Dwayne Douglas Johnson (May 2, 1972), also known—and sometimes credited—by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor and occasional professional wrestler who works for WWE, where in his return year in 2012, won the WWE Championship for an eighth time.
Johnson was a college football player. In 1991, he was on the University of Miami's national championship team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season. This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson. He gained mainstream fame as a wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1996 to 2004, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He was quickly pushed as a face in the WWF, originally billed as "Rocky Maivia", then as "The Rock". He turned heel as a member of the Nation of Domination in 1997. Two years after he joined the WWF, he won the WWF Championship and became one of the most popular wrestlers ever, primarily for his charismatic interviews and promos.
Johnson is widely considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He has had 17 championship reigns in WWE, including 10 as a world heavyweight champion (the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice), the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and the WWF Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth WWF/E Triple Crown Champion, and the winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble.
Johnson's autobiography The Rock Says... (co-written with Joe Layden) was published in 2000. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for several weeks. Johnson's first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this role, he was paid US$5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first starring role. He has since appeared in several successful movies, including The Mummy Returns, The Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Tooth Fairy, Doom, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast Five, G.I. Joe and Fast & Furious 6.
High school and college
High school in the Lehigh Valley
As he entered 11th grade, Johnson's father's job required his relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the state's rugged Lehigh Valley region. For Johnson, the Lehigh Valley proved a huge cultural shift from what he had known and seen in the San Francisco Bay Area in his early youth. But Johnson welcomed the change and assimilated quickly in the new area. In Bethlehem, Johnson began to cultivate an intense athleticism, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He began playing football at Bethlehem's Freedom High School, a member of what was then known as the East Penn Conference (recently renamed the Lehigh Valley Conference). The conference was - and continues to be - one of the highest quality high school football and wrestling conferences in the United States. In football, the conference has produced a considerable amount of high-level Division I collegiate and NFL football talent.
Known for its blue collar ruggedness, the Lehigh Valley proved a hand-in-glove match for Johnson, who fit in well with the area's street toughness. That toughness carried to his football play, where Johnson began, for the first time, to face high quality players and began to excel amidst the area's extraordinary athletic competitiveness. He would later credit the high level of athletic competitiveness he encountered in the Lehigh Valley with building the foundation for his lifelong passion for winning and embracing challenge. In addition to playing football at Freedom High School, he also was a member of the high school's track and field team.
Johnson has said one of his most enduring athletic memories was his participation on the Freedom High School football team when they beat cross-town rival Liberty High School in his senior year, saying: "I can still remember holding that trophy up in the air, running a lap with it. We had an awful year my senior year, but as long as we beat Liberty, nothing else mattered".
University of Miami
Johnson received collegiate football scholarship offers from several universities and settled on the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, one of the top football programs in the nation. While the University of Miami football program did not openly recruit Johnson, he entered try-outs as a "walk on" for the program and made the team, playing defensive tackle. In 1991, he was part of the Miami Hurricanes' National Championship team. After an injury kept him sidelined, Johnson was replaced by Warren Sapp, who went on to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is now with the Oakland Raiders. Baltimore Ravens Linebacker and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis also played with Johnson on the 1991 Miami Hurricanes.
After his graduation from the University of Miami, Johnson, who was drafted by the NFL, signed a three-year contract with the Denver Broncos of the NFL, but was cut from the team 3 months later, without playing a game. (Note: some sources indicate he may have dressed for a CFL regular season game.)
While a student at the University of Miami, Johnson met his future wife Dany Garcia, who also was a University of Miami student at the time. Garcia, who graduated from the University of Miami in 1992, is the founder of a Miami-based wealth management firm. The two have remained close to their alma mater, giving a $2 million donation in 2006 to build a living room at the university's alumni center for visiting alumni. Additionally, Dany is a member of the University of Miami's Board of Trustees.
