won the title for the first of three times.[59][60][61] 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, such as 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.[59][62]

The Rock's popularity was fueled by his charisma and speaking abilities, which led to many catchphrases and merchandising opportunities

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. Big Show seemingly intended to throw The Rock over the top rope in a running powerslam-like position, but The Rock countered the move on the ring apron, sending Big Show to the floor before re-entering the ring as the winner.[63] However, The Rock's feet hit the floor first, although those watching the event on TV did not see that. Big Show proved this with additional video footage, and claimed to be the rightful winner. Despite this proof, the original decision could not be reversed, so a number one contender's match for the WWF Championship was held at No Way Out, which The 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.[64] The Rock defeated The Big Show on the March 13 Raw is War to regain the right to face the WWF Champion, Triple H, at WrestleMania 2000 in a fatal four way elimination match, also including The Big Show and Mick Foley.[65][66] 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.[66][67] Triple H retained the title after Vince betrayed The Rock by hitting him with a chair.[67][68]

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.[69][70][71] On May 21, at Judgment Day, the two had an Iron Man match, with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.[72] 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.[72] The next night on Raw is War, The Rock got his revenge, taking out the entire McMahon-Helmsley Faction with The Undertaker's help.[73] 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.[74][75] 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.[76]

The Rock lost the WWF Championship to Angle at No Mercy in October.[70][77] Around this time, he feuded with Rikishi, and defeated him at Survivor Series.[70][78] He wrestled a six-man Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship at Armageddon, which Kurt Angle won to retain the title.[70][79] 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.[70][80] 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.[70][81][82]

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.[70][83] On the next night's Raw is War, during a steel cage title rematch, Triple H came to the ring with a sledgehammer. It seemed he would help The Rock, due to 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.[84] Austin and Triple H formed a tag team called The Power Trip,[85] while The Rock was indefinitely suspended. Johnson used this time off to act in the movie The Mummy Returns.[3]

Championship pursuits and "Icon vs. Icon" (2001–2002)

The Rock taunts Rob Van Dam at ringside

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) during The Invasion, eventually siding with the WWF.[70] At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship.[70][86][87] He lost the title to Chris Jericho at No Mercy.[88][89] The next night on Raw, he teamed with Jericho to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship from The Dudley Boyz.[90]

The Rock defeated Jericho on the November 5 Raw for his second WCW Championship.[91] 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 capitalize 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.[70][92]

The Rock closed out 2001 by losing the WCW Championship to WWF Champion Chris Jericho at Vengeance, in a title unification match.[93] The Rock unsuccessfully challenged Jericho for both titles, now the Undisputed WWF Championship, at Royal Rumble, ending their feud.[94] The Rock defeated The Undertaker at No Way Out.[95] 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.[96] After the nWo turned on Hogan for losing the match, The Rock allied with him and then took a short sabbatical from wrestling.[97] He then returned for short but major feuds in SummerSlam, Wrestlemania XIX and Wrestlemania XX.

Final storylines (2002–2004)

When he returned, The Rock won his record-breaking seventh WWF Championship (now the WWE Undisputed Championship)[98] at Vengeance, defeating Kurt Angle and The Undertaker in a Triple Threat match.[98][99] 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.[100] 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 being the youngest WWE Champion, which Rock had set in 1998. Following the loss, The Rock publicly declared that whether or not the crowd booed him he would always be the People's Champion, criticizing the fans in the arena and again taking a sabbatical from wrestling in order to focus on his film career.[101]

Johnson at WWE Axxess in 2002

The Rock returned on the January 30, 2003 episode of SmackDown! to publicly criticize Hulk Hogan and make it clear that due to the success of his Hollywood career, WWE was no longer a priority. This reestablished him as a heel.[102] The Rock defeated Hogan again at No Way Out[70][80] and drafted himself to the Raw brand where he had various feuds, including one with The Hurricane.[103] He also performed "Rock concerts", segments in which he played the guitar and mocked the show's host city.[104] 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.[70][105] The next night, Raw was billed as "The Rock Appreciation Night", in honour of his victory over Austin. That night, he was attacked by a debuting Bill Goldberg. At Backlash, Goldberg defeated The Rock, who then took another hiatus from WWE.[70][106]

