Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, Johnson became a legend in the professional wrestling industry, forming The Soul Patrol with wrestler and bodybuilder Tony Atlas and becoming the first Black World Tag Team Champions in WWE history. In 2008, Rocky Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. And last month, it was announced that Johnson had joined the board of the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Rocky Johnson also played a large role in training his son Dwayne.
In a tribute to his dad in 2018 on Father’s Day, Dwayne wrote, “Happy Father’s Day to this hardly ever smiling OG badass. Little boys by nature, look up to and idolize their old man. They want to be just like em, do whatever they do and are always looking for their approval.”
“Funny thing is the day I stopped looking for that approval was the day I understood what it meant to be man and more importantly, a father,” the tribute continued.
“That shift lifted me to a new level of gratitude for the tough love he always gave. Years later as a man and father of three girls, I know that tough love, is a helluva lot better than no love at all. I’ll take it. It’s made me who I am today. Grateful to the original Rock.”
Although Dwayne hasn’t expressed his grief publicly, understandably so, others in the wrestling community have posted tributes to the late Johnson.
WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon wrote on Twitter, “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, an incredible talent who forged an indelible legacy. My thoughts are with @TheRock and his family.”
Triple H also called his passing “a loss for every fan of @WWE.” He added on Twitter, “Rocky Johnson was a barrier-breaking performer. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Nattie also took to Twitter, writing: “I am saddened to hear the news of Rocky Johnson passing away. Rocky wrestled for my grandfather Stu for many years in Stampede Wrestling. I am sending so much love to @TheRock and his entire family.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Johnson’s family.