Rocky Johnson, a worldwide wrestling champion and hall of famer, and father of actor Dwayne Johnson or “The Rock”, died at 75.
The Cauliflower Alley Club, an organization of current and retired pro wrestlers, announced on Twitter that Rocky Johnson passed away. The news was also confirmed by the World Wrestling Entertainment, where he reached the peak of his career.
Johnson, or Wayde Douglas Bowles, was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia. His pursuit in the world of wrestling began at the age of 16 in Toronto while working as a truck driver. He legally changed his name to “Rocky Johnson” when he became a professional wrestler in 1964. He started to wrestle for the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1969 and became known and won several tag team championships in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1970s.
Johnson had the chance to fight Don Muraco, Buddy Rose, Mike Sharpe, Greg Valentine, and Adrian Adonis. As a tag team, he and Tony Atlas defeated the Wild Samoans for the Tag Team Championship on November 15, 1983.
He won several wrestling matches, such as NWA World Tag Team Championship, Continental Wrestling Association AWA Southern Tag Team Championship, NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship, NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship, NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, and NWA Brass Knuckles Championship.
Johnson was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2008.
Johnson met his first wife, Una Sparks, while he was training to become a boxer. They had two children, Curtis and Wanda. They subsequently had a divorce, and Johnson married Ata Maivia, daughter of wrestling legend “High Chief” Peter Maivia. Johnson and Mavia became parents of Dwayne on May 2, 1972.
Dwayne’s father died in the house the actor bought for him. In an Instagram post, Dwayne shared that he bought a house for his father in 2019. “Well for my pops that path started at 13yrs old when his mom kicked him out of his house on Christmas day and forced him to live on the streets … so his reality of compassion and love was forged thru pain and toughness,” he wrote.