WWE legend Rocky Johnson has passed away aged 75, it has been announced. A celebrated member of the Hall of Fame, Rocky was also the father of fellow WWE icon Dwayne ‘The Rocky’ Johnson.
Rocky, known as ‘Soul Man’, began his wrestling career in 1964 in Toronto, Canada, as a member of both the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).
‘Soul Man’ eventually made his way up to the WWE in 1983, teaming up with ‘Soul Patrol’ partner Tony Atlas soon after to become a World Tag Team champion.
He retired in 1991 after a four-decade-long career and will forever be remembered as one of the industry’s first major stars, with his partnership with Atlas making them the first black tag team champions of all time.
Rocky was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 by his son Dwayne, having trained him to become a professional wrestler himself in the nineties.
The same day, his father-in-law Peter Maivia was also inducted.
His son went on to establish himself as another of the WWE’s biggest names, with The Rock now also a highly-successful Hollywood actor.
The WWE said in a statement: “Johnson’s sports-entertainment career began in the mid-1960s when he made a memorable impression in the National Wrestling Alliance. However, Johnson found his highest levels of success when he began his WWE tenure in 1983.
“The physically imposing and wildly charismatic Johnson had several memorable rivalries with the likes of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis.
“He found his greatest success when he teamed up with Tony Atlas as The Soul Patrol. The two men became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history when they defeated The Wild Samoans on Dec. 10, 1983.
“The “Soul Man” retired from the ring in 1991, but his imprint continued to be felt on WWE for years to come.
“Post-retirement, Johnson had a hand in training his son, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Rock would become one of the biggest stars in the history of sports-entertainment and carried on his father’s legacy with pride.
“In 2008, Johnson achieved the highest honor in sports-entertainment when he was inducted by The Rock into the WWE Hall of Fame where he will be forever enshrined as one of sports-entertainment’s most influential performers.
“WWE extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans.”
Published at Wed, 15 Jan 2020 23:20:00 +0000