Rocky Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles; August 24, 1944) is a Canadian retired professional wrestler. During his wrestling career, he became a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Georgia Champion and a NWA Southern Heavyweight Memphis Champion, as well as winning many other championships. Along with his partner Tony Atlas, Johnson was a part of the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team championship in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Johnson in 1975
|Birth name||Wayde Douglas Bowles|
|Born||August 24, 1944|
Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada
|Residence||Davie, Florida, U.S.|
(m. 1962; div. 1968)
(m. 1970; div. 2003)
|Children||7, including Dwayne Johnson|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||The Rock Sweet Ebony Diamond|
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||260 lb (120 kg; 18 st 8 lb)|
|Billed from||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
Washington, D.C., United States
|Trained by||Peter Maivia|
Kurt Von Steiger
Rocky Johnson was born Wayde Douglas Bowles in Amherst, Nova Scotia, where he was raised, the fourth of five sons of Lillian (née Gay) and James Henry Bowles (1888-1967). A Black Nova Scotian, he is descended from Black Loyalists who immigrated to Nova Scotia after escaping from a southern plantation in the United States after the American Revolutionary War, and also has a small amount of Irish ancestry. At the age of 16, Johnson moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he began wrestling and worked as a truck driver. Initially, he trained to be a boxer and eventually sparred with greats such as Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, but he was always fascinated by wrestling.
He was a top contender in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1970s, receiving title matches against then-World Champions Terry Funk and Harley Race. He was well-suited to tag team wrestling, winning several regional tag team championships in the NWA. Johnson wrestled off and on in the Memphis promotion, often feuding with Jerry Lawler, winning Lawler's crown at one point. He also wrestled under a mask as "Sweet Ebony Diamond" in the Mid-Atlantic area.
In 1983, he was recruited by the World Wrestling Federation where he feuded with Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Mike Sharpe, Buddy Rose, and Adrian Adonis. He was then paired with Tony Atlas as a tag team. They defeated the Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) for the Tag Team Championship on November 15, 1983. They were the first black tag team to hold the tag title. Together, Johnson and Atlas were known as "The Soul Patrol".
After retiring in 1991, Johnson along with Pat Patterson, trained his son Dwayne to wrestle. While he initially resisted his son's entry into the business because he knew it was extremely difficult, he agreed to train his son on the condition that he would not go easy on him. Johnson was instrumental in getting Dwayne (later dubbed "Rocky Maivia" after both Rocky Johnson's and Peter Maivia's ring names) signed to a WWF developmental deal. Initially, Johnson had an on-camera presence at his son's matches, jumping into the ring on his son's behalf after he was attacked by The Sultan and The Iron Sheik at WrestleMania 13. Johnson was not seen on-camera again after the Rocky Maivia character flopped, but this was actually a blessing, as his son achieved crossover popularity as a cocky heel, The Rock.
Johnson was hired as a trainer for the WWE developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, in early 2003 but was let go in May of that year. On February 25, 2008, Johnson was announced as an inductee for the 2008 class of the WWE Hall of Fame along with his father-in-law "High Chief" Peter Maivia. Both he and his father-in-law were inducted into the Hall of Fame on March 29, 2008 by his son, The Rock.
Johnson married into a prolific Samoan wrestling family, which included the Anoa'i family, by marrying "High Chief" Peter Maivia's daughter Ata Maivia. Ata met Rocky after Maivia and Johnson were tag team partners in a match on the independent scene. Maivia disapproved of the relationship—not because of anything personal against Johnson, but because of Johnson's chosen profession, as he knew first hand how hard it was for the wrestlers' families who were at home while they were constantly on the road. The couple had a son, Dwayne, on May 2, 1972. In his first television acting job, Dwayne Johnson portrayed his father in a season 1 (1999) episode of That '70s Show called "That Wrestling Show".
As of at least 2003, Johnson lives in Davie, Florida. He and Ata divorced in 2003. He also has two other children, as he announced during his 2008 Hall of Fame induction: a son, Curtis, and a daughter, Wanda, from his first marriage. Johnson is the first non-Samoan to be named High Chief, and was given the title High Chief Tafiaiafi.
