Rocky Johnson, best known for his professional wrestling career and father of Dwayne The Rock Johnson, died at 75.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) confirmed the news on Wednesday. “WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky” Soul Man “Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles), a WWE Hall of Fame, former team world champion…. died at 75, “they wrote.
Rocky was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1944 and later started wrestling in Toronto. He was trained by the great chief Peter maivia, the famous Samoan-American professional wrestler of the legendary wrestling family Anoa’i. Rocky would eventually marry Maivia’s daughter, Ava, and would have three children together, including Dwayne Johnson.
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WWE did not give any cause of death in his statement, but did write about Rocky’s life and achievements.
“(Rocky’s) career in sports entertainment began in the mid-1960s when he made a memorable impression on the National Wrestling Alliance. However, (he) found his highest level of success when he started his WWE tenure in 1983, “they said.
Rocky won regional and tag titles in the NWA while in the National Wrestling Alliance, but made history when he joined WWE in the 1980s. with “Sir. United States” Tony Atlas and the two became the first African-Americans to win the World Team Championship.
Rocky retired in 1991, but helped train his son Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who would make his WWE debut in 1996. Dwayne would later play his father in an episode of That 70’s Show in 1996, and induct his father at WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
Fans, other wrestlers and wrestling organizations reacted to the news of Rocky’s death, expressing condolences to his family.
The NWA also issued a statement, writing, “The National Wrestling Alliance is saddened to learn of the death of Rocky Johnson. His legacy extends to each promotion. He was a champion wherever he went, including holding the NWA Georgia championship. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his whole family.
One of the men I have looked at and one of the best to date. God rests his soul. #RipRockyJohnson “, WWE Hall of Fame Member Booker T. wrote on Twitter.
One of the men I have looked at and one of the best to date. God rests his soul. #RIPRockyJohnson pic.twitter.com/VaTD5NsnjP
– Booker T. Huffman (@ BookerT5x) January 15, 2020
Former WWE professional wrestler and current professional wrestling manager Ric Flair responded in the same way, writing,
“I am saddened to learn of the death of GRAND ROCKY JOHNSON! I have fought him many times throughout his illustrious career. His physique and conditioning were second to none! He was so proud of his son Dwayne! raised to be the rock !! RIP Rocky Johnson! ”
I am saddened to hear about the death of the GRAND ROCKY JOHNSON! I have fought him several times throughout his illustrious career. His physique and conditioning were second to none! He was so proud of his son Dwayne! He raised it to be the rock !! RIP Rocky Johnson! pic.twitter.com/GiXXFQhGlE
– Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) January 16, 2020
At the time of reporting, Rocky’s family has made no public statement about his death.