The Rock then occasionally returned to WWE in non-wrestling roles, gradually turning face again by engaging in one night feuds against heels such as Chris Jericho and Christian.[107][107][108] The Rock aided Mick Foley in his feud against Evolution,[2][70][109] 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.[70][110]

First retirement and part-time appearances (2004–2010)

The Rock appeared in WWE sporadically following Wrestlemania 20. He stood up for Eugene, made a cameo in his hometown of Miami and helped Mick Foley turn back La Résistance.[1] 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.[1] After this, Dwayne Johnson stated in several interviews that he was no longer under contract to WWE.[1] He stated he would continue using the trademarked name "The Rock", per a dual ownership deal between him and WWE.[111] On March 12, 2007, The Rock appeared on WWE TV after a near three-year absence, via a pre-taped promo shown on the TitanTron during Raw. He correctly predicted Bobby Lashley would defeat Umaga at WrestleMania 23 in Donald Trump and Vince McMahon's "Battle of the Billionaires" match.[112]

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 wrestlers John Cena, Santino Marella, Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin.[113] In September 2009, Johnson appeared at a World Xtreme Wrestling show to support the pro wrestling debut of Sarona Snuka, the daughter of his longtime friend and mentor, Jimmy Snuka.[114] On October 2, 2009, the ten-year anniversary of SmackDown, The Rock cut a promo via pre-recorded video.

Return to WWE (2011–present)

Feud with John Cena (2011–2013)

The Rock as host of WrestleMania XXVII

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. During 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.[115] The Rock claimed to love wrestling, having has been born into the business, a claim Cena argued.[116] After numerous appearances via satellite, The Rock appeared live on the Raw before WrestleMania XXVII to confront Cena, with whom he had been feuding with 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 blindsid him with an Attitude Adjustment.[117]

The Rock and John Cena agree to a match at WrestleMania XXVIII, one year in advance

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.[118] 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.[119] The Rock appeared live on Raw in his hometown of Miami on May 2, to celebrate his 39th birthday.[120]

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.[121] However, on the 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),[122] which Rock which agreed to the following week via satellite.[123] On November 14, during 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.[124] Despite their rilvary, 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.[125]

The Rock celebrating his victory at WrestleMania 28

Leading up to Wrestlemania, The Rock and Cena had several verbal confrontations on Raw.[126][127] On the March 12, 2012, episode, The Rock hosted his first "Rock Concert" segment since 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.[128] 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.[129] 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.[130]

WWE Champion (2012–2013)

The Rock won his 8th WWE Title at Royal Rumble and retained against Punk at Elimination Chamber
The Rock revealing his own design for the WWE Championship

On July 23 at Raw 1000, The Rock announced he would face the WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. During 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.[131]

On the January 7, 2013 Raw, The Rock returned to WWE to confront his Rumble opponent, the reigning champion CM Punk.[132] He also made his first SmackDown appearance in ten years on the January 11 episode, attacking Team Rhodes Scholars with a Rock Bottom to Damien Sandow and a People's Elbow to Cody Rhodes.[133] The Rock closed out the 20th anniversary episode of Raw on January 14 with one of his famous "Rock concerts", leading to a brawl with CM Punk.[134] 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.[135] 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.[136] 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.[137] The following night on Raw, The Rock unveiled the new WWE Championship during his championship celebration, with an entirely new center plate and his signature Brahma Bull logo on the side plates.[138] 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.[139][140] On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Rock lost the WWE Championship to Cena, ending his reign at 70 days.[141]