Growing up, Mr. Johnson was known as Wayde Bowles
In 1964, the already ripped twenty-year-old debuted as a wrestler in the southern Ontario area. He took on the ring name Rocky Johnson, and wound up liking it so much that he soon had his name legally changed.
He was born Wayde Douglas Bowles in Amherst, Nova Scotia, in 1944, the fourth of five sons born to James Henry Bowles and Lillian Bowles. His family was descended from slaves who had escaped the plantations of the American South
Arthur Anoaʻi Sr. (born November 21, 1942) is a Samoan-American retired professional wrestler and professional wrestling manager. Since retiring, he has operated the World Xtreme Wrestling promotion and trained wrestlers at the Wild Samoan Training Center.Anoaʻi family
The Anoaʻi family, originating from American Samoa, is a family of professional wrestlers. Family members have comprised several tag teams and stables within a variety of promotions. Famous members of the family include Rikishi, Umaga, Yokozuna, Roman Reigns, The Usos and brothers Afa and Sika Anoaʻi, the Wild Samoans. Peter Maivia and his grandson Dwayne Johnson are considered honorary members.
Reverend Amituana'i Anoa'i and Peter Maivia were blood brothers, a connection that continued with Afa and Sika, who regard Peter as their uncle. Peter married Ofelia "Lia" Fuataga, who already had a daughter named Ata, whom he adopted and raised as his own. Ata married wrestler Rocky Johnson, and the couple became the parents of Dwayne Johnson, who wrestled under the names "Rocky Maivia" and "The Rock", before establishing himself as an actor.Cody Burger
Cody Michael Burger (born August 4, 1983) is an American former child actor whose noteworthy acting credentials include portraying Cousin Rocky Johnson in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), an appearance on the hit television program Home Improvement (1991), Mel Gibson's vehicle Forever Young (1992), and most recently, several lines delivered alongside Ben Stiller in Disney's Heavyweights (1995).
Since then, Burger has been attending Florida State University and has made no announcements of a return to acting.Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor, producer, and semi-retired professional wrestler. His films have earned over $3.4 billion in North America.Johnson was a college football player for the University of Miami, with whom he won a national championship in 1991. He initially aspired to a professional career in football, but was cut by the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and began training as a professional wrestler in the summer of 1995.In 1996, Johnson secured a contract with the WWE when it was known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and was promoted as the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history as he is the son of Rocky Johnson and grandson of Peter Maivia. He rose to prominence after developing a charismatic persona of a boastful trash-talking wrestler named The Rock. He subsequently won his first WWF Championship in 1998 and helped usher the WWF into the "Attitude Era", a boom period in the company's business in the latter 1990s and early 2000s which still hold professional wrestling records for television ratings. In 2004, he left the WWE to pursue an acting career and went on a seven-year hiatus before returning in 2011 as a part-time performer until 2013.
Considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers and biggest draws of all-time, The Rock headlined the most bought professional wrestling pay-per-view event, WrestleMania XXVIII, and was featured in some of the most watched WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown television episodes ever. He has won several championships in his career, being a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a five-time tag team champion, and a ten-time world champion. He was also a Royal Rumble match winner and WWE's sixth Triple Crown champion.
