Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Credits Childhood Hero for WWE SmackDown’s Worldwide Success

Published 05/26/2021, 8:15 AM EDT
Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, enters the ring to talk smack about his upcoming opponent John Cena during the WWE Raw event at Rose Garden arena in Portland, Ore., Monday February 27th, 2012. (Photo by Chris Ryan/Corbis via Getty Images)


SmackDown has blossomed far past Raw in the pandemic era and has managed to keep viewership at an average of 2 million, unlike the red brand that still faces rises and drops every week. SmackDown, once established as a separate brand from Raw, has come a long way since its start back in 1999.

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In a recent post on Twitter, WWE decided to give fans a bit of nostalgia as they posted the original SmackDown logo and asked fans which Superstars comes to mind first on seeing the logo. 

A majority of fans chose Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the obvious answer, but ‘The People’s Champion’ himself had other thoughts. He picked Downtown Bruno as the man that came to his mind on seeing the logo. 

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Downtown Bruno, known to the WWE Universe as famous manager Harvey Wippleman, is The Rock’s long-time friend. He played an important part in his childhood. As many of you may know, Johnson and his mother were evicted from Hawaii when the former was young. 

Wippleman gave him a place to stay, looked after him, and practically got him through that time. He even purchased a second-hand car for Johnson and gifted it to him so that he could travel to and from training. 

Dwayne Johnson, who never forgot all these things, recently gifted Wippleman a new car as thanks for what he did for him back then. 

Harvey Wippleman coined the name ‘SmackDown’, The Rock claimed

Wippleman had a pretty memorable stint as a manager in WWE. He accompanied the likes of Kamala, Giant Gonzalez, and Sid Justice. His most notable accomplishment is being the first and only man to win the WWE (then WWF) Women’s Championship.

He also coined the name ‘SmackDown’, which has now become WWE’s most viewed brand and wrestling program in America and the world. The Rock credits it all to him, despite being the popular fan pick. 

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been involved a lot in film projects these days. Now he is all set for the release of the Black Adam movie, in which he plays the titular character. Given that this is one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe, and could set the tone for future storyline-based films, fans have high expectations from the film and the actor.

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We could get to see a different side of his acting, which makes it even more exciting. We also look forward to seeing him in more installments of the franchise. 

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Luke Dias

1357 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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