Here’s How Dwayne Johnson Got His Nickname The Rock

Published 07/12/2021, 6:49 PM EDT


When it comes to the WWE universe, there are a select few wrestlers who can match the dynamism of the legendary Dwayne Johnson. The California-born athlete made his WWF debut in 1996. Between then and now, Johnson has gone on to establish himself as a global brand.

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He began his Hollywood journey with his first theatrical release, The Mummy Returns (2001). It’s been a steady rise to the top ever since then. Over the last two decades, grossed over $3.5 billion in North America and over $10.5 billion worldwide. It won’t be an over-exaggeration to say that Dwayne is now one of the highest-paid actors in the world.

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But before he evolved into the global brand that he is today, Dwayne was just a young kid with a dream. After failing to make it big in professional football, Johnson focused on his wrestling career which was still in its infancy.

So how did this starry-eyed youngster with Canadian heritage go on to establish himself as arguably the greatest WWE superstar?

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How did Dwayne Johnson come to be known as ‘The Rock’?

Dwayne Johnson first stepped in a WWF ring in the late 1990s. Back then, he was known as ‘Rocky Maivia’ – a combination of his father and grandfather’s ring names. However, it’s worth noting that the ringside announcers did acknowledge his actual name as well.

 

Dwayne wasn’t too keen on this name but it was WWE head honcho, Vince McMahon, who convinced him to go along with the idea. He was given the nickname, “The Blue Chipper” and was hyped as the WWF’s first third-generation wrestler.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – APRIL 1: Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson and John Cena in action during WrestleMania XXVIII at Sun Life Stadium on April 1, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

After suffering a legitimate knee injury, Dwayne returned in August 1997 and revealed the ‘dark side’ of his character. For the very first time in his nascent career, he lashed out at fans who had been booing him constantly.

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Subsequently, he joined Faarooq, D’Lo Brown and Kama in the stable called the Nation of Domination. He then stopped responding to the name, Rocky Maivia. Instead, he started referring to himself in the third person as ‘The Rock’. The rest, as they say, is history.

Here’s a look at some of the defining moments of The Rock’s SmackDown career. Enjoy this ride down memory lane!

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Daniel Arambur

1673 articles

Daniel Arambur is an NFL writer and content strategist for EssentiallySports.With more than 1,000 articles, he is one of the senior writers in the NFL cohort at ES. A mass media graduate from the University of Mumbai, Daniel has found the perfect blend of vocation and passion in the sports content niche.

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