Johnson graduated from the University of Miami in 1995 with dual degrees in criminology and physiology.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment
Along with his father and grandfather, several members of Johnson's family are current and former professional wrestlers, including his uncles, the Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika Anoai), and cousins such as former WWF Champion Yokozuna, former WWF Tag Team Champion Rikishi and current wrestler Umaga (formerly known as Jamal). When he declared his intention to join the family business, his father resisted, but agreed to train his son himself, warning him that he would not go easy on him. With help from former WWF executive and veteran wrestler Pat Patterson, Johnson secured a tryout with the WWF. Impressed by his talent and charisma, he was signed to a WWF deal after a short stint for "seasoning" in Jerry Lawler's USWA, where he wrestled under the ring names of Flex Kavana and Pidlaoan Rock.
Johnson first wrestled in the WWF as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names. The WWF played up his connection to his father and grandfather, calling him the company's first third-generation wrestler. He made his wrestling debut for the WWF at the Survivor Series, becoming the sole survivor on his team. Johnson was first portrayed as a clean-cut babyface, and gained early success, winning the Intercontinental Championship after only three months. However, fans quickly grew sick of the one-dimensional good guy character, thanks in part to the exploded popularity of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Despite often being loudly booed and jeered with chants of "Die Rocky, Die!" and "Rocky Sucks!" from the crowd, Johnson was forced to go to the ring and smile, as if the crowd were cheering as they were "supposed to". After losing the Intercontinental title to Owen Hart and returning from an injury, Johnson was allowed to turn heel and join the Nation of Domination. Johnson spewed venom at the fans in promos that were influenced by Johnson's real-life feelings toward the WWF audience. Contrary to Rocky Maivia's super-nice guy personality, Johnson described his new character, The Rock, as himself with "the volume turned way up".
The Rock was a charismatic bully, eventually driving out the Nation's leader Faarooq. He spent the end of 1997 and the beginning of 1998 feuding with both Steve Austin and Ken Shamrock. At In Your House: D-Generation X, Austin, then reigning Intercontinental Champion, defeated the Rock in less than six minutes to retain the title. The following night, Austin was ordered by Vince McMahon to defend the title in a rematch. Austin refused to do so, and simply handed the title to The Rock before stunning him with the Stone Cold Stunner. At WrestleMania XIV, Gennifer Flowers was made a special guest interviewer, interviewing The Rock. The Rock was posed a question about how he would conduct affairs as the President of the United States. He responded by stating to her that the title “Ruler” would sound better than “President” and he would transform the White House into a palace.
The Rock became wildly popular, establishing several much-quoted catchphrases including "If/Do you smell what The Rock is cookin'", "Lay the Smackdown", "Take that (object) shine it up real nice, turn that sum-bitch sideways, and stick it straight up your candy ass!", "It doesn't matter what you think!" (immediately after asking for the interviewer's opinion), "It doesn't matter what your name is!" (immediately after asking for the persons name), "Know your role, and shut your mouth!", "Don't give me all that monkey crap!, "Who is this roody pooh", ", "Jabroni" and "Just bring it!" (After which titles #2 through #4 of the five Sony PlayStation SmackDown! video games have been subtitled (WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role, WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It, and WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth). In essence, it was a reversal of his Rocky Maivia character, where he was cheered instead of being booed as he was "supposed to be". The Rock also became famous for referring to himself in the third person, starting many sentences with "The Rock says...", "Finally...The Rock has come back to..(city name)", and occasionally following up statements with "... or so The Rock has heard."
Johnson's popularity as The Rock propelled him to the WWF Championship at the 1998 Survivor Series at age 26, thus becoming the first World Champion of African-American descent in WWF history and at the time the youngest WWF world champion ever. During the championship win, however, The Rock turned heel again and siding with Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon as the crown jewel of their "Corporation" stable.
The Rock began to feud with Mankind over the WWF Championship in which the title changed back and forth between the two, first during the main event of the January 4, 1999 episode of RAW, when Mankind pinned The Rock with the help of Steve Austin.
The Rock once again captured the WWF Title in a bloody "I Quit" match at the Royal Rumble that saw The Rock hit Mankind in the head with a chair ten or eleven times as opposed to the agreed upon three times, knocking him unconscious and using a tape recording of Mankind saying "I quit" to trick the referee. This latest reign did not last long, however. In a match that counter-programmed the Super Bowl halftime show on January 31, 1999, Mankind pinned The Rock using a forklift in a Empty Arena Match which saw the competitors use everything from bags of popcorn to fruit to punish each other. This feud lasted until the February 15, 1999 edition of Raw, where The Rock regained the WWF Title in a Ladder Match after The Big Show chokeslammed Mankind off a ladder.
