Dwayne Johnson debuted as Rocky Maivia, the first ever third generation star, nicknamed “The Blue Chipper.” Maivia was played us as a clean-cut good guy and given a huge push from the beginning, winning the Intercontinental Championship from Hunter Hurst Helmsley after only three months. But since the company as a whole was going in an increasingly less wholesome direction the fans rebelled against the one-dimensional character, chanting “Rocky sucks!” throughout his matches. Sensing the need for a change of course, the WWE turned Maivia heel, aligning him with The Nation of Domination and shortening his name to The Rock. As The Rock Johnson frequently referred to himself in the third person, beginning sentences “The Rock says…” Soon The Rock became too big for the supporting role and was cut loose to define a career of his own as a singles star and the Nation was disbanded after a feud with Degeneration X. The Rock attributes his success to a speech communication classes at The University of Miami.
When The Rock effectively stole the WWF Title from Mankind to win a championship tournament at In Your House: Deadly Games he began an on going feud with Mick Foley that would follow him through the final match of his career. They wrestled in rematch after rematch, most notably during a Super Bowl halftime show and in an I Quit match that became the basis for a compelling section of the movie Beyond The Mat. Foley and The Rock recorded a comedy segment entitled This Is Your Life in which Foley showered his enemy with kindness and attention and brought together figures from his childhood to say kind words. The Rock gradually consented to be Foley’s teammate and they became The Rock and Sock Connection. The Rock switched back and forth frequently from a face to a heel, seeming to work best when he was both loved and hated at once. The Rock lost the world championship to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XV. The two would fight at Wrestlemania twice more, including Austin’s final match as an active wrestler. He had historic feuds with Kurt Angle, Triple H, Chris Jericho and The Undertaker, and he defeated Hulk Hogan in an Icon vs. Legend match at Wrestlemania XVIII. He ended his active career by teaming with Mick Foley, re-uniting the Rock and Sock tag team they’d made popular years earlier.
Performer Dwayne Johnson was born on May 2, 1972, to wrestler Rocky Johnson and his wife Ata. He was the grandson of another wrestling star, The High Chief Peter Maivia, and a Polynesian wrestling promoter, Leah Maivia. Dwayne Johnson traveled on the road with his father much of the time, getting an inside view of Vince McMahon Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation from early childhood. He earned a football scholarship to The University of Miami after showing up as a walk on. He was a star defensive tackle and when injuries prevented him from continuing his career he was replaced by future NFL star Warren Sapp. Johnson graduated with a degree in Criminology and played for two months in the Canadian Football League before training with his father to join the family business. Johnson’s first WWF match was a non-televised win over The Brooklyn Brawler. He later lost to Owen Hart and Chris Candido, also known as Skip of the Bodydonnas.