Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: His Wrestling Family Tree

Nowadays, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors with huge roles in famous movies, including Fast and Furious, Jumanji, and the Disney movie Moana. It’s easy to forget that Johnson’s first claim to fame was as a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Superstar with a successful acting career. “The Rock” famously feuded with wrestler Steve Auston and was victorious in the WWF/WWE Heavyweight title a number of times.

Dwayne Johnson posing in a pink suit / Dwayne Johnson with his son and wife on the red carpet / Dwayne Johnson taking selfies with fans / Dwayne Johnson behind a podium / Dwayne Johnson kissing his wife in front of the ocean
Source: Instagram / Photo by Axelle, Bauer-Griffin, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Victor Chavez, WireImage, Getty Images / John W Ferguson, WireImage, Getty Images / Source: Instagram

His success in the ring ultimately allowed the fighter to transform into a Hollywood action hero. But he isn’t the only one in his family who rose to WWE fame. He is the first third-generation superstar in the history of WWE. Johnson has a family of grapplers that includes his uncles, cousins, and even his eldest daughter, Simone.

Here are some of his relatives who have excelled in the arena of scripted combat, colorful costumes, and impeccable stage presence.

“High Chief” Peter Maivia

The wrestling dynasty began with The Rock’s American Samoan-born grandfather, who started wrestling back in the 1960s as Prince Peter Maivia, before sticking to the name “High Chief.” Showcasing his striking tribal tattoos, Maivia quickly became a fan favorite and champion in Hawaii, New Zealand, and the United States.

Peter Maivia posing with a broom
Peter Maivia. Source: Tumblr

Sadly, his hall of fame career and life ended when he was just 45, after losing a battle to cancer. Although he wasn’t technically part of the Anoa’I lineage that produced most of the family’s wrestling stars, Mavia was considered a “blood brother” of its patriarch, Reverend Amituana’i Anoa’i.

The Wild Samoans

The sons of Amituana’i Anoa’i, Afa, and Sika Anoa’I also used their ethnicity to be dubbed the Wild Samoans. Their “savage” behaviors include strange rituals like biting opponents and eating raw fish. Nevertheless, they were among the most remarkable and intimidating duos of their time. In the early 1980s, they claimed the World Tag Team Championship over three years.

The Wild Samoans posing with their belts
Afa and Sika Anoa’l. Source: Twitter

By the end of the decade, the brothers started to pursue different paths. Sika went ahead and embarked on a solo career, and Afa focused on managing and operating his Wild Samoan Training Center. The duo reunited in 2007 for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame and Pro Wrestling Hall in 2012.

Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson

Before marrying the High Chief’s daughter, Rocky Johnson learned the tools of the trade under Maivia. The union brought him into the fighting family and produced its most famous champion. But the muscular “Soul Man” was a superstar in his own right.

Rocky ‘Soul Man’ Johnson on the red carpet
Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson. Photo by John Lamparski / WireImage / Getty Images

Rocky paired with Tony Atlas in the “Soul Patrol,” and the two became the first black pro champions in what was then called the World Wrestling Federation. Johnson trained his son and became part of the act that shaped his claim to fame. Johnson repaid the efforts in 2008 by inducing the “Soul Man” in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

Emerging from Fiji, Snuka joined the Anoa’i family through his marriage to his second wife, Sharon. He rose to be one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling in the 1980s. His “Superfly Splash” countered the immense mass of giants like Hulk Hogan. He later joined the Eastern Championship Wrestling organization as a headliner.

Jimmy Superfly Snuka behind a microphone during a radio interview
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. Photo by Astric Stawiarz / Getty Images

In 1996, Snuka was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and got to see two of his offspring continue his fighting legacy when they entered the pro wrestling world. However, he remained haunted by rumors and allegations that he was involved in his girlfriend’s death until 2017 when Snuka himself passed away.


Even though he comes from his uncles Afa and Sika’s bloodline, Rodney Anoa’I considered himself a Japanese sumo wrestler, and he performed under the name Yokozuna. However, the results were pretty much the same. The almost 600-pound behemoth quickly pushed aside some of the sport’s biggest names, toppling fighters like Bret Hart and Hogan in title matches.