With Mankind out of the way, The Rock had to defend his World Wrestling Federation Championship at WrestleMania XV, against Steve Austin. The Rock lost the WWF Title to Austin at that event, and continued his feud with Austin until May 1999. WWF fans began to cheer The Rock despite being a bad guy, due to his comedic interviews and segments which mocked wrestlers and announcers. Johnson eventually made his second face turn after being kicked out of the Corporation by Shane McMahon for failing to win back the WWF title from Steve Austin and established a feud with the, then heel, The Undertaker and the Corporate Ministry, and would sometimes find himself fighting alongside Steve Austin. His feud with the Undertaker ended with a defeat at the King of the Ring.
The Rock, now a face, feuded with Mr. Ass over the summer of 1999, including an infamous "Kiss My Ass" match at that year's SummerSlam. In the fall, the Rock found himself in several WWF Championship opportunities, both in singles and tag. He teamed with now former enemy Mankind to create the "Rock 'n' Sock Connection" and won the WWF Tag Team Titles. Aside from the championships, the team was regarded as one of the most entertaining teams in recent memory, where Mankind would imitate The Rock, while The Rock would mostly ignore Mankind. The team was also involved in a segment which occurred on RAW called "This Is Your Life", in which Mankind brought out people from The Rock's past, such as his high school girlfriend and gym teacher. The segment is to this day the single highest rated segment in terms of viewership in RAW history. As a singles competitor, The Rock participated in a six-pack challenge match at Unforgiven.
In January 2000, The Rock entered in the WWF's annual Royal Rumble match and lasted until he and the Big Show were the final two men. In a scripted move, the Big Show was going to seemingly dump the Rock over the top rope in a running powerslam-like position, and when they got to the apron, the Rock reversed it on the Big Show, sending the Big Show to the outside floor and then coming back up with the rest of his body. Those watching the event on PPV did not see The Rock's feet hit the floor. The Big Show attempted to prove to the audience and to others, like Triple H, that the Rock's feet, not his, touched the mat first. He did manage to prove it, by providing video footage showing that he was the rightful winner. The decision that The Rock had won the Rumble match could not be reversed, so a number one contendership match at No Way Out was held, which saw the Big Show come out on top after Shane McMahon interfered, knocking The Rock in the head with a steel chair as he attempted to finish off his opponent with the Rock Bottom. The Rock later defeated The Big Show on March 13, 2000 to regain the right to face the WWF Champion at WrestleMania 2000.
The Rock, The Big Show, Mick Foley and Triple H competed in a fatal four-way elimination match for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania 2000. Each competitor had a McMahon in their corner—for Triple H, his on-screen wife (and off-screen then girlfriend) Stephanie McMahon; for Mick Foley, the matriarch Linda McMahon; for The Rock, Vince McMahon; and in Big Show's corner, Shane McMahon. Triple H retained the title when Vince turned on The Rock, giving him two vicious chair shots, allowing Triple H to pin The Rock for the three-count. A month later at Backlash, The Rock captured the WWF Championship from Triple H after Steve Austin made a brief return and intervened on The Rock's behalf.
Over the next couple of months The Rock feuded with Triple H over the Championship, and going on to having several classic matches, such as an Iron Man match against The Game at WWF Judgment Day, which starred Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee and saw the return of The Undertaker, The Rock would lose the title as a result of Undertaker's interference attacking Triple H. The following night on Raw, The Rock would get his revenge, and along with The Undertaker, took out the entire McMahon-Helmsley regime. The Rock would later win the WWF Championship again at King of The Ring 2000 against Triple H in a Tag Team matching pitting himself, Kane, and Undertaker versus Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Triple H. The Rock would go on to defend the Championship against Superstars such as Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Kane, The Undertaker, and Shane McMahon.
The Rock later lost the WWF Championship to Kurt Angle at No Mercy in October. During this time, he feuded with Rikishi (after he made accusations that The Rock called him to run over Steve Austin in November 1999) and defeated him at Survivor Series. He also participated in the 6 Man Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon event for the WWF Championship, in which he was unsuccessful. It is also notable that The Rock was the only man not to climb to the top of the cell in this match.
