WWE Hall Of Famer & Father Of ‘The Rock’, Rocky Johnson, Dies At 75
Whether you watch World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or not, you’d be familiar with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who has made his name as a bona fide Hollywood star.
True fans of either WWE or the man himself would know that his father, Rocky Johnson, was also a star in his own right.
That star, sadly, dimmed on Wednesday (15 Jan) after Rocky passed away at the age of 75, according to the WWE Network.
The Rock himself hasn’t commented on his dad’s passing, but the fact that so many mourn his loss prove how formidable the man’s presence was.
Rocky Johnson paved the way for African-American wrestlers
Shortly after joining the World Wrestling Foundation (WWF), now the WWE in 1983, Rocky made waves in the arena by forming the first African-American tag team with fellow wrestler Tony Atlas.
The duo, named “The Soul Patrol”, went on to win the tag-team title that year, becoming “the first black world tag team champions in WWE history”, according to AP News.
They soon became crowd favourites, rising in popularity amidst alleged racism going on within the sport.
The pair’s success broke barriers, enabling African-American wrestlers to enjoy greater recognition in wrestling.
Nurtured a future wrestling & Hollywood superstar
Watching his father’s success from the sidelines was Dwayne Johnson, then an athlete in the Canadian Football League, according to the Los Angeles Times.
When he failed to make the team, he asked his father to train him in pro wrestling, which the latter was initially against.
Rocky eventually relented, and trained his son alongside Ron Slinker and Pat Patterson, the latter of whom later referred Dwayne to WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
Taking on Rocky’s moniker, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson went on to become one of the most prolific WWE wrestlers, gaining more fame than his father.
His Hollywood break also proved fruitful, as he has appeared in various box office hits throughout his ongoing career.
Left a lasting legacy behind
Though Rocky is no longer here with us, we believe the legacy he left behind will be deeply etched in the hearts of many.
The wrestling entertainment industry has lost a heavyweight, and a Hollywood star has lost his father, whom the world will remember for years to come.