Dwayne Johnson’s transformation from his first wrestling persona, Rocky Maivia, into The Rock that we all know and love to varying degrees was accompanied by his famous Brahma bull tattoo. You know the one. It’s an angry bull face on the side of his bicep that also happens to be doing Rocky’s People’s Eyebrow.
Over the years, the Brahma bull (in different stylistic variations) has come to be the most common logo associated with Johnson in most of his ventures, but especially in pro wrestling. WWE even made (but never used) a Brahma bull world championship belt as a take-off on Steve Austin’s personal “smoking skull” belt. And believe it or not, but many, many fans all over the world have gotten their own version of that tattoo over the years. Consider it the animal version of Goldberg’s tribal tattoo.
Now, however, it appears Rocky is ready for a change … or at least, an evolution. In an Instagram video posted on Monday, Johnson explained that he was working with tattoo artist Nikko Hurtado to bring his iconic tattoo to the next level.
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Evolution of the bull begins w/ @nikkohurtado. I've engrained this bull in my DNA for two decades. My core. Humbly, it's also become a symbol of strength, resilience, heart, power and defiance to so many people around the world. I got this tattoo when I was just a kid. Now I need it to reflect me as a man. All my ink is a rite of passage and spiritual and the MANA (power and spirit) has to be right before we begin. Mana is strong with world renowned Nikko. We talked for hours about the man I am today, compared to who I once was. And who I'll always be. We all desire to grow and evolve. The mana is right.. let the blood and pain begin. #EvolutionOfTheBull #WheresMyVicodin
“This is officially the evolution of the bull, something that is very meaningful to me. It’s become iconic, I’ve been very grateful, over the years. What it’s meant to me, and certainly what it’s meant to people all over the world … The mana is very, very strong in the room. We talked for hours and hours and hours of what this means, the evolution, what it means, how it reflects me as a man. So here we go.”
The Rock certainly could do a lot worse than Hurtado, who is one of the very best and most renowned tattoo artists in the world, and is particularly well-known for his mind-blowing photorealistic portraits. Just cruise around his Instagram for a while if you want to see some bomb-ass tattoos.
It’s unclear why Johnson would be changing his tattoo, other than the normal human reason of looking at an old tattoo and thinking, “Hey, maybe something else over here.” There’s also a possibility that there could be some trademark issues, as Johnson uses a different, distinct version of the bull on his Under Armour stuff, while WWE merchandise continues to use silhouettes closer to the original Brahma bull tattoo. But whatever the reason, Hurtado is behind the needle for this one, so it’s probably going to be pretty fantastic.
And some eagle-eyed fans have already noticed that we might be doing some futzing with the time stream here, because it sure looks like Rock already had some work done in this Instagram video that was posted last week:
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Delivering a lil' package of gratitude. Thanks for rockin' w/ us and enjoyin' #Ballers. When I get the happy calls from studios & networks, first thing I do I reach out to you guys. Then I go have a shot of tequila. Or three. Appreciate y'all and have a productive day 🙌🏾👊🏾
HMMMMMM INTERESTING. I’m looking forward to seeing what the final product will be. It might just be the same tattoo, but with a whole bunch of cool atmosphere behind it. After all, Hurtado’s website says he doesn’t do cover-ups. Of course, one would think you’d make an exception for the freakin’ Rock.