In 2001, The Rock feuded with Kurt Angle over the WWF Championship, and the feud was settled at No Way Out. In a battle that saw The Rock kick out of the Olympic Slam and Kurt kicking out of the Rock Bottom and The People's Elbow (at different times), The Rock finally came out on top, delivering a second Rock Bottom to regain the WWF Championship. Afterwards, The Rock feuded with the Royal Rumble winner Steve Austin. The Rock went into WrestleMania X-Seven as the WWF Champion, but was defeated again by Austin, after a shocking turn from the rattlesnake, who used Vince McMahon to win the title. Jim Ross is famously quoted as saying "Austin has sold his soul to the devil to get back to the top". After losing to Austin in a rematch on the following night's RAW, he went on hiatus to film the movie "The Scorpion King" after a kayfabe suspension from Mr. McMahon. The Rock would return in July 2001 and would decide which side of the WWF/Alliance wars he would align himself with. After Vince McMahon, on the WWF side, urged the Rock to "give the people what they want," the Rock delivered a Rock Bottom to Vince. The Rock seemed to have joined the Alliance, and smiled, shaking Shane McMahon's hand, but quickly drew him in for a Rock Bottom and a People's Elbow. At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship. He would later lose the WCW title to Chris Jericho at No Mercy of the same year, only to win it back a few weeks later on Raw. The Rock was also involved in a match at Survivor Series which saw him defeat Steve Austin in a Classic Survivor Series match to end The Alliance once and for all. The Rock closed out the year losing the WCW Championship to Chris Jericho at Vengeance, who would go on later to become the first WWF Undisputed Champion.
As 2002 came along, Vince McMahon introduced the nWo, and The Rock began a feud with Hollywood Hulk Hogan, which ended with a victory at WrestleMania X8. This match, one of the most memorable matches of all time pitting "Icon vs. Icon", saw the Toronto fans audibly cheer for Hogan, who was the heel after every move (including heelish moves like "the back rake of doom"). The fans also clearly booed The Rock, the supposed face in the match, despite the WWF's best efforts to make Hogan a despicable character before the match. On July 21, 2002, The Rock would win his record-breaking seventh and final WWE Championship. He defeated Kurt Angle and The Undertaker in a classic match at Vengeance, after he hit the Rock Bottom on Kurt Angle. He would lose it to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, in a match that saw the fans turn on The Rock again and cheer for Lesnar. This was his last title reign, it lasted for a month.
The Rock's last heel turn began on SmackDown! in February 2003, where he publicly criticized Hulk Hogan. Their WrestleMania X8 rematch at No Way Out ended with The Rock claiming victory again, with assistance from Vince McMahon and Sylvain Grenier. It is widely speculated that this heel turn was due to The Rock's growing Hollywood stardom, giving the appearance of having "sold out" his wrestling roots.
The Rock later drafted himself to RAW and started a feud with The Hurricane and other babyfaces. He also had a comical gimmick, where he played the guitar and sang songs mocking the host city for the event, which culminated in a "Rock concert" which took place during the main event of the March 24, 2003 edition of RAW, where The Rock mocked host city Sacramento because of the Sacramento Kings' inability to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. After putting down the city of Sacramento and singing about how he intended to leave as soon as possible, he concluded the song with, "I'll be sure to come back when the Lakers beat the Kings in May!" The crowd booed him vociferously. The Rock also slammed Canada in a song as well, saying "Canadians have no class/That's why they can kiss the People's Ass."
When Steve Austin returned, they once again feuded, with the Rock defeating Austin at WrestleMania XIX; this was the first time the Rock defeated Austin at WrestleMania, and Austin's last major appearance in a wrestling role. The Rock then had a feud with former WCW star Bill Goldberg, losing at Backlash in this match, both superstars received a mixed reaction from the fans. After that, The Rock turned face once more by betraying Chris Jericho and Christian. After The Rock declared Christian his favorite wrestler, Christian began calling himself the New People's champion and labeling his fans as "his peeps". As a culmination of the feud, The Rock and Booker T defeated Chris Jericho and Christian.
