Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, passed away yesterday at the age of 76.
Known by many as “The Soulman,” Johnson wrestled in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) from 1964 to 1982, which is roughly around the same time the Hall of Famer legally changed his name to from Wayde Douglas Bowles to Rocky Johnson. After leaving the NWA, Johnson joined the WWE from 1982-1985, where he often feuded with legends like Buddy Rose, Don Muraco, and Greg Valentine. On November 15, 1983, Johnson and tag-team partner, Tony Atlas, defeated the Wild Samoans to become the first black tag team in the history of professional wrestling to hold the tag title titles.
Earlier today, the Rock took to social media to pen an emotional tribute to his father along with a video of him watching his father wrestle.
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I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deeply complicated sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons. Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass. Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish. Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high. #ripsoulman #rockyjohnson
R.I.P. Rocky “The Soulman” Johnson.