Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Dwayne Johnson grew up in a family of wrestling royalty. His father, future WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, was one of the most popular talents in the professional wrestling industry. His maternal grandfather, future WWE Hall of Famer High Chief Peter Maivia, was the patriarch of the famous Maivia family, one of professional wrestling's toughest competitors who also appeared in the 1967 James Bond classic, You Only Live Twice.

Because he idolized his father, grandfather and WWE Hall of Famers Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, it was only natural Dwayne thought about a life in sports and entertainment. After a childhood of mischief, Dwayne was an All-American on the gridiron at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


Trained by his father, along with Pat Patterson, Dwayne exceeded all expectations and soon cut his teeth in the United States Wrestling Association. While there, he learned his craft and stared across the ring at Jerry Lawler.

A Rocky Start

At the 1996 Survivor Series, a capacity Madison Square Garden crowd witnessed the third-generation Superstar make his way to the ring. As a tribute to his grandfather and father, he chose the name Rocky Maivia. As the next Maivia emerged the sole survivor, the Superstar was set to take the sports-entertainment world by storm. Within three months of his debut, Rocky captured the Intercontinental Championship when he defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley on a special Thursday edition of Raw.

As the tone of professional wrestling changed, the fans' cheers suddenly turned to jeers as they chanted "Rocky Sucks" and "Die Rocky Die." Shortening his name to "The Rock" and referring to himself in the third person, he became one of the most detested figures in all of World Wrestling Entertainment and a member of The Nation of Domination. The anger from the fans fueled his fire to succeed and his undiluted arrogance enraged crowds everywhere. The Rock dubbed himself "The People's Champion" and made it clear he would reach the top of WWE by any means necessary. The Rock soon physically removed Farooq as Nation leader and became the self-appointed ruled of the group, citing the term leader was beneath him. In the summer of 1998, The Nation began a fierce rivalry against D-Generation X to decide which was the most dominant faction in WWE. The two leaders met in the King of the Ring tournament. After The Rock pinned rival Triple H, both crews threw fists of fury as pure bedlam flooded the ring.

The Rock's career gained momentum and he left The Nation to construct his own path to glory. He invited all Superstars to "Go One-on-One with The Great One," and in the process became the object of Mr. McMahon's intense scrutiny. "The People's Champion" went into the Survivor Series' 16-man tournament for the WWE Championship a heavy favorite. In the tournament finals against Mankind, the 26-year-old showed the perseverance and poise of a seasoned veteran. After he locked-in the Sharpshooter, the bell unexpectedly rang and their collusion became known. The McMahons courted The Rock and made "The People's Champion," "The Corporate Champion." A confused Mankind got his final explanation courtesy of a blindside beating by the newly crowned champion. This event led to a string of classic clashes between the two, and though Mankind temporarily regained the championship, the sight of a jubilant Mankind brought out an even more barbarous "Brahma Bull." Their most sadistic bout was the Last Man Standing Match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre. When neither man answered the ten-count, the match was ruled a draw and they met the next night on Raw in a Ladder Match, won by The Rock. Afterward, "The Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainment" put his problems with Mankind and focused on a new enemy.

At WrestleMania XV, "The Great One" took on the anti-establishment "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the WWE Championship. The carnage in Philadelphia proved to be the beginning of one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history. Despite a loss to the "Texas Rattlesnake," The Rock truly became "The People's Champion" when he left The Corporation and went his own way. As the mystique of The Rock grew, audiences continued to marvel at his undeniable charisma and wildly entertaining promos. As he entered the summer of 1999, he resumed war with a familiar foe, Triple H. When former enemy Mankind was looking for a friend, he treated The Rock to a parade of his past on an episode of "Rock: This is Your Life." In the process, the two joined forces as The Rock N' Sock Connection and surprised everyone with their continuity and resolve when they defeated Undertaker and Big Show for the World Tag Team Championship.