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,[142] The Rock did not appear due to a legitimate injury sustained during WrestleMania, in which his abdominal and adductor tendons tore from his pelvis.[143] Johnson underwent surgery on April 23 to reattach the torn tendons. In August 2013, The Rock hinted a possible retirement, but ultimately did not rule out a return.[144] He made an appearance at WrestleMania XXX alongside "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan in the opening segment.[145]

Acting career

Dwayne Johnson during a photo shoot for Vanity Fair during 2001

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.[146][147] He also recorded "Pie" with Slick Rick for WWF The Music, Vol. 5.[148] In 2000, he hosted Saturday Night Live.[149] Fellow wrestlers Triple H, The Big Show, and Mick Foley also appeared on the show.[2][150] Johnson has stated the success of that episode is the reason he began receiving offers from Hollywood studios.[151] Johnson had guest roles on Star Trek: Voyager, as an alien wrestler that uses The Rock's famous moves,[152] and on That '70s Show, as his father, Rocky Johnson.

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.[2][149] The movie's financial success led to his first leading role, in the sequel The Scorpion King.[2] 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.[153][154] He was considered for the title role in a feature-length Johnny Bravo film, but it was canceled during production.[18]

Johnson also continued to act on television, including in an episode of the Disney Channel show, Cory in the House, entitled "Never the Dwayne Shall Meet".[155] 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.[18] 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.[156] 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.[157][158]

Johnson at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

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.[159] 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,[160] and the biggest opening for a Johnson movie.[161]

Johnson at the premiere of G.I. Joe: Retaliation

In 2012, Johnson starred in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. He starred in the 2013 film Snitch, which opened to mixed reviews; however, Johnson's performance was praised. He played Roadblock in G.I. Joe: Retaliation in 2013, and reprised his role as Luke Hobbs, in Fast & Furious 6, the same year.[162] He starred in Pain & Gain and Empire State in 2013. In addition to these films, Johnson is also the host and producer of the reality competition/game show series The Hero, on TNT.[163] He won the Favorite Male Buttkicker Award at the 2013 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards on March 23, 2013.[164] In May 2013, it was announced that he will executive produce and star in Ballers,[165] an upcoming HBO comedy-drama series about athletes living in Miami.[166]

Johnson is set to star in Hercules in 2014,[167] and will once again reprise his role of Luke Hobbs in Fast & Furious 7.[168] He will star in the upcoming film adaptation of the 1980s television series The Fall Guy.[169] He is set to host another reality series for TNT in 2014, entitled Wake Up Call, which will see him "lending a helping hand to everyday people who are facing enormous challenges in their lives".[170] He will also executive produce and star in the horror film Seal Team 666,[171] and is set to play Nick Schuyler in the drama film Not Without Hope.[172]

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.[173] In March 2014, Johnson confirmed that he will be working with DC Entertainment for a film version.[174][175][176]

Personal life

Dany Garcia and Johnson at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997.[177] Their daughter, Simone Alexandra, was born August 14, 2001.[177] On June 1, 2007, they announced they were splitting up amicably and intended to spend the rest of their lives together as best friends.[177] 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.[12]

Johnson is a good friend of actor and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.[178] 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.

Public activities

The Rock and Philadelphia Eagle's Evan Mathis

Johnson attended the 2000 Republican National Convention[2] and the 2000 Democratic National Convention,[179] and gave a speech at the former. Both appearances were part of the WWE's non-partisan "Smackdown Your Vote" campaign, which aimed to influence young people to vote.[180]

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 during his visit there in July 2004.[181] He received a partial Samoan pe'a tattoo in 2003.[182]

Philanthropy

In 2006, Johnson founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation, a charity working with at-risk and terminally ill children.[183] 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.[184]

