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The Great One – The People’s Champion – The Rock

The Rock (wwe.com)

The Most Electrifying Man In The History of Sports Entertainment

Dwayne Douglas Johnson was born on May 2nd, 1972 in Hayward, California to Ata and Rocky Johnson. Rocky, also a professional wrestler; is the son of “High Chief” Peter Maivia. In case you’re wondering, Peter was also a wrestler. Dwayne Johnson was born into an athletic bloodline and it’s shown since he was a teenager. In high school, he played for the football team, wrestled, and ran track and field. He was so good at football that after fielding offers from multiple schools, Johnson settled upon a full scholarship at The University of Miami to play defensive tackle.

He graduated The University of Miami with a General Studies Bachelors degree in criminology and physiology. I don’t want to question The Rock, because he could crush even my giant head in his hands, but what in the blue hell was his fallback there? Where was that career path headed? I like to imagine current day, gigantic as f—k The Rock rolling up to a crime scene or something in his beat up old jalopy like Mr. Incredible, shoulders pressed up against the roof of the car, unsatisfied sourpuss on his face. He’s drinking to get through every day, picking fights at bars and just destroying people. Sorry, I’m writing an article, not a pitch for The Rock’s next action movie.

[Note to self: remember that. Expand.]

After college, there was The Canadian Football League, because the NFL had no interest. The Rock played for The Calgary Stampeders, but was cut two months into the season. This was in 1995. Rocky Maivia, Dwayne Johnson’s first character, would debut a year later at Survivor Series in 1996. He was pushed to get over, but the fans couldn’t stand him. He was a way-too-cheesy good guy, always smiling from ear to ear. No one liked it. A popular chant during the time went something to the tune of, “Die Rocky, die!”

No matter how hard he tried, Rocky Maivia could not get the fans on his side. After suffering a knee injury in a match with Mankind, Rocky returned in 1997 as a heel. He rejected the fans, calling them out on their awful chants, eventually calling himself The Rock and joining The Nation of Domination. The Nation was a faction of African American wrestlers led by Ron Simmons, known at the time as Farooq. Then The Rock joined and everyone realized he could talk. Suddenly, Farooq was no longer the mouthpiece of the group, The Rock was.

He came out and stole the spotlight, which only motivated the rest of the guys in The Nation to go out and try and steal it back. This led to one of the best feuds I ever had the pleasure of watching weekly in The Nation of Domination vs. the Triple H led D-Generation X. With Triple H the clear leader of his faction, the choice was made to put The Rock against him, settling the question of who was the leader, Farooq or Rock once and for all. I love Ron Simmons, but he was never the best on the microphone. Long promos from him would’ve been like nails on a chalkboard: just awful.

The Rock vs. Triple H was one of those feuds that always seemed to fire on all cylinders. If you’re interested, all you have to do is Google: The Rock vs. Triple H. Every match they had, whether it was a straight up one on one, a ladder match, an ironman match, or any of the others they took part in together, The Rock and Triple H always brought the house down. The WWE itself, on the network, traces the origins of the feud back to Austin getting injured around the time of the infamous Rikishi runs over Stone Cold Steve Austin segment. The injury took Stone Cold out for an extended period of time, leaving an empty space to be filled at the top. The Rock and Triple H had their shot to step up and steal the spotlight, and that’s all they ever did from that moment on.

Look at The Rock, or Dwayne Johnson, or The People’s Champion, or The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment, or whatever you want to call him. Not only did he steal the WWE spotlight time and time again, but he stole Hollywood’s as well. He was the highest-grossing actor of 2013 with Snitch, GI Joe: Retaliation, Fast and Furious 6, Pain and Gain, and Empire State, which I believe earned twelve dollars and forty-five cents in theaters. Anyone else ever see that movie? It was so weird. Like somebody chopped the s—t out of it. There was definitely a lot on that cutting room floor.

As a wrestling fan, I know that a lot of people resented him for leaving WWE in the first place to pursue films. He drew and still draws a lot of the same scorn that CM Punk is dealing with as he hopes to transition successfully into the UFC. Except all anyone wished upon The Rock was that he failed, which was messed up enough. Now people are wishing physical harm on CM Punk. I don’t understand that at all. It’s ironic how territorial wrestling fans are. They don’t want any of their guys to go anywhere else besides the ring, but these are living, breathing men. They have goals. The Rock had a goal.

He went out and laid claim to millions…and MILLIONS of fans, and we all fell for it. That’s how charismatic he is. He told us we were his fans, and we were like, “F–K YEAH, WE ARE!”

Fifteen years ago, I never thought I’d see a world where you could turn on any random channel and see Dwayne Johnson. Whether it is in a wrestling ring, in a movie, or in a television show, The Rock is everywhere today.

He is The People’s Champion, after all. Why wouldn’t we want to see him all over the place?

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