The Great One At #1

After he won the 2000 Royal Rumble, The Rock's popularity rose to new heights each week on WWE programming. He wrote his autobiography, The Rock Says, which reached No. 1 on the prestigious New York Times Bestseller List. He hosted Saturday Night Live, a gave a special address at the Republican National Convention, and appeared in hip-hop legend Wyclef Jean's famous video "It Doesn't Matter." By 2001, The Rock was considered an absolute multimedia superstar as he appeared in the feature film, The Mummy Returns and later starred in its highly successful prequel, The Scorpion King, which was commemorated with a wax statue of "The Great One" at Madame Tussaud's famous gallery in New York City.

Of course, The Rock didn't sever his ties with WWE during this time. The Rock secured the fate of World Wrestling Entertainment at the 2001 Survivor Series as he captained Team WWE and destroyed The Alliance. This defense of his first love became indisputable in February 2002, when WWE was injected with the lethal poison of the nWo. The path taken by Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left The Rock no choice but to do what was needed for the company's survival. At WrestleMania X-8, he defeated Hollywood Hulk Hogan in their epic fantasy turned reality Icon vs. Icon Match. In 2003, The Rock's Hollywood stock continued to rise, but he may have saved his greatest act for WrestleMania XIXI, when he defeated his long-time nemesis "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

The Rock returned to Hollywood for The Rundown with Christopher Walken, but returned to WWE in 2004 to reform the Rock N' Sock Connection, and battle Evolution at WrestleMania XX. The Rock's international following grew and he continued to electrify movie screens as the main draw in multiple Hollywood blockbusters.

After three years away from WWE, The Rock appeared on Monday Night Raw in a taped segment in which he gave his prediction to the Battle of The Billionaires Match at WrestleMania 23. In 2008, he returned to World Wrestling Entertainment and inducted his father, Rocky Johnson, and late grandfather High Chief Peter Maivia into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Could Sting Face The Rock At WrestleMania 31?

AJ Lee
"The Great One" had his eyes on Sting ten years ago

With Sting on board with WWE and the in-ring future of The Undertaker, his most desired opponent in doubt, there is a good chance that the WCW icon could wind up facing Dwayne The Rock Johnson at next year's WrestleMania in Santa Clara, California. (Recent Photos Of The Rock With His Girlfriend)

In 2004, Johnson was only making sporadic appearances for WWE due to his thriving acting career and having accomplished most of his goals in the professional wrestling industry. While he still desired to wrestle, it was primarily against opponents of his choosing. For WrestleMania XX, he proposed to WWE chief Vince McMahon that he face either Hulk Hogan or Goldberg in return matches from the prior year, or Randy Savage. McMahon, however, had no interest in having Johnson facing any of the three, instead wanting him to reunite with Mick Foley against the trio of Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair. Later that year, Johnson proposed that at WrestleMania 21, he face Savage or Sting. Both "dream matches" were not viable options. Sting had no desire to join WWE at the time due to his belief that that the sports-entertainment organization had buried WCW mainstays during The Invasion storyline in 2001 and therefore could not be trusted. In the case of Savage, McMahon refused to consider bringing him back for reasons which remain unclear to this day.

WrestleMania 21 came and went without an appearance from Johnson because he was no longer contractually obligated to the sports-entertainment organization. His WWE contract expired on December 31, 2004 without even a quick phone call from McMahon to say thanks for his enormous contributions and good luck with your future endeavors. This snub did not go unnoticed, as Johnson told Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer in January 2005, "The company and I are at an odd crossroad. It was an oddly quiet ending, without any interaction or communication from the front office or the old man [Vince McMahon]. Surprising to say the least, especially after eight years." (Photos Of The Rock's Florida Mansion)

Relations were ultimately patched up and as you know, Johnson has continued to wrestle on a sporadic basis. He has not competed since WrestleMania 29, where he tore his abdominal and adductor tendons from his pelvis while giving the Rock Bottom John Cena -- he later underwent surgery to reattach the torn tendons. Despite the debilitating injury, Johnson has publicly not ruled out a return to the ring.

During a Twitter question and answer session on December 31, 2013, he revealed that he was originally scheduled to wrestle Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX and left the possibility of the match being held at WrestleMania 31. The match, however, is not guaranteed to take place, and with WWE wanting Sting to compete in at least one mega match before he retires, Johnson could be his opponent. Now questions remain whether Johnson is still interested in facing Sting, if a match is even feasible in 2015, or be a good situation for the both of them as well as WWE.


Dwayne Johnson
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