There is little doubt that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had the pedigree to become a good professional wrestler. After all, his grandfather and father, Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson, have already made careers out of bouncing opponents off the canvas. What no one could have predicted was the wild ride that made The Rock a household name and a possible candidate for the presidency in 2024.
The Early Years
That wild ride started on May 2, 1972, when Johnson was born in Hayward, California. By the time he reached high school, it was clear this “beast of a man” was destined for greatness as an athlete. As a stand-out high school football player, he was recruited by the legendary Coach Jimmy Johnson (Miami, Florida) and ended up playing reserve defensive tackle on the 1991 Miami Hurricanes for the Florida National Championship.
With pro ball not in the cards, Johnson turned to what he knew best, a life as a pro wrestler. It was in 1996 that he signed his first contract with the World Wrestling Federation, now World Wrestling Entertainment.
Early on, Johnson was considered a “ham and egger” by the fans, wrestling as other names like Rocky Maivia and The Blue Chipper. It was his charm and grace that earned him early opportunities to make a name for himself among the fans and his wrestling peers.
It was August 1997 when Johnson ditched Rocky Maivia and became The Rock. Due in large part to a competitive rivalry with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock found himself centerstage of every major WWE event. By 2000, he had become the World champion everyone loved.
Johnson ruled as Champion until disputes with WWE head Vince McMahon led him to leave the WWE family. By the time to returned in 2011, it was the highly popular John Cena who was standing in his way to reclaiming the championship belt. He would eventually get that belt back around his waist, but there was something in the wind that said he was intended to become a Hollywood legend.
Johnson Goes to Hollywood
After the turn of the century, Johnson was already dabbling in minor roles on TV and the big screen. His first notable appearance came in 2001 on the smash hit “The 70s Show.”
His movie career started taking hold as Johnson began carving out a niche as an action hero. His early credits included “The Mummy Returns” (2001), The Scorpion King” (2002), and “Walking Tall” (2004). The latter featuring an action-packed sequence taking place in a small-town U.S. casino. It wasn’t until he became firmly embedded in the “Fast and Furious” franchise that his movie career took off to the stars.
His first appearance in the Furious franchise came in “Fast Five” (2011) where he played Detective Luke Hobbs. The franchise turned him into a Hollywood superstar. He would go on to reprise his Hobbs role in “Fast and Furious 6” (2013), “Furious 7” (2014), “The Fate of the Furious” (2016), and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019). It was a dispute with co-star Vin Diesel that eventually led The Rock onto bigger and better things in Hollywood.
While playing Hobbs, Johnson’s talent and name recognition enabled him to carry major feature films on his own. His non-Furious movie credits include “Central Intelligence” (2016), “Baywatch” (2017), “Rampage” (2018), “Jumanji: The Next Level” (2019), and “Jungle Cruise” (2021).
Johnson – The Entrepreneur
Johnson is not the kind of person who would be willing to rest on his laurels. He has used his name to get heavily involved as a philanthropist where he supports causes like promoting the Samoan culture. He has also made significant donations in support of terminally ill children and relief efforts after floods and fires in the Hawaiian Islands. More recently, he made a seven-figure donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation with SAG-Aftra strike going on.
While the beloved Rock was never one to get caught up in too much controversy, he did find himself under scrutiny. That came after it was made public that he had made significant real estate purchases in Maui ahead of recent fires that destroyed whole neighborhoods on the Island.
Residents in Maui were none too pleased when they found out that Johnson and the billionaire personality Oprah Winfrey were heavily involved in what was deemed to be shady dealings as the two created a donation fund to supposedly support residents who had lost their homes. It didn’t help that both parties had property that went untouched by the fires.
Johnson for President?
While doubts have risen about President Joe Biden’s ability to endure another term, the DNC and press are searching for a better alternative.
Recently, Johnson visited the White House to discuss military recruitment. Upon leaving, Johnson was asked if he was throwing his hat into the presidential ring. A chuckle and laugh was all the press got. With that said, Johnson’s wild life is far from over.