“His Real Name Was..” – A Long Time Before Brock Lesnar Came to Existence, This Member of Dwayne Johnson’s Family Had Mastered the Art of MMA Style Wrestling

Published 09/05/2023, 1:30 PM EDT

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In pro wrestling, some land in stardom by chance while others attain the glory, walking through the path their forefathers carved out for themselves. Dwayne Johnson belongs to the second group. Wrestling is the lifeblood of Johnson’s big family tree. While his own father, ‘Soulman’ Rocky Johnson, is one of the key carriers of the legacy, his maternal lineage still wins the race.

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The great Samoan Dynasty housed a host of generational superstars, including his maternal grandfather, Peter Maivia, a High Chief both inside and outside the ring. Although everything about the late legend’s glorifying career is an open secret to fans, his expertise in the MMA style wrestling might be something few are aware of.

The Rock revealed a little-known detail of his legendary grandfather Peter Maivia

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The sheer dominance that the Great Maivia used to bring to the table between 1970 to 1980 was simply otherworldly. His charisma and skill made him proudly carry the torch of his Samoan heritage. Before dipping his feet at WWE, Maivia attained fame in New Zealand, winning multiple championships to his name.

Another noteworthy prowess of him was his mastery over MMA style wrestling, a hybrid method that embodies different grappling arts. He, in fact, nailed it much before names like Brock Lesnar, Dave Batista, and Ronda Rousey popularised the idea of building a bridge between two combat sports, MMA and pro wrestling.

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Recalling that special quality of his legendary grandfather, The Rock noted on the Graham Norton Show, ”His real name was High Chief Peter Maivia. And he was a high chief of Samoa and he actually started his career here uh in England. And that and he was trained in English style and at that time in the 60s I believe English style wrestling was um there was a lot of what’s called shoot wrestling like derived from shoot fight which eventually became MMA. So it was a very tough style of wrestling here in England and yeah so that’s how he was trained.

Moving ahead, there had been a popular myth about The High Chief of the Samoan family that has recently been dismissed by Paul Heyman.

Myth buster: The Tribal Chief doesn’t stem from the High Chief

Many of the Bloodline fans assumed Roman Reigns’ Tribal Chief’ name originated from The High Chief as a tribute to Maivia. But it turned out something else.

Reigns special counsel, Paul Heyman revealed that the Tribal Chief title of Reigns has nothing to do with his legendary family background. Rather, the term tribe refers to the WWE fans of Reigns and the Chief is for denoting him as the supreme of them.

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While Heyman has huge respect for the iconic Anoai family and especially the late Peter Maivia, he clarified that the Tribal Chief title exclusively belongs to the current Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.

Watch the story: Oprah And The Rock Join Hands In Helping Hawaii After Max Holloway Teary Eyed Request

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What’s your take on The Rock reflecting on the beginning of his late grandfather Peter Maivia’s journey with MMA-style wrestling? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Written by:

Shreya Nag

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Shreya Nag is a WWE writer at EssentiallySports, whose love for the sport began when she saw Cody Rhodes win the Royal Rumble in 2023. Since then, she has been an ardent fan of Rhodes and the world of pro wrestling. Shreya's writing combines her passion for the sport with her writing abilities, which she uses to provide readers with a nuanced analysis of WWE superstars.
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Edited by:

Sherjeel Malik

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