Dwayne Johnson

© Eva Rinaldi
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 2.0 ]
Now in cinemas

Dwayne Johnson plays the role of Dr. Smolder Bravestone in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

BornDwayne Douglas Johnson
May 02, 1972 (age 45)
Profession Wrestler, American football player, Actor
Spouse Dany Garcia
Parents Rocky Johnson, Ata Johnson
Freebase ]

Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American/Canadian actor, producer and professional wrestler.

Johnson was acollege football player for the University of Miami, winning a national championship on the 1991 Miami Hurricanes football team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in theCanadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season. This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson (from whom he also inherited his Canadian citizenship). Originally billed as "Rocky Maivia", he gained mainstream fame as "The Rock" in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) from 1996 to 2004, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He returned to wrestling part-time for WWE from 2011 to 2013.

Johnson is widely considered one of the all-time greatest professional wrestlers. Headlining numerous pay-per-views over his career and considered one of the top box office draws of all time, he has headlined five WrestleManias. In ring he has had seventeen championship reigns in WWE, including ten as a world champion, winning the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice. He won the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and the WWF Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth WWF/E Triple Crown Champion, and won the 2000 Royal Rumble.

Johnson's autobiography The Rock Says... (co-written with Joe Layden) was published in 2000. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for several weeks. Johnson's first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this role, he was paid US$5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first starring role. He has since appeared in several films, including The Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Tooth Fairy, Doom, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6. He has hosted and produced The Hero, a reality competition series.

Early life

Johnson was born in Hayward, California, the son of Ata Johnson (née Maivia) and professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. His maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler. His maternal grandmother, Lia Maivia, was one of wrestling's few female professional promoters, taking over Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after her husband's death in 1982, until 1988. His father is of Black Nova Scotian origin, and his mother is of Samoan heritage. Johnson briefly lived in Auckland, New Zealand, with his mother's family. He attended Richmond Road Primary School, before returning to the United States with his parents.

Johnson spent 10th grade at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. As he entered 11th grade, his father's job required his relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He began playing football at Freedom High School in the East Penn Conference. He was also a member of the school's track and field and wrestling teams. On April 17, 2009, changes to Canadian nationality law came into effect, making all people born in the first generation abroad after 1947 to Canadian-born parents automatically (and retroactively to date of birth) Canadian citizens. Johnson, through his father, thus gained Canadian citizenship.

Johnson was a promising football prospect, and received offers from many Division I collegiate programs. He decided upon a full scholarship from the University of Miami to play defensive tackle. In 1991, he was on the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team. After an injury kept him sidelined, he was replaced by future National Football League (NFL) star Warren Sapp. While attending Miami, Johnson met his future wife, Dany Garcia, who graduated from the university in 1992 and later became a member of its Board of Trustees. She also founded a Miami-based wealth management firm. In 2006, the couple donated $2 million to build a living room at the University's Newman Alumni Center.

Johnson graduated from Miami in 1995, with a Bachelor of General Studies degree in criminology and physiology. He joined the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football Leaguein 1995, after the NFL passed him over. He was cut two months into the season. On November 10, 2007, Johnson returned to the Miami Orange Bowl to participate in the festivities surrounding the University of Miami's last home football game at the stadium.

Professional wrestling career

Like his father and grandfather, several of Johnson's other relatives are or were professional wrestlers, including his uncles, Afa and Sika AnoaŹ»i (The Wild Samoans) and his cousins, Manu, Yokozuna, Rikishi, Rosey and Umaga. When Johnson declared his intent to become a wrestler, his father initially resisted, but then agreed to train him himself, warning that he would not go easy on him. Veteran wrestler Pat Patterson got Johnson several tryout matches with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1996. Under his real name, he defeated The Brooklyn Brawler at a house show, and lost the other matches to Chris Candido and Owen Hart. After wrestling at Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association, as "Flex Kavana", and winning the USWA World Tag Team Championship twice with Bart Sawyer in the summer of 1996, Johnson signed a WWF contract. He received additional training from Tom Prichard, alongside Achim Albrecht and Mark Henry.