Johnson has also attained success as an actor, producer, and writer. In 2000, he released an autobiography titled The Rock Says... which debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list. Johnson played his first lead acting role in The Scorpion King (2002) and went on to star in numerous other films, including The Rundown (2003), The Other Guys (2010), Moana (2016), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). His most successful box office role has been a recurring role as Luke Hobbs in The Fast and the Furious movies, helping it become one of the top-grossing film franchises in history. In 2012, he founded his production company, Seven Bucks Productions, which has since produced several films. Consistently ranked among the world's highest paid actors, Johnson made the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list in both 2016 and 2019.Earl Maynard
Earl Maynard (born November 28, 1935) is a bodybuilder and professional wrestler as well as a film actor, producer and director from Barbados.King Parsons
King Bailey Parsons Jr. (born June 11, 1950) is a former professional wrestler better known by his ring name Iceman King Parsons.Lia Maivia
Ofelia "Lia" Maivia (born Ofelia Fuataga; August 6, 1931 – October 19, 2008) was a Samoan-American professional wrestling promoter. She is credited as one of the first female professional wrestling promoters. Maivia was the wife of Samoan professional wrestler Peter Maivia and the grandmother of actor and wrestler, Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock.NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship
The NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship was the top singles championship in the National Wrestling Alliance's Los Angeles territory, known officially as NWA Hollywood Wrestling, from 1968 until the promotion closed in 1982. The title was first established in 1967 as a secondary championship in NWA Hollywood's predecessor, Worldwide Wrestling Associates. Although the name of the title implies that it was defended throughout North, Central and South America, it was rarely defended outside of Southern California. As a result, the title was essentially a regional title rather than a national one. A number of NWA affiliated promoters at various points over the years have used their own regional versions or variations of "national" championships for the purpose of giving crowds the idea that the company was larger than it actually was, or that the company was the biggest or most successful within the ranks of the National Wrestling Alliance.NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version)
The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) member NWA San Francisco promoted a professional wrestling tag team championship under the name NWA World Tag Team Championship from 1950 until 1961 in and around their local territory until it closed. When San Francisco based Big Time Wrestling became a member of the NWA in 1968 they began promoting their version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship as part of their shows until the championship was abandoned in 1979. The NWA rules allowed each individual member to promote a championship under that name, which meant there were several NWA World Tag Team Championships promoted across North America at some point between 1950 and 1982, with two different versions being promoted in San Francisco, although not at the same time. At one point in 1957 no less than 13 different versions of the NWA World Tag Team Championship were recognized across the United States.[Championships] At least 21 different regional branches of the NWA World Tag Team Championship have identified as being active at some point between 1950 and 1991. In 1992 the NWA Board of Directors sanctioned one main NWA World Tag Team Championship under their control. As it is a professional wrestling championship, it is not won via legitimate competition; it is instead won via a scripted ending to a match or on occasion awarded to a wrestler because of a storyline.Ray Eckert and Hard Boiled Haggerty are recognized as the first holders of the NWA San Francisco version of the championship, said to have defeated the team of Ron Etchison and Larry Moquin, although no direct record of the match has been found; it was only mentioned on television. Due to gaps in documentation from the era not all championship changes have been record with specific dates, only the general period of time that they happened. Due to this it is impossible to say which team held the championship for the shortest period of time although it is unlikely to be shorter than the one-day reign of Mike and Ben Sharpe from January 9 to 10, 1958. The Sharpe Brothers' eighth reign lasted at least 131 days, the longest known reign of any champions. The Sharpe Brothers also hold the record for most reigns, a total of 18, 15 more than any other team. In 1957 the San Francisco version of the championship was one of thirteen NWA World Tag Team Championships being promoted in the United States throughout the NWA territories.[Championships] The NWA: San Francisco version of the championship was abandoned in when promoter Joe Malcevicz closed his promotion in 1962.In 1961 Roy Shire started a rival wrestling promotion in San Francisco called Big Time Wrestling, in direct competition with NWA: San Francisco. Shires' promotion created its own World Tag Team Championship in 1961, with Guy and Joe Brunetti as its first champions. Initially Shire was associated with the American Wrestling Alliance, but in 1968 he became a member of the NWA. At that point the Big Time Wrestling tag team championship was given the NWA suffix. Big Time Wrestling abandoned the tag team championship in 1979 and two years later the promotion closed. While it is possible that there were shorter reigns, the seven-day reign of the Great Mephisto and Kinji Shibuya in April 1973 is the shortest documented title reign. The Blonde Bombers's (Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson) reign that started in April 1965 was the longest reign on record, a total of 623 days.Peter Maivia
