Tuesday May 2, 1972 to Present
Southwest Ranches, Florida, U.S.Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name, The Rock, is an American-Canadian actor, producer, and retired professional wrestler. Johnson was a professional wrestler for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) for eight years prior to pursuing an acting career. His films have grossed over $3.5 billion in North America and over $10.5 billion worldwide, making Johnson one of the most successful and highest-grossing box-office stars of all time.
Johnson was a promising football prospect and received offers from many Division I collegiate programs. He decided on a full scholarship from the University of Miami where he mostly played defensive tackle. In 1991, he was on the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team. After suffering a number of injuries, he was later replaced in the starting lineup by future Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
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.
Johnson made his WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names, although his real name was acknowledged by the announcers. He was initially reluctant to take this ring 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.
Johnson defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a title defense on the March 31, 1997, episode of Raw is War. Behind the scenes, Hart mentored Johnson for his first year in WWF and refused to be booked to take the title from him
On April 20, 1997, at In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, he lost to Savio Vega by countout but retained the title. Audiences became increasingly hostile toward Maivia, with chants of "die, Rocky, die" and "Rocky sucks" being heard during his matches.
Johnson suffered a legitimate knee injury in a match against Mankind, Maivia returned in August 1997 and turned heel for the first time in his career by lashing out at fans who had been booing him and joining Faarooq, D'Lo Brown and Kama in the stable called the Nation of Domination.
At D-Generation X: In Your House, 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 title 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.
On January 19, 1998, at Royal Rumble, The Rock defeated Shamrock by disqualification to retain the Intercontinental title. Later that night, he entered the Royal Rumble match and lasted until the final two before he was eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The Rock and The Nation then feuded with Triple H and D-Generation X, with the two stable leaders first meeting in the quarter-final of the 1998 King of the Ring tournament, which The Rock won. At King of the Ring, The Rock defeated Dan Severn in the semi-final match and lost to rival Ken Shamrock in the final.
The Rock saw a big uptick in fan support during this time, causing him to be booked in a feud with fellow Nation members Mark Henry and D'Lo Brown, turning babyface in the process. Henry defeated him at Judgment Day: In Your House, after interference from Brown, effectively breaking up the stable.
He then refused to acknowledge the Rocky Maivia name, instead referring to himself in the third person as The Rock, though he would still be billed as Rocky "The Rock" Maivia until 1998. The Rock would then regularly insult the audience, WWF performers, and interviewers in his promos.
On December 13, 1998, at the pay-per-view named after him, Rock Bottom: In Your House, The Rock had a rematch with Mankind for the WWF Championship. Mankind appeared to win the match when The Rock passed out to the Mandible Claw submission move, but Vince McMahon ruled that since The Rock did not tap out, he retained his title.
The Rock continued to feud with Mankind over the WWF Championship, which was traded back and forth between them. First, in the main event of the January 4, 1999 episode of Raw Is War, Mankind defeated The Rock after interference from Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The Rock's popularity continued to grow and audiences still cheered for him even though he was a heel. He then lost the title rematch against Stone Cold Steve Austin at Backlash: In Your House after he was betrayed by Shane McMahon, turning him face again and starting a feud with Triple H, The Undertaker and The Corporate Ministry.
On April 29, 1999, WWF aired the pilot episode of SmackDown!, a term derived from one of The Rock's catchphrases. In the episode, The Rock continued his feud with The Corporate Ministry. This led to a match with Triple H, at Over the Edge, which The Rock won, and a match for the WWF Championship against The Undertaker, at King of the Ring, which The Rock lost. The Rock then lost a number one contender's match to Triple H, at Fully Loaded, after interference from "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn.
At Royal Rumble, on January 23, 2000, The Rock entered the Royal Rumble match and was one of the final two remaining, along with Big Show; In an attempt at a "false finish", Big Show intended to throw The Rock over the top rope in a running powerslam-like position, before The Rock countered the move on the ring apron, sending Big Show to the floor before re-entering the ring as the winner.
The Rock then defeated Big Show, on the March 13 episode of Raw Is War, to regain the right to face the WWF Champion, Triple H, at WrestleMania 2000 in a Fatal Four-way elimination match, also including Big Show and Mick Foley.
On May 21, at Judgment Day, The Rock faced Triple H in an Iron Man match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. With the score tied at five falls each, and with seconds left on the time limit, The Rock was disqualified when The Undertaker attacked Triple H, thus giving Triple H the 6–5 win and the title.
The Rock won the WWF Championship for a fifth time at King of the Ring on June 25 by scoring the winning pin in a six-man tag team match, teaming with Kane and The Undertaker against Shane McMahon, Triple H and Vince McMahon, whom he pinned.
On the December 18 episode of Raw, The Rock won the WWF Tag Team Championship with The Undertaker, defeating Edge and Christian, before losing it back to them the next night at a SmackDown! taping
On the next night's Raw Is War, during a steel cage title rematch, Triple H attacked The Rock, allying with McMahon and Austin and helping Austin retain the championship. Austin and Triple H then formed a tag team called The Power Trip, while The Rock was indefinitely suspended in storyline. Johnson used this time off to act in The Scorpion King.
The Rock returned in late July 2001, when the WWF was feuding with rival promotions, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), during what's known as The Invasion storyline. In reality, WCW and ECW were purchased by Vince McMahon and the WWF.
As part of the WWF's battle against The Alliance, The Rock wrestled in a "winner takes all" five-on-five elimination tag team match at Survivor Series where the losing team's company would be dissolved in storyline. He was a member of Team WWF along with Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, and Big Show. The Alliance's team consisted of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and Shane McMahon. In the end, it came down to a one-on-one between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock's WCW Championship was renamed the unbranded "World Championship" following the Alliance's loss.
At the next pay-per-view, No Way Out, The Rock defeated The Undertaker in a singles match. The event also saw the WWF debut of the famed WCW faction New World Order, which at the time consisted of "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. This later led to a match between The Rock and Hogan at WrestleMania X8.
After the introduction of the first-ever brand extension, the WWF held a "draft lottery" on the March 25, 2002, episode of Raw. The Rock was the number one overall pick, going to the SmackDown brand before taking a sabbatical from wrestling.
After failing to win a number one contendership for the World Heavyweight Championship, The Rock went into another program with Stone Cold Steve Austin. This led to a match at WrestleMania XIX, which called back to their previous two WrestleMania encounters, both of which Austin had won.
On March 12, 2007, The Rock appeared on a WWE show after nearly three years, via a pre-taped promo shown during Raw. He correctly predicted that Bobby Lashley would defeat Umaga at WrestleMania 23 in Donald Trump and Vince McMahon's "Battle of the Billionaires" Hair vs Hair match.
On October 2, 2007, Johnson and his ex-wife donated $1 million to the University of Miami to support the renovation of its football facilities. The University of Miami renamed the Hurricanes' locker room in Johnson's honor.