Wrestling pioneer Rocky Johnson (Dwayne Johnson’s Father) dead at 75


Dwayne Johnson is mourning the death of his wrestling star father, Rocky Johnson.

The former fighter passed away on Wednesday (January 15, 2020), aged 75, according to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials.

Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, Rocky made his ring debut in his native Canada in 1964, and soon competed at the top level in America’s National Wrestling Alliance in the 1970s.

He then entered the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now known as the WWE, where he partnered with Tony Atlas to form The Soul Patrol and made history as the first black pair to win the Tag Team Championship in 1983.

He retired from wrestling in 1991, but went on to help train his son Dwayne to chase his ring dreams as The Rock.

Rocky, who had been living in Florida, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his superstar son in 2008, and published his autobiography, Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story, last year (19).

A movie about his life was also in the works after he granted the rights to filmmakers Jonathan and Justin Gajewski in 2018.

Ring King was due to chronicle his career from the 1950s to the late 1990s.

He was married twice – first to Una Johnson, the mother of his kids Curtis and Wanda, for six years until 1968, and then to Ata Maivia, Dwayne’s mom, in 1970 until 2003.

The Jumanji: The Next Level star has yet to comment on his dad’s death, but a number of Rocky’s wrestling peers remembered the athlete on social media.

“I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the great Rocky Johnson,” tweeted Mick Foley. “Always a gentleman, I always enjoyed talking with him. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the fans who loved him. A very sad day for wrestling.#RIPRockyJohnson”.

“One of the men I looked up to and one of the best to ever do it. God rest his soul. #RIPRockyJohnson,” wrote Booker T., while The Iron Sheik posted, “GOODBYE BROTHER ROCKY JOHNSON. I LOVE YOU FOREVER YOU ARE MY FAMILY (sic). GOD BLESS YOU”.