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How Did Dwayne Johnson Get His Nickname The Rock?

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Before Dwayne, The Rock Johnson became a Hollywood star famous for movies like Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Moana (2016), and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017), he was a World Wrestling Entertainment star. It is a common thing that people refer to him by his nickname. We wanted to find out how he got that nickname, and why everyone calls him that. If you want to know too, keep on reading.

The Origin of Nickname The Rock

Johnson became a part of World Wrestling Entertainment in 1996, known as World Wrestling Federation at that time. His stage name was Rocky Maivia. He came up with it thanks to his father’s and grandfather’s stage names. Both of them were also professional wrestlers. His father’s stage name was Rocky Johnson, and his grandfathers were Peter Maivia.

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Johnson was a pretty successful wrestler, unlike his stage name. Fans didn’t like it, and some of them would chant „Rocky sucks!“ and „Die, Rocky, die!“ during his appearances. Because if this, he decided to change his stage name, and started calling himself The Rock, which became a beloved household name. During the time Rocky Maivia was his stage name, his character wasn’t appealing to the fans either. A good-guy personality was unpleasant to viewers. With his stage name change, another change came. The Rock had a much rougher personality and had more expressed villainous side, which viewers seemed to like a lot. He was also referring to himself in a third-person manner.

Johnson Wanted To Drop The Rock At One Point

Before Johnson left wrestling for good because of his acting career, he tried his acting skills in movies like The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Scorpion King (2002). In 2004, his wrestling career was over. People advised him to drop his wrestling stage name. He explained: „I was told at that time by the management that I had around me, ‘You know, you have to forget about your past. You can’t bring wrestling up. We have to slowly leave that behind. Let’s not refer to yourself as The Rock. Let’s make sure that everybody is calling you Dwayne Johnson.“ He took the advice, but it didn’t really work out. Eventually, he freed himself from people who wanted to change him and went back to being himself. And it paid out.

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He said: „So there was a big moment of clarity in about 2010. I just felt, yeah, this isn’t working. I need to stop, readjust, reassess, and change everything around me. I gotta take one more shot, but at least I’m gonna take a shot with me being myself.“

He Likes His Nickname

The Rock is not just a nickname for Johnson, it also represents an important part of his past. „I’m not going to be ashamed of my past. I love my past,“ Johnson said during one interview. He doesn’t mind if fans call him by his real name or by his nickname. Either is fine with him.



Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com

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