Filmography

Fast Five cast in Rio de Janeiro

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Beyond the Mat Himself Documentary
2000 Longshot Mugger
2001 The Mummy Returns Mathayus / The Scorpion King CGI for the final section
2002 The Scorpion King Mathayus / The Scorpion King
2003 The Rundown Beck Also known as Welcome to the Jungle
2004 Walking Tall Chris Vaughn
2005 Be Cool Elliot Wilhelm
2005 Doom Sarge
2006 Gridiron Gang Sean Porter
2007 Reno 911!: Miami Agent Rick Smith
2007 Southland Tales Boxer Santaros
2007 The Game Plan Joe Kingman
2008 Get Smart Agent 23
2009 Race to Witch Mountain Jack Bruno
2009 Planet 51 Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker Voice
2010 Tooth Fairy Derek Thompson / Tooth Fairy
2010 Why Did I Get Married Too? Daniel Franklin Uncredited
2010 The Other Guys Detective Christopher Danson
2010 You Again Air marshal Uncredited
2010 Faster Driver
2011 Fast Five Luke Hobbs
2012 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Hank Parsons
2013 Snitch John Matthews
2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Roadblock
2013 Pain & Gain Paul Doyle
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Luke Hobbs
2013 Empire State Detective James Ransome
2014 Hercules Hercules[167] Post-production
2015 San Andreas Tom Filming
2015 Fast & Furious 7 Luke Hobbs Filming

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1999 That '70s Show Rocky Johnson Episode: "That Wrestling Show"
1999 The Net Brody Episode: "Last Man Standing"
2000 Saturday Night Live Himself Host
2000 Star Trek: Voyager The Champion Episode: "Tsunkatse"
2002 Saturday Night Live Himself Host
2007 Cory in the House Himself Episode: "Never the Dwayne Shall Meet"
2007 Hannah Montana Himself Episode: "Don't Stop Til You Get the Phone"
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place Himself Episode: "Art Teacher"
2009 Saturday Night Live Himself Host
2010 Transformers: Prime Cliffjumper Episode: "Darkness Rising, Part 1"; voice
2010 Family Guy Himself Episode: "Big Man on Hippocampus"
2013 The Hero Himself Host, producer
2014 Wake Up Call Himself Host, producer
2014 Ballers Spencer Strasmore Lead role and executive producer

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result Work
2001 Teen Choice Awards Film - Choice Sleazebag Won The Mummy Returns
2002 Teen Choice Awards Film - Choice Actor, Drama/Action Adventure Nominated The Scorpion King
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Butt Kicker Nominated The Scorpion King
2004 MTV Movie Awards Best Fight Nominated The Rundown
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor - Drama/Action Adventure Nominated Walking Tall
2005 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Rockstar Moment Nominated Be Cool
2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Bloodiest Beatdown Nominated Doom
2006 People's Choice Awards Favorite Male Action Star Nominated
2006 Razzie Awards Worst Actor Nominated Doom
2008 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Movie Star Nominated The Game Plan
2008 People's Choice Awards Favorite Leading Man Nominated Himself
2009 MTV Movie Awards Best Villain Nominated Get Smart
2011 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Nominated Tooth Fairy
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action Nominated Faster
Fast Five
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action Nominated G.I. Joe: Retaliation
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Male Nominated Fast & Furious 6
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Chemistry Nominated Fast & Furious 6
2013 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Butt Kicker Won Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
2014 Image Awards Entertainer of the Year Nominated
2014 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Butt Kicker Nominated G.I. Joe: Retaliation
2014 Acapulco Black Film Festival Artist of the Year Pending Fast & Furious 6
Pain & Gain
Snitch
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
2014 Acapulco Black Film Festival Best Ensemble Cast Pending Fast & Furious 6

Discography

Year Song Album
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

The Rock preparing to execute the People's Elbow on John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII
The Rock hitting the Rock Bottom on Daniel Bryan
Signature pose of The Rock

Relatives in wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

The Rock as WWF Champion in 2000
The Rock during his eighth reign as WWE Champion in 2013

1Won during The Invasion.
2The Rock's seventh reign was as Undisputed WWE Champion.

See also

References

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