The Rock made occasional wrestling appearances up to 2004's WrestleMania XX, with the storyline revolving around Mick Foley bringing him in to help in his war with Evolution and Randy Orton. One humorous bit involved Rock hosting his own version of "This is Your Life" for Foley on an edition of Raw. Rock and Foley went on to lose to Orton, Ric Flair, and Batista at Wrestlemania when Orton pinned Foley. This was his last appearance in a wrestling role. He made sporadic appearances in the WWE following Wrestlemania, including standing up for Eugene and helping Foley turn back La Resistance. His last appearance to date in WWE was hosting a "Pie-Eating Contest" during the 2004 WWE Diva Search. He ended the segment by giving Jonathan Coachman a rock-bottom and People's Elbow. In several interviews, Dwayne Johnson had reported that he is no longer under contract with WWE and that his contract had expired in 2004. Johnson himself reported that the reason he was able to continue using the name "The Rock" was part of a dual ownership between him and WWE.
On March 12, 2007, The Rock returned to World Wrestling Entertainment after a near three-year absence when he appeared on RAW via Titantron and predicted Bobby Lashley would defeat Umaga in the Battle of the Billionaires match at WrestleMania 23.
Return to WWE
Feud with John Cena (2011–2012)
On the February 14, 2011 episode of Raw, The Rock was revealed as the host of WrestleMania XXVII, appearing live on Raw for the first time in almost seven years. During a lengthy promo, he addressed the fans, Michael Cole, The Miz and John Cena, calling Cena a "big fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles", as a response to a shoot interview Cena did on The Rock a couple of years ago. The Rock claimed to love wrestling, having has been born into the business, a claim Cena argued. After numerous appearances via satellite, The Rock appeared live on the Raw before WrestleMania XXVII to confront Cena, with whom he had been feuding with through Twitter. He made fun of Cena's clothing, calling him a "homeless Power Ranger" and "Vanilla Ice". After he and Cena exchanged insults, The Miz and Alex Riley appeared and attacked The Rock. He fended off Miz and Riley, then Cena blindsided him with the Attitude Adjustment.
On April 3, at WrestleMania XXVII, The Rock opened the show by cutting a promo. After appearing in numerous backstage segments, The Rock came to ringside to restart the main event between Cena and The Miz as a No Disqualification match, after it had ended in a draw. As revenge for the Attitude Adjustment Cena had given him on Raw, The Rock hit Cena with the Rock Bottom, allowing The Miz to pin him and retain the WWE Championship. He then hit The Miz with the People's Elbow. The next night on Raw, Cena challenged The Rock to a match at WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1, 2012. The Rock accepted the challenge. They then worked together to fend off an attack by The Corre, which at the time consisted of Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, and Ezekiel Jackson. The Rock appeared live on Raw in his hometown of Miami on May 2, to celebrate his 39th birthday.
On September 16, WWE announced The Rock would wrestle in a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series tag team match, teaming with Cena at Survivor Series on November 20. On the October 24 episode of Raw, Cena instead asked for The Rock to be his partner in a standard tag team match against Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth). The next week, The Rock granted Cena's request. On the November 14 episode of Raw, The Rock appeared live, delivering Rock Bottoms to both members of Awesome Truth and Mick Foley. Foley had been hosting a "This Is Your Life"-style segment for Cena. At Survivor Series, despite their rivalry, The Rock and Cena defeated Awesome Truth when The Rock pinned The Miz after the People's Elbow. After the match, The Rock gave Cena a Rock Bottom.
Leading up to Wrestlemania, The Rock and Cena had several verbal confrontations on Raw. On the March 12 episode, The Rock hosted his first "Rock Concert" segment since 2004, mocking Cena in his songs. He opined that, having beaten Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin at previous Wrestlemanias, beating Cena would make him the greatest wrestler of all time. At WrestleMania XXVIII, The Rock faced Cena in a main event hyped for a year and billed with the tagline "Once in a Lifetime". When an overconfident Cena attempted the People's Elbow on The Rock, he countered with a Rock Bottom for the pin. The next night on Raw, The Rock praised Cena for putting up a good fight, calling their match "an honor". He then vowed to once again become WWE Champion.
