More tragic news from the world of wrestling on Wednesday afternoon as “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson, WWE legend and father of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, has reportedly died. He was 75.
Cauliflower Alley Club broke the news via social media with the following post:
Horrible news to pass along. We just learned that Rocky Johnson passed away today at the age of 75. His accolades in this business, all the people he influenced, all his accomplishments, and we are so deeply sorry and wish his family nothing but the most love at this time pic.twitter.com/3AvzVwylPH
— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) January 15, 2020
Johnson, born born Wayde Douglas Bowles, was a true pioneer in professional wrestling. In addition to holding the National Wrestling Alliance Georgia Championship and a NWA Southern Heavyweight Memphis Championship, Johnson teamed with Tony Atlas to become the first black Tag Team Champions in WWE history. From his debut in 1964 through his time competing under a mask as “Sweet Ebony Diamond” and his rise to the top of the tag team division in the then-World Wrestling Federation, the “Soul Man” is remembered as an important and wildly popular figure in sports-entertainment history. He was inducted into the 2008 class of the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his father-in-law, “High Chief” Peter Maivia.
And, as we said, he’s the father of arguably the most popular professional wrestling of all time, The Rock. Johnson was present during Rock’s initial WWF runs as “Rocky Maivia” — taking his name from both his father and grandfather — and jumped into the ring on his son’s behalf after he was attacked by The Sultan and The Iron Sheik at WrestleMania 13.
Our condolences go out to his friends, family, and fans. In case you aren’t familiar with Johnson’s work, here are a few clips to familiarize you. Rest in peace, Soul Man.