Life After Sports: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

So many athletes are now changing career paths once they decide to retire from their athletic careers. In a previous post, the list was headed by once big names in sports, and now even bigger names in business or entertainment, which you can read more about on the Jason Hanold WordPress page. Someone who made the list and should not shock any of us is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He has made quite a name for himself as an actor after becoming famous as a WWF wrestler, even though he actually started off as a football player. The Rock’s career has definitely sky-rocketed and it seems to only be getting bigger. So, let’s take a closer look at Johnson’s career as an athlete and his current career in entertainment.

Where did he start off?

This California native comes from Samoan and Black Nova Scotian heritage and while growing up lived in a few places including Hawaii, New Zealand, Pennsylvania and Miami. His passion for sports started to become evident while living in Pennsylvania where he began to get involved in football, playing for his high school team in the East Penn Conference, track and field, and wrestling. It’s no surprise he showed interest in wrestling since he is a third generation wrestler. His father Rocky Johnson and maternal grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maivia, were pro wrestlers and his father actually had a historic role in the WWF as being part of the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team championship. When he started off his athletic career, he was more prospected as a promising football player and even received various offers from different college teams. He finally decided to attend the University of Miami, where he got a full scholarship while playing defensive tackle. An injury sidetracked his football career, and he was quickly replaced by current NFL star Warren Sapp. He graduated college in 1995 and met his wife while he attended the college. The same year he graduated, he accepted an offer to play on the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League but was later cut only two months later.

WWF stardom


Image courtesy of irfan.nasir05 at

1995 was a busy year for the worldwide famous actor. He then decided to start training for a pro wrestling career. Besides the already mentioned wrestlers in his family, he has tons of other family members that are part of the wrestling world and when making the decision to go down this career path himself his father actually ended up training him, despite initial resistance. For the first couple of years, he fought under various names and started to win in different federations, until he got noticed by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and signed with them in 1996. He actually started his WWF career as Rocky Maivia, combining his father and grandfather’s name. He had a rough start when fans ended up getting quite hostile, but then joined the stable “The Domination Nation”. But in a matter of a couple of years, a feud brought an end to the wrestling stable. The Rock since then has been a part of various wrestling stables and had on and off participation in the WWF. The Rock became the WWF champion, but later had less and fewer appearances towards 2009. In 2011 and 2012, he had more recent appearances now as the host of WrestleMania XXVII. In 2012 and 2013, he reclaimed his title as WWE champion for eight times, making a win over CM Punk.

Up and rising mainstream popularity

Johnson started to become popular in the mainstream with appearances on Saturday Night Live, music videos like Wyclef Jean’s “It Doesn’t Matter”, and other TV shows like “Star Trek: Voyager” and “That 70’s Show”. He started getting noticed and appeared on various entertainments lists from Entertainment Weekly to Forbes. He made it to the big screen in CGI with a small role as the Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns, which actually led to a spin-off “The Scorpion King”. Since then he has made it to covers of magazines like Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and TV Guide. His wrestling career continues to be his legacy and he will go down in history as one of the greatest, and one of the best box office wrestling. After his role in 2002 in “The Scorpion King”, he has participated in many movies ranging from comedy to drama to action. Although, some say he truly went big with his Fast and Furious franchise, he has also been in other movies that have proved to the world that he is here to stay as an actor. He has currently been working on several movies and TV shows such as Central Intelligence, Fast 8, Baywatch, and the upcoming release of Jumanji, besides his role in Ballers the HBO comedy-drama. He is now also producing, including the aforementioned HBO hit. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has definitely earned a spot in Hollywood with his talent.