WWE Champion (2012–2013)
On July 23, 2012, at Raw 1000, The Rock announced he would face the WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. During the show, he encountered WWE Champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena, all of whom expressed a desire to face him. He later saved Cena from an assault by Big Show, only to be laid out by CM Punk. On the January 7, 2013 Raw, The Rock returned to WWE to confront his Rumble opponent, the reigning champion CM Punk. He also made his first SmackDown appearance in ten years on the January 9 episode, attacking Team Rhodes Scholars with a Rock Bottom to Damien Sandow and a People's Elbow to Cody Rhodes. The Rock closed out the 20th anniversary episode of Raw on January 14 with one of his famous "Rock concerts", leading to a brawl with CM Punk. The following week on Raw, The Rock was attacked by The Shield. Vince McMahon then asserted that if The Shield attacked The Rock in his title match with CM Punk, Punk would be stripped of the WWE Championship. On January 27 at the Royal Rumble, Punk defeated The Rock after The Shield interfered. McMahon was about to strip Punk of the championship, however, at The Rock's request, he instead restarted the match. This culminated in The Rock defeating Punk to win his eighth WWE Championship, a win which marked The Rock's first WWE Championship reign in over ten years. Punk received a title rematch with The Rock at Elimination Chamber, with the added stipulation that if The Rock was disqualified or counted out, he would lose the title, but Rock pinned Punk to retain the championship. The following night on Raw, The Rock unveiled the new WWE Championship during his championship celebration, with an entirely new center plate and his signature Brahma Bull logo on the side plates. The Rock then resumed his rivalry with John Cena, with Cena blaming his personal and professional troubles on his loss to The Rock the previous year. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Rock lost the WWE Championship to Cena, ending his reign at 70 days.
Despite being advertised for the Raw after WrestleMania, where it was stated by then SmackDown General Manager Booker T that The Rock was still entitled a re-match for the WWE Championship, The Rock did not appear due to a legitimate injury sustained during WrestleMania, in which his abdominal and adductor tendons tore from his pelvis. In August 2013, The Rock said that "if [he would] never wrestle again, [he would] be very content with that", but ultimately did not rule out a return.
Return to Wrestlemania XXX
The Rock returned at WrestleMania XXX along with Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin. He had said that John Cena would fight in the name of Hustle, Loyalty and Respect, unless someone 29 years ago, vowed to eat their vitamins and say their prayers, referring to Hulk Hogan's motto. He had also said that Daniel Bryan would rise against the authority, but that wouldn't happen unless a certain bald-headed SOB had the guts to not only cross the boss but whip his candy ass, referring to Stone Cold's legendary rivalry with Mr. McMahon. The three then said their catchphrases, Hogan and Rock hugged, and to end their conversation, they celebrated with Stone Cold's trademark beer toast to Wrestlemania.
Fueled by the star power of The Rock and other stars such as Steve Austin, Mankind, Triple H, The Undertaker and Kane, the WWE experienced a massive surge in popularity not seen since Hulk Hogan's reign in the '80s. In particular, Johnson's well-liked interviews and storylines made WWF programming a popular person for wrestling fans.
From 1998 to 2002, The Rock feuded against the WWF's top stars, winning the WWE Championship seven times during his career, and eventually crossed over into mainstream popularity, such as with a guest appearance on hip hop musician Wyclef Jean's track "It Doesn't Matter" and the accompanying video. While still wrestling full-time, Johnson made an appearance as host of the popular sketch comedy TV series Saturday Night Live. The episode was very popular, and it showcased Johnson's acting and comedic ability favorably.
After this, Johnson started to get offers from Hollywood for a multitude of different projects. He was a guest star on Star Trek: Voyager and That '70s Show; in the latter, he played the role of his father. The Rock's first role in a major film was a limited appearance as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns, and his natural charisma translated well to the silver screen. The success of this movie, to which his performance contributed, led to his first leading role starring in the follow-up to The Mummy Returns, titled The Scorpion King.
Since his last in-ring appearance in the WWE in 2004, he has focused solely on acting, and starred in several popular movies such as The Rundown, Be Cool and Gridiron Gang. He has stated several times, when asked on talk shows and in the media, that he is done with wrestling.
Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997, a day after his 25th birthday. Their daughter, Simone Alexandra, was born August 14, 2001. On June 1, 2007, they announced they were splitting up amicably and intended to spend the rest of their lives together as best friends. Johnson co-wrote an autobiography with Joe Layden, titled The Rock Says.... It was published in 2000, debuting at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remaining on the list for several weeks.
Johnson is a good friend of actor and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Johnson attended the 2000 Republican National Convention and the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and gave a speech at the former. Both appearances were part of the WWE's non-partisan "Smackdown Your Vote" campaign, which aimed to influence young people to vote.
Because his mother, Ata Fitisemanu Maivia, has royal blood, and in recognition of his service to the Samoan people, Samoan King Malietoa Tanumafili II bestowed upon Johnson the noble title of Seiuli during his visit there in July 2004. He is a supporter of the Samoa national rugby union team. During the run-up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the team's website had a picture of him holding a personalized Manu Samoa jersey with "The Rock" emblazoned on the back. He received a partial Samoan pe'a tattoo in 2003.
In 2006, Johnson founded "The Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation", a charity working with at-risk and terminally ill children. On October 2, 2007, he and his ex-wife donated $1 million to the University of Miami to support the renovation of its football facilities; it was noted as the largest donation ever given to the university's athletics department by former students. The University of Miami renamed the Hurricanes' locker room in Johnson's honor.
- Finishing moves
- People's Elbow / Corporate Elbow (Running delayed high-impact elbow drop, with theatrics, usually preceded by a spinebuster) – 1997–present
- Rock Bottom (Fall forward lifting side slam) – 1997–present
- Running shoulderbreaker – 1996
- Signature moves
- Float-over DDT
- Flowing snap DDT, sometimes followed by a kip-up
- Jumping clothesline
- Running swinging neckbreaker
- Running thrust lariat
- Samoan drop
- Scoop slam - 1997-2000, followed by the People's Elbow, replaced by the Spinebuster in 2000
- Snap overhead belly-to-belly suplex, sometimes to an oncoming opponent
- Spinebuster, usually followed by a People's Elbow
- Diving Crossbody - 1996-1997, used as Rocky Maivia
- Standing dropkick - 1996-1997
- "The Samoan Sensation"
- "The Blue Chipper"
- "The People's Champion"
- "The Brahma Bull"
- "The Corporate Champion"
- "The Great One"
- "The Trailblazin', Eyebrow-Raisin', Jabroni beating, Pie-eating, Heart-stoppin', Elbow-droppin', People's Champ."
- "The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment"
- "The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment"
- As The Rock
- "Nation Of Domination" by Jim Johnston (1997 – 1998)
- "Do You Smell It" by Jim Johnston (1998 – 1999)
- "Know Your Role" by Jim Johnston (September 26, 1999 – April 2, 2001; 2004; 2007; 2008)
- "Know Your Role" by Method Man (2000)
- "If You Smell..." by Jim Johnston (July 30, 2001 – February 20, 2003)
- "Is Cookin'" by Jim Johnston (February 23, 2003 – June 2, 2003; December 8, 2003; March 1, 2004)
- ""Electrifying"" by Jim Johnston (February 14, 2011 – present)
- Wrestlers trained
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Match of the Year (1999) vs. Mankind in an "I Quit" match at Royal Rumble
- PWI Match of the Year (2002) vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8
- PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1999, 2000)
- PWI Wrestler of the Year (2000)
- PWI ranked him #2 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 2000
- PWI ranked him #76 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment
- WCW/World Championship (2 times)1
- WWF/E Championship (8 times)2
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- WWF Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Mankind (3), The Undertaker (1), and Chris Jericho (1)
- Royal Rumble (2000)
- Slammy Award for New Sensation (1997)
- Slammy Award for Game Changer of the Year (2011 )
- Slammy award for Guess Who's Back or Return of the Year (2011 )
- Slammy Awards for LOL! Moment of the Year (2012 )
- Sixth Triple Crown Champion
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
1Won during The Invasion.
27th reign was as WWE Undisputed Champion.