Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor and former professional wrestler. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, he was integral to the development and success of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) during the Attitude Era, an industry boom period in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Johnson wrestled for the WWF 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 him one of the world's highest-grossing and highest-paid actors.
In 1996, Johnson's father Rocky, a longtime professional wrestler, assisted in helping him secure a contract with the WWF. Johnson quickly rose to global prominence, aided by a gimmick he employed as a charismatic trash talker. Johnson left WWE in 2004 and returned in 2011 as a part-time performer until 2013, making sporadic appearances until retiring in 2019. A 10-time world champion, including the promotion's first of African-American descent, he is also a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a five-time Tag Team Champion, the 2000 Royal Rumble winner, and WWE's sixth Triple Crown champion. Johnson headlined the most-bought professional wrestling pay-per-view (WrestleMania XXVIII) and was featured among the most watched episodes of WWE's flagship television series (Raw and SmackDown).
Johnson's father was a Black Nova Scotian with a small amount of Irish ancestry. His mother is Samoan. His father and Tony Atlas were the first black tag team champions in WWE history, in 1983. His mother is the adopted daughter of Peter Maivia, who was also a professional wrestler. Johnson's maternal grandmother Lia was the one of the first female pro wrestling promoters, taking over Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after her husband's death in 1982 and managing it until 1988. Through his maternal grandfather Maivia, Johnson is a non-blood relative to the Anoa'i wrestling family. In 2008, Johnson inducted his father and grandfather into the WWE Hall of Fame.
At Freedom High School in the Lehigh Valley, Johnson initially struggled and was drawn into a culture of conflict and petty crime. Before the age of 17, he was arrested multiple times for fighting, theft, and check fraud and was suspended two weeks for fighting. The local newspaper later described him as "a troubled teenager with a history of run-ins with police." Freedom High School football coach Jody Cwik, however, saw athletic potential in Johnson, and recruited him to join Freedom's football team, where he played defensive tackle. The experience proved the beginning of a personal transformation for Johnson. "My thought process started to change. That's when I started thinking about goals and what I wanted to accomplish," he has since said about his high school football experience.
In the latter half of 1998, The Rock saw a big uptick in fan support. He also started consolidating his famous persona during this time, which would last until 2000. His popularity caused 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 on October 18, 1998, after interference from Brown, effectively breaking up the stable.
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 seemed to have the upper hand, until his teammate Jericho entered the ring and attacked the Rock. Austin tried to capitalize on this by pinning the Rock, but Kurt Angle revealed his true allegiance by attacking Austin. The Rock then pinned Austin, giving Team WWF the victory and forcing The Alliance to disband. The Rock's WCW Championship was renamed the unbranded "World Championship" following the Alliance's loss. At the next pay-per-view, Vengeance on December 9, 2001, the Rock lost the World Championship to Jericho, who would then unify the WWF and World titles later that night. The Rock then unsuccessfully challenged Jericho for the now Undisputed WWF Championship at Royal Rumble on January 20, 2002.
At the next pay-per-view, No Way Out on February 17, 2002, 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 on March 17, 2002. The match was billed as "icon versus icon", with both men representing the top tier of two generations of wrestling; ultimately the Rock pinned Hogan at WrestleMania X8. Despite the Rock portraying a heroic character and Hogan a villain, a portion of the crowd attending the SkyDome was rooting heavily for Hogan. In an interview in 2013, Hogan said he and the Rock changed the style of the match on the fly based on the crowd's response. 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 on March 30, 2003, which called back to their previous two WrestleMania encounters, both of which Austin had won. The Rock won after delivering three consecutive Rock Bottoms, ending their long-running rivalry in what turned out to be Austin's final match. The next night, Raw was billed as "The Rock Appreciation Night", in honor of his victory over Austin. That night, he was attacked by a debuting Goldberg. At Backlash on April 27, 2003, Goldberg defeated The Rock, who then briefly left WWE to film Walking Tall.
Leading up to WrestleMania, the Rock and Cena had several verbal confrontations on Raw. On the March 12, 2012, episode of Raw, the Rock hosted his first "Rock Concert" segment since 2004, mocking Cena in his songs. On April 1, at WrestleMania XXVIII, the Rock beat Cena in the main event after countering Cena's attempt at a People's Elbow into a Rock Bottom. This event broke the record for biggest professional wrestling pay-per-view buyrate. The following night on Raw, the Rock praised Cena, calling their match "an honor". He then vowed to once again become WWE Champion.
On August 3, 2019, the Rock officially announced his retirement from professional wrestling. On September 30, 2019, after weeks of speculation, the Rock announced that he would be making an appearance on SmackDown's 20th Anniversary on October 4, 2019, marking his first appearance on SmackDown since October 2014 and his first televised appearance since April 2016. At the event, he would cut a promo with Becky Lynch before they were interrupted by King Corbin. After attacking Corbin, the Rock and Lynch celebrated in the ring.
The Rock main-evented the most bought pay-per-view worldwide in WWE history (WrestleMania XXVIII), the most bought pay-per-view domestically in WWE history (WrestleMania X-Seven), the highest rated Raw in history, the highest rated SmackDown in history, and was part of the highest rated cable segment in WWE history with Mankind entitled "This is Your Life", in which Mankind would honor The Rock with various gifts and reunions. His return in 2001 did a 7.1 rating which was the highest rated segment of the entire year. The Rock was also part of the highest rated match of the 21st century with his WWF Championship defense, on May 1, 2000, against Shane McMahon did an 8.3 rating making it the highest rated segment of all time behind 'This is your life'.
Johnson began his theatrical career in The Mummy Returns (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), The Rundown (2003), and Walking Tall (2004). He played a supporting role in Be Cool (2005) - most notable for the meta element of playing a bodyguard that wants to become an actor - and was the primary antagonist in Doom (2005). He also had roles in Gridiron Gang (2006), Reno 911!: Miami (2007), and Southland Tales (2006). He played a cocky famous American football player in The Game Plan (2007) and Agent 23 in Get Smart (2008). He presented the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 80th Academy Awards.
Johnson is noted for his busy schedule and developing multiple projects at once. A sequel to the box-office hit San Andreas was announced to be in the pre-production stage with the director of the first film, Brad Peyton, returning as director along with the main cast (marking the fourth collaboration between the two following Journey 2, San Andreas, and Rampage).
Johnson will co-produce and star in The King, a film about king Kamehameha Kūnuiākea, founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The project will be directed by Robert Zemeckis from a script written by Randall Wallace. The movie will be comparable to Braveheart in tone, given Wallace's work on both films, and will depict the king's role in resolving the wars among the islands of Hawaiʻi. The King was scheduled to begin production in 2020, but was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson is also attached to produce/star in a sequel to Big Trouble in Little China, as well as project under development with Shane Black focusing on a new interpretation of Doc Savage. 2b1af7f3a8