Dwayne Johnson has created a legendary legacy, a force to be reckoned with inside and outside the wrestling ring. But every iconic journey has its beginning. In this article, we set our sights on the moment that marked the start of The Rock’s wrestling career.
Join us as we explore the early days of The Rock, from his humble beginnings as a promising newcomer to the electrifying presence that captivated millions of fans worldwide. Discover the origins of The Rock’s illustrious wrestling legacy and the events that shaped him into the People’s Champion we know and love today.
When did Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson first start to wrestle?
Dwayne Johnson’s foray into professional wrestling began in 1996, following his departure from the Calgary Stampeders football team. Veteran wrestler Pat Patterson was pivotal in securing tryout matches for Johnson with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Initially competing under his real name, Johnson experienced victories and losses against notable wrestlers.
During this time, Johnson also competed in Jerry Lawler’s United States Wrestling Association under the ring name Flex Kavana, achieving success by winning the USWA tag team championship twice alongside Bart Sawyer. His impressive performances caught the attention of the WWF, leading to Johnson signing a contract with the organization. He underwent further training under the guidance of Tom Prichard, Achim Albrecht, and Mark Henry.
Johnson made his highly anticipated WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, a name derived from his father and grandfather’s wrestling personas. Initially reluctant to embrace the ring name, he was convinced by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross. Marketed as “The Blue Chipper” and promoted as the WWF’s first third-generation wrestler, Maivia quickly gained prominence despite his relative inexperience. His first match took place at Survivor Series in November 1996, where he emerged as the sole survivor and eliminated two members of the opposing team.
In February 1997, Maivia secured the Intercontinental Championship by defeating Hunter Hearst Helmsley on Monday Night Raw. He successfully defended the title against Helmsley at In Your House 13: Final Four, solidifying his status as a rising star in the WWF. Johnson’s early wrestling career showcased his potential and set the stage for his future success as one of the industry’s most iconic figures.
Looking at The Rock’s legacy and career
From the wrestling ring to the big screen, Johnson’s journey continues to inspire millions worldwide, solidifying his legacy as an entertainment icon.
Dwayne Johnson has shown to be a clever entrepreneur in addition to his acting profession, having invested in a variety of commercial endeavors. One of his most significant investments is in the Teremana Tequila. Its value has risen to an estimated $3.5 billion.
From being crowned ‘Match of the Year’ for his matches against Mankind and Hollywood Hogan to being named ‘Most Popular Wrestler of the Year,’ Johnson’s effect on the wrestling industry was apparent. His charm and in-ring ability were also recognized by Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which inducted him into its Hall of Fame class.
In Hollywood, Johnson’s acting career soared as he starred in iconic roles opposite big names in the industry. Movies like Moana, Hobbs & Shaw, and the Jumanji film series solidified his status as a versatile actor with a global fan base. Though not all of his films garnered critical acclaim, Johnson’s films consistently achieved commercial success.
His efforts in the entertainment business have garnered him several nominations and honors, including the Webby Award for Special Achievement and inclusion on the TIME 100 Most Influential People list. For his roles in Jungle Cruise and Black Adam, he was named ‘Favorite Male Movie Star’ and ‘Favorite Movie Actor’ at the Teen Choice Awards and People’s Choice Awards.