Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson, a WWE Hall of Famer, has passed away at the age of 75.
Rocky, who is the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, began his wrestling career at the age of 16 and earned his way into the National Wrestling Alliance as a top star in the 1970s. He won multiple NWA titles, wrestling against icons such as Harley Race, Terry Funk, and Jerry Lawler.
His strongest work came as a tag-team specialist, especially when he paired up with people such as Samoan wrestler “High Chief” Peter Maivia. Eventually, through this partnership, Rocky met his wife, Maivia’s daughter, with whom he had a son, Dwayne, in 1972.
Rocky transitioned to WWE in 1983 where he found his highest levels of success. Some of his most memorable rivalries include Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco, and Adrian Adonis. With Tony Atlas, Rocky formed The Soul Patrol—and the duo became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history after their defeat of The Wild Samoans.
After Rocky’s retirement in 1991, he started training his son Dwayne who went on to become one of the world’s most successful entertainment stars. Dwayne made his debut with the WWF in 1996—initially taking the ring name Rocky Maivia in honor of his wrestling roots.
In 2008, Dwayne inducted both Rocky and Maivia into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Rocky’s cause of death remains unknown. However, Brian Blair, a friend and fellow wrestler, reported to Associated Press that Rocky recently suffered from the flu and died at home.
Rocky’s survived by his sons, Dwayne and Curtis, as well as his daughter, Wanda.
About The Author:
Rachel Goodman is a Los Angeles based actress, host, and writer originally from a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. In college, Rachel wrote for the Penn State Abington Literary Review and was an editorialist for The Lion’s Roar and The Montgomery County Ticket.
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