Yokozuna with Mr. Fuji holding a flag and his belt
Yokozuna. Source: Twitter

Yokozuna also teamed up with Owen Hart, and the duo became a two-time tag team champion. However, the gigantic size that made him a wrestling star also led to a health-related fall, and the Hall of Famer died at age 34 from pulmonary edema.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Whether you know him as Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, or perhaps even as the people’s champ, you have undoubtedly heard of this talented man. The Rock is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. He has starred in some of the most successful blockbusters in cinema. He is one of the top-paid actors in showbiz and one of the industry’s best ambassadors in years.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the wrestling ring
Photo by Ron Elkman / Sports Imagery / Getty Images

He is truly a renaissance man; it seems like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can do it all. Whether it’s professional wrestling, acting, or starting his own Tequila business, this guy has dabbled in just about everything. He even threw around the idea of running for Congress one day! In honor of his father’s passing last year, the legendary fighter Rocky Johnson, we thought we would bring you some details about his equally legendary son.

Check out these incredible facts you never knew about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Singing for Cancer

Dwayne is undoubtedly known for his being a retired professional wrestler, a former football star, and of course, his remarkable actor. The jack of all trades can also sing, and he is exceptionally charitable. The Rock put both of things together on a social media post.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in University of Miami Hurricanes uniform running upfield
Photo by Miami /. Collegiate Images / Getty Images

The kind-hearted man does a lot of work for different organizations, including Make-A-Wish. An excellent example of his kindness was when he posted a video of himself singing his iconic Moana song to a young boy who was fighting cancer. He certainly made somebody’s day.

Don’t Mess with The Rock

Dwayne Johnson is a sweetheart; he is like one giant teddy bear. That’s why it may come as a surprise to find out that The Rock is involved in a celebrity feud. Well, at least he used to be. Tyrese Gibson lashed out at his Fast & Furious co-star and the gossip was all over the internet.

Actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (L) and recording artist/actor Tyrese Gibson attend Universal Pictures' "Furious 7" premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 1, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (L) and recording artist/actor Tyrese Gibson attend Universal Pictures’ “Furious 7” premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 1, 2015, in Hollywood, California. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

He called Johnson a “clown on social media and blamed him for delaying Fast 9. Well, the actor revealed the beef has finally been settled. On Stir Crazy with Josh Horowitz, Gibson said, “Me and The Rock peaced up.”

3rd Generation Superstar

The Rock comes from a huge wrestling family, which comes as a surprise to no one. You can pretty much tell just by looking at him. Aside from his dad, both of Dwayne’s maternal grandparents were wrestlers (as we mentioned).

Roman Reigns looking on in the ring
Roman Reigns. Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery / Getty Images

The Rock’s cousins, uncles, and even aunts are involved in the industry. The actor has some famous relatives in the wrestling world, including Roman Reigns, the Usos and Rikishi, and many more. It’s obvious that fighting is in his DNA. After all, he goes by the name The Rock.

Sorry, Dunkin’

With all his strength and success, Dwayne Johnson has somehow remained very humble. I mean, he is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood but never lets it get to his head. He behaves like an ordinary person and doesn’t think he is better than anyone else just because he is famous.

Dwayne Johnson being held by someone in a wrestling pose
Photo by KMazur / WireImage / Getty Images

The beloved actor was offered a promotional deal with Dunkin’ Donuts. The company even wanted to name a donut after him. That seems like a sweet deal. Who wouldn’t want a donut named after them? Apparently, The Rock doesn’t. He declined the offer so that he wouldn’t appear bigheaded.

Muhammad Ali’s Blessing

Throughout his wrestling career, Dwayne Johnson met many notable professionals. Although his most famous nickname is obviously The Rock, he was also known as The People’s Champ. If you are a boxing fan, you know that Muhammad Ali held that nickname.

Dwayne Johnson posing for a portrait / Muhammad Ali in the corner of the ring
Photo by Jason Kempin, Getty Images / Focus on Sport, Getty Images

Initially, The Rock didn’t want to use that name, but he actually got permission to use it from Muhammad Ali and his family. But even though he got Muhammad Ali’s blessing, the name didn’t really stick. I guess The Rock just fits him better.

School Was Hard

When Dwayne Johnson began high school, he was already the size of a full-grown man and towered over his teachers and fellow classmates. Sure, it was good for his career, but when it came to being a teenager, being the big guy wasn’t easy.

Dwayne Johnson and his mother on a rugby field
Dwayne Johnson and his mother, Ata. Photo by Patrick Riviere / Getty Images

By the time he was 16 years old, Johnson stood at an impressive 6’4 and weighed 215 pounds. Since his parents moved around a lot, he went to many different high schools, and the actor confessed that everybody always thought he was a narc.

Moved Around a Lot

He was born in California, but he attended elementary school in New Zealand when his parents moved there. Then, he started off high school in Hawaii before moving to Nashville. Then, he switched high schools for the last time when his family finally settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The rock with his parents on the red carpet
Dwayne Johnson with his mom and dad. Photo by Michael Tran / FilmMagic / Getty Images

When he attended the University of Miami, Johnson played college football and had big dreams of becoming an NFL player. But when he didn’t get drafted in 1995, he decided to try his hand up north. He signed with the Calgary Stampeders, but he was cut in the middle of his first season.

