In some very sad news, Rocky Johnson died today at the age of 75. For fans who don’t know, Johnson was the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
When The Rock started wrestling, he chose the name “Rocky Maivia” to honor his dad Rocky “Soulman” Johnson and grandfather “High Chief” Peter Maivia.
Johnson was there to induct his father and grandfather into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
“At a time of racial disparity, he was able to cross all lines and become one of the most dynamic and formidable performers of his time,” Johnson said while inducting his dad. “My dad was a hero to me.”
View this post on Instagram
Bought my dad a Christmas gift and surprised him. He's had a hard life. This one felt good. My dad, Rocky Johnson is a minimalist. Always has been. Never asks me for much and over the years his needs are always the barest. Crazy story, my dad's dad died when he was 13yrs old. That Christmas, my dad's mom had her new boyfriend over for Christmas dinner. Her boyfriend got drunk and pissed on the turkey. My dad went outside, got a shovel, drew a line in the snow and said if you cross that line I'll kill you. The drunk crossed it and my dad laid him out cold as a block of ice. Cops were called. They told my dad's mom that when her boyfriend regains consciousness, he's gonna kill your son so one of them has got to go. In front of the entire family, my dad's mom looked at him and said get out. He was 13yrs old and now homeless. That f*cked up true story happened in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1954. He needed the bare minimum then, just like does now. Over the years, I've moved him into a big home, got him trucks to drive – which he'll literally drive into the ground until I get him something else. Hell, I'll get him anything he wants, but the SOB just won't ask;). Every Christmas, I always think about that story and my dad having every odd stacked against him at 13, but he fought thru it and still made something of himself. Makes me appreciate his struggle and hard work. Also, makes me appreciate the fun times he would beat my ass in the gym so bad when I was 13 and say "If you're gonna throw up, go outside.. and if you're gonna cry, then go home to your mother". I hated it then, but I embrace it now. Made a man outta me. Without pissing on my turkey. 😂👍🏾. Just a small way of saying thank you dad and Merry Christmas! #DwantaClaus🎅🏾
Part of those racial barriers that Rocky Johnson broke came in WWE when he became part of the company’s first-ever tag team champions with Mr. USA Tony Atlas.
To learn more about the life history and amazing story of Rocky Johnson, his biography was published last year titled Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story. Dwayne Johnson wrote the intro to the book.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson has passed away. https://t.co/9uxrICJKxb
— WWE (@WWE) January 15, 2020
WWE superstars pay tribute to Rocky Johnson
It didn’t take long for WWE superstars to flood to social media to pay tribute to the man known as Soulman.
WWE posted a tribute in the form of images from the career of Rocky Johnson on their website.
WWE looks back on the Hall of Fame career of the late, great Rocky Johnson. https://t.co/Gp9U2YG93c
— WWE (@WWE) January 15, 2020
The Iron Shiek, one of Johnson’s contemporaries, and someone who did battle with the Soulman took a break from his hilarious and disrespectful tweets to send out his blessings to Rocky.
GOODBYE BROTHER ROCKY JOHNSON. I LOVE YOU FOREVER YOU ARE MY FAMILY. GOD BLESS YOU pic.twitter.com/43yc60Yh2u
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) January 15, 2020
Booker T, who along with his brother Stevie Ray, followed in the footsteps of Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas, referred to him as someone he always looked up to and called him one of the best ever.
— Booker T. Huffman (@BookerT5x) January 15, 2020
Mick Foley also posted a touching tribute and said that it was a very sad day for wrestling. Foley and Dwayne Johnson shared a lot of time together in their career and Foley said he always enjoyed talking with The Rock’s dad.
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the great Rocky Johnson. 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 pic.twitter.com/4agKbOzAry
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) January 15, 2020
Many other WWE superstars also reached out with their thoughts about the passing of Rocky Johnson.
Saddened to hear about the passing of Rocky Johnson. Rocky was always extremely friendly & kind to me every time I interacted with him over the years. My condolences & thoughts go out to his family.
— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) January 15, 2020
Very sad to hear of the passing of a legend from our business in Rocky Johnson. My deepest condolences and prayers to Rocky’s family & fans. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9CkSz1UjUj
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) January 15, 2020
RIP to the great Rocky Johnson and condolences to his family and friends.
“A helluva hand!” 🤠
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) January 15, 2020
Dwayne Johnson has yet to comment on the passing of his father and Rocky Johnson’s cause of death is not yet known.