Rocky Maivia

Johnson made his WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names. He was initially reluctant to take the name, but was persuaded by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross. He was given the nickname "The Blue Chipper", and his lineage was played to on TV, where he was hyped as the WWF's first third-generation wrestler. Maivia, a clean-cut face character, was pushed heavily from the start despite his wrestling inexperience. He debuted at Survivor Series in November 1996, in an eight-man elimination tag match; he was the sole survivor. On February 13, 1997, he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Hunter Hearst Helmsley on Monday Night Raw. Maivia successfully defended the title at In Your House 12: It's Time against Salvatore Sincere, at In Your House 13: Final Four against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and at WrestleMania 13 against The Sultan. He defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a title defense on the March 31 episode of Raw. On April 20, at In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, he lost to Savio Vega by countout, retaining the title for the final time. Though pushed as a face, audiences generally disliked Maivia. Chants of "Die, Rocky, die!" and "Rocky sucks!" were common during his matches.

The Rock

After losing the Intercontinental Championship to Owen Hart on the April 28, 1997 Raw is War, and suffering a knee injury in a match against Mankind, Maivia returned as a heel. Along with Faarooq, D'Lo Brown, and Kama, he formed a stable called The Nation of Domination. During this time, he refused to acknowledge the "Rocky Maivia" name, instead referring to himself in the third person as "The Rock". He insulted the audience in his promos, as well as WWF television interviewers, once calling Kevin Kelly an "ugly hermaphrodite".

At In Your House: D-Generation X, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock in under six minutes to retain the Intercontinental Championship. The next night, on Raw is War, Austin was ordered by Mr. McMahon to defend the title in a rematch, but forfeited it to The Rock instead, handing him the belt before hitting him with the Stone Cold Stunner. The Rock feuded with Austin and Ken Shamrock through the end of 1997 and beginning of 1998. In March 1998, The Rock overthrew Faarooq as leader of The Nation of Domination, sparking a feud. He successfully defended the Intercontinental title against Faarooq at In Your House: Over the Edge on May 31, 1998.

He and The Nation then feuded with Triple H and D-Generation X. The two stable leaders first had a two out of three falls match at Fully Loaded for the Intercontinental title, which The Rock retained in controversial fashion. This led to a ladder match at SummerSlam, in which Triple H won the title. At Breakdown: In Your House, The Rock defeated Ken Shamrock and Mankind in a triple threat steel cage match to become the number one contender for the WWF Championship. He then feuded with fellow Nation member Mark Henry, effectively breaking up the stable.

Acting career

The success of Johnson's wrestling character allowed him to cross over into mainstream pop culture. He appeared on Wyclef Jean's 2000 single "It Doesn't Matter" and in its music video. He also recorded "Pie" with Slick Rick for WWF The Music, Vol. 5. In 2000, he hosted Saturday Night Live. Fellow wrestlers Triple H, The Big Show, and Mick Foley also appeared on the show. Johnson has stated the success of that episode is the reason he began receiving offers from Hollywood studios. Johnson had guest roles on Star Trek: Voyager, as an alien wrestler that uses The Rock's famous moves, and on That '70s Show, as his father, Rocky Johnson.

Johnson's motion picture debut was a brief appearance as The Scorpion King in the opening sequence of The Mummy Returns. The character appears in the movie's climax in CGI form. The movie's financial success led to his first leading role, in the spin-off The Scorpion King. He was listed in the 2007 Guinness World Records as the highest-paid actor in his first starring role, receiving US$5.5 million for this movie. He was considered for the title role in a feature-length Johnny Bravo film, but it was canceled during production.

Personal life

Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997, a day after his 25th birthday. Their daughter, Simone Alexandra, was born August 14, 2001. On June 1, 2007, they announced they were splitting up amicably and intended to spend the rest of their lives together as best friends.

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