Much has played into the man that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become, with a life of struggle, love, opportunity, talent and sacrifice. From football to wrestling to acting, The Rock has made his dreams come true in whatever he chooses to pursue and is a significant role model for those that are unsure of their talents in this world. Check out the incredible story of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Fulfilling the Legacy
Stemming from a long line of professional wrestlers, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had his wrestling legacy paved in gold thanks to his father and mother’s father. Soulman Rocky Johnson, Dwayne’s father, was known as part of the first ever African-American tag team in WWE history, not to mention an incredible fighter in the ring.
Utilizing similar light-foot tactics of Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, Soulman was one of the most successful ring fighters during the 80’s with his infamous dropkicks and muscular but girthy stature. Along with the Rock’s father, his grandfather was a major name in the ring as well, Peter Maivia. Peter was well known for his Samoan drop moves and was considered to be “someone you did not want to mess with in the ring.”
The Rock’s Roots
Due to his father’s successful traveling career as a professional wrestler, Dwayne spent most of his childhood with his mother and grandmother. Ata, daughter of Peter Maivia, was considered Samoan royalty as the daughter of “high chief” Maivia, so much of the Rock’s upbringing focused on the Samoan culture.
Born in Hayward, California, the Rock was raised in California, New Zealand, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Watching his father perform in the ring, the Rock was raised with a significant respect for the “business” as the family refers to it. Beyond his father and grandfather, Dwayne’s grandmother was one of the very few wrestling promoters and his cousin Savelina Fanene is also a professional wrestler currently in the WWE industry.
Although the Rock goes by the name Johnson, his Samoan culture is significantly a piece of him as the descendant of high chief Peter Maivia a “blood brother” and high chief Reverend Amituana’i Anoa’i.
After Maivia married Ofelia “Lia” Fuataga, Johnson’s grandmother Ata married Rocky Johnson. This made Dwayne a part of the the Anoa’i wrestling family legacy and eventually went under the name Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather’s names. Much of the Samoan culture and tradition rests within the bodily ink they carve onto themselves, so the Rock possesses a few different tattoos that reflect his culture as a major descendant of the high chief.
Growing up with his father always on the road, busy with his career, the Rock did not have much a father figure in his life. Due to his intense and immense stature at 6’5″ in high school, the former wrestler engaged in crime until he was 17 years old. Claiming in an interview that he was arrested 8 or 9 times for theft and small robberies on the island, he openly admitted to the foolish acts when targeting tourists in Waikiki.
Once he finally snapped out of his adolescent mindset and childish antics, the giant joined the Boys and Girls Club to take his frustrations out on the bag. ”I’ll never forget my mom crying and I’ll never forget the thought I had, ‘Well the only thing I can do is just go build my body,’ because the men who were successful that I knew of–Stallone, Arnold, Bruce Willis–they were men of action” he told AZ Central in 2014.