Fanene Leifi Pita Maivia (born Fanene Pita Anderson; April 6, 1937 – June 12, 1982) was a Samoan-American professional wrestler better known as Peter Maivia. He is the maternal grandfather of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, part of the famous Anoa'i family and was a promoter for the National Wrestling Alliance in Hawaii.Professional wrestling in Canada
Professional wrestling in Canada has a rich, cultural history. Major territorial promotions have existed in Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary. In addition, numerous professional wrestlers from Canada have gone on to achieve worldwide success.Rocky Johnson (mixed martial artist)
Rocky Johnson (born July 24, 1971) is an American mixed martial artist. He is most notable for his win by submission over future UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson.St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame
The St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame is a professional wrestling hall of fame. After several years of debating the idea of creating the Hall of Fame, former owner and promoter of the St. Louis Wrestling Club Larry Matysik opened it in 2007. He was joined in this effort by promoter Herb Simmons, SBAC Member Tony Casta, sports journalist Keith Schildroth, and longtime fan Nick Ridenour. Although these directors oversee the selection process, the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame is unique because it is the only wrestling hall of fame that allows fans to vote for potential inductees.The Hall of Fame was created to honor the role St. Louis played in helping to establish professional wrestling in North America. Matysik also wanted to create a hall of fame that recognized wrestlers for their contributions to wrestling rather than their relationships with the owner of the promotion. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, inductees must have held a title belt or played an important role in or around the Missouri area between 1959 and 1983, when the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) had a strong presence in St. Louis.For the initial group of inductions, the directors decided that Sam Muchnick, Lou Thesz, Bill Longson, Mickey Garagiola, Penny Banner, and Joe Schoenberger would be inducted by acclamation. Fans were asked to vote for seven more inductees from a list of twenty choices. At the induction ceremony, these thirteen were enshrined, along with Matysik, a surprise inductee. King Kong Brody was inducted later that year.When the Hall of Fame opened in 2007, it was located in The Pro Wrestling Shirt Shop, a business in St. Louis' South County Mall. It contained plaques and memorabilia from the St. Louis Wrestling Club. In 2008, the Hall was moved to the South Broadway Athletic Club. Each induction plaque is personalized with a description of the individual's contributions. For example, Thesz' plaque states that he is "the finest example of a true world champion". Six more people were inducted in 2008, bringing the total to twenty-one. The Hall's directors plan to add six more inductees each year. Fourteen men and one woman have been honored for their performance in the ring as wrestlers. The remaining six people have been inducted for their other contributions, including owning and promoting the St. Louis Wrestling Club, as well as performing duties as referees, ring announcers, and commentators.Superbowl of Wrestling
The Superbowl of Wrestling was an event held in the 1970s. It was one of the first professional wrestling "Supercards".Texas Tech Red Raiders softball
The Texas Tech Red Raiders softball team competes in the NCAA Division I, representing Texas Tech University as a member of the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech has played its home games at Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, Texas since 2001.The Wild Samoans
The Wild Samoans was the professional wrestling tag team of Afa and Sika in Mid-South Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The Samoans held 21 tag team championships around the world.Tony Atlas
Anthony White (born April 23, 1954) better known by his ring name Tony Atlas is an American bodybuilder, powerlifter, and professional wrestler who has held multiple titles and championships in each sport. He is also known by his bodybuilding title, "Mr. USA" (a distinction he earned three times), the nom de guerre the "Black Superman", as well as an alter ego named Saba Simba. He returned as an on screen manager for WWE, appearing on its now-defunct ECW brand. He re-signed with WWE in a Legends deal in mid-2012.WWE Hall of Fame (2006)
WWE Hall of Fame (2006) was the event which featured the introduction of the 7th class to the WWE Hall of Fame. The event was produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on April 1, 2006 from the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, Illinois. The event took place the same weekend as WrestleMania 22. The event was hosted by Todd Grisham. The first two hours aired live on the WWE's website, with the final hour airing live on the USA Network. In March 2015 the ceremony was added to the WWE Network.WWE Hall of Fame (2008)
WWE Hall of Fame (2008) was the event which featured the introduction of the 9th class to the WWE Hall of Fame. The event was produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on March 29, 2008 from the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. The event took place the same weekend as WrestleMania XXIV. The event was hosted by Gene Okerlund and Todd Grisham. The ceremony aired live on the WWE's website, with the final hour airing live on the USA Network. In March 2015 the ceremony was added to the WWE Network.
WWE Hall of Fame inductees