Embarrassing Nickname

If someone landed the nickname, The Rock, it’s probably a person you don’t want to mess with. Obviously, making fun of him is a bad idea, but not all of Johnson’s nicknames are what we would call “cool.”

Dwayne Johnson in his football uniform on the field
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

When The Rock played football at the University of Miami, his teammates called him “Dewey.” The best part is that they weren’t even the ones who came up with it. In fact, when Johnson’s parents came to visit him, they called him Dewey in front of everyone, and it kind of just stuck.

Meaningful Tattoos

Over the years, tattoos have become an artistic way for people to express themselves. Johnson’s largest tattoo covers his left arm and chest, and it holds major significance.

Dwayne Johnson in the ring with his tattoo showing
Photo by Djamilla Rosa Cochran / WireImage / Getty Images

The tattoo is a tradition for men in Samoan culture. Johnson’s took over 60 hours to complete and tells the story of his life and family. As he himself puts it, “This isa/ga (three people in one), that’s me with my arms open. As it continues on my chest, it connects to my o lo’u/ua (my wife, Dany) and my o lo’u afafine (my daughter, Simone Alexandra).”

A Rocky Start

When Dwayne Johnson first joined the wrestling world, he wasn’t yet known as “The Rock.” We mentioned a few other nicknames, but during his fighting debut, Johnson went by Rocky Maivia. The name was a combination of his father’s first name and his maternal grandfather’s last name.

Dwayne Johnson posing for a photo on a blue background
Source: Getty Images

At first, he was booed by fans, and they relentlessly chanted “Rocky sucks” during his matches. He later confessed to Oprah Winfrey that those negative chants helped him become the egotistical character, The Rock, which ironically turned him into a fan favorite.

His Crazy Cheat Meals

If you follow The Rock on Instagram, you know that there are three things the man loves: working out, tequila, and eating an entire family’s worth of food, just for one meal! To be fair, he needs calories and nutrients to manage his weight and strength. He’s got to work for those muscles!

Dwayne Johnson posing with his back to the camera on the red carpet
Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

But one of the most amusing things about The Rock is the crazy amount he eats on his cheat days. That man can consume an entire extra-large pizza pie on his own, three steaks, mountains of pancakes. Just check out his social media accounts!

His Charity

Everyone knows that The Rock is involved in a ton of charity work and loves to help people worldwide. He founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation back in 2006 to help terminally ill children.

Dwayne Johnson with his daughter Simone Alexander Johnson at his Daddy and Me charity event
Simone Alexander Johnson and Dwayne Johnson at his “Me and My Daddy” children’s fashion show for the Mercy Foundation 2006. Photo by John Parra / WireImage / Getty Images

It is more commonly known as The Rock Foundation. Its goal is to improve kids’ health and self-esteem through its physical fitness program, educate them about nutrition, and healthy behaviors to achieve their fitness goals. The organization really gives hope and confidence to children who have been through a lot.

Mama’s Boy

When Dwayne was just 15 years old, his family was going through a rough time. The actor admitted that after they lost their apartment, his mom, Ata Johnson, attempted suicide. Ata was driving on the Nashville highway and tried to take her own life by stopping the car and walking into oncoming traffic. Luckily, Johnson grabbed her and pulled her out of the way.

Dwayne Johnson with his mom smiling on the red carpet
Dwayne and Ata Johnson. Photo by Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Things must have been extremely difficult for the family if it got to this point. Thankfully, she didn’t go through with the suicide, and, as of today, she is happy, healthy, and 72 years old.

His Grandfather inspired Moana

If you’re a Disney fan, you have certainly watched the movie Moana. Maui was played by none other than Dwane The Rock Johnson. In 2017, the actor revealed that his character’s inspiration came from his late maternal grandfather, Peter Mavia.

Peter Mavia posing for a portrait / The character from Moana
Source: Twitter / MoviestillsDB.com, Copyright: Walt Disney Pictures

Back in his day, Peter Mavia was a legendary Samoan wrestler. He was even featured in the James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice. He died of cancer in 1982. Johnson was just 10 years old at the time. Still, he holds his grandfather’s memory dear and continues to be influenced by him.

Floridian and Canadian

Like many other Floridians, one of Johnson’s favorite activities is fishing. He often posts about his hobby on social media platforms, and his captions usually include some fishing lingo such as “spinnerbaits” and “soft plastics.” The superstar also discussed how he raises bass in a pond on his farm. Very impressive.

Dwayne Johnson fishing on a boat
Source: Flickr

Despite being born and raised (mostly) in the United States, he actually has Canadian citizenship. He didn’t always have it, though. He acquired citizenship in 2009, during his time in the CFL, due to his father being from Nova Scotia. That explains why he is so polite!

His Cousin Is His Stunt Double

For more than 15 years, Johnson’s stunt double has been Tanoai Reed. The pair look strikingly similar to one another, and it turns out there is an excellent reason for the resemblance. As it turns out, the two are related.

Tanoai Reed on the red carpet / Dwayne Johnson on the red carpet
Photo by Marsaili Mcgrath, Getty Images / Alberto E Rodriguez, Disney, Getty Images

To be fair, they are distant relatives, but it still counts. They share a great grandfather who is part of the reason they make such a great team. The cousins are extremely close friends, and Reed even described the actor as one of the world’s most down-to-earth and humble men.

Teenage Arrests

Despite his career as a fighter, Johnson has kept a pretty clean reputation throughout his career. He is known for his charity, humility, and overall kind heart. However, like many other teenagers, Johnson got in some trouble in his younger years.

Dwayne Johnson holding a basketball on the red carpet
Photo by Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images

Before he turned 17 years old, little Johnson had already been arrested nine times! Most of these cases happened in Hawaii: After his family lost their home, Johnson turned to crime to make some quick cash. He was involved in a theft ring that went after high-end tourist spots.

He Inspired a Kid to Save a Life

With a massive career in the fighting world and Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson is a celebrity with a large following and the ability to influence so many people all over the world. Johnson is undoubtedly an inspiration for motivating people to get into shape to encourage fans to follow their dreams.

Dwayne Johnson posing at a movie premiere
Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

However, there was one significant moment when The Rock inadvertently saved a life. When a young boy saw his sister drowning, he performed CPR and saved her, something he learned by watching his hero, Dwayne Johnson, on TV.

Surprise, Dad!

Before the devastating passing of his father, Rocky Johnson, it was evident that The Rock loved and idolized his dad. For Christmas, the actor posted a present he had bought his dear dad: a huge truck! He also posted a second car he bought his father after he had gone through hip replacement surgery.

Dwayne Johnson with his daughter, wife, and parents
Dwayne Johnson and his family. Photo by Albert L Ortega / Getty Images

Dwayne Johnson is the owner of his own production company called Seven Bucks Productions. The company produced various movies, including Baywatch and Jumani: Welcome to the Jungle. Johnson also stars in both films. He definitely made his daddy proud!

Moana vs. Vaiana

The Rock was a significant part of Disney’s 2016 animated movie Moana. But in some countries, the movie was renamed “Vaiana,” so the actor had to rerecord some of his Maui lines. The reason for the name change was due to rights issues in certain countries. In Italy, the name was the same as a famous local adult movie actress. Inappropriate for a kid’s movie!

Dwayne Johnson in the ring
Photo by KMazur / WireImage / Getty Images

Before wrestling in the WWF, Johnson fought in the United States Wrestling Association. Initially, he used his real name but then went by Flex Kavana.

Owning It

We went through many of his nicknames, but he will always be known as the name he now owns the rights to The Rock. But early on in his career, that name was actually owned by the WWE. Because of that, WWE owner Vince McMahon received executive producer credits in Johnson’s earlier films.

Dwayne Johnson holding his fist up for the crowd from the side of the wrestling ring
Photo by George Napolitano / FilmMagic / Getty Images

However, Dwayne Johnson told Entertainment Magazine in 2006 that he no longer wants to go by his iconic name, The Rock. After retiring from wrestling, he sees himself as an actor and would prefer to go by his given name.

Solid as a Rock

In 2000, Johnson published his autobiography. The book became an instant hit and was number one on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained there for several weeks! According to Forbes, Johnson made an astonishing $64.5 million in 2016, which made him the highest-paid actor of that year.

Dwayne Johnson holding up his book, which reads ‘The Rock Says’
Photo by Arnaldo Magnani / Liaison Agency / Getty Images

You may not know that Johnson has a clothing deal with Under Armour called “Project Rock.” The clothing line has been incredibly successful and includes a gym bag that was sold out in just one day, a t-shirt with the Brahma bull logo, shoes, and an alarm clock app that had over a million downloads within a week after it came out!

Obama Smash!

Johnson made an appearance on an episode of That ‘70s Show. If you remember his cameo, you know that he actually played his father, Rocky Johnson. This was the first acting gig he got on TV. Years after his 1999 television debut, The Rock hosted Saturday Night Live with wrestlers HHH, the Big Show, and Mick Foley. It ultimately launched what would become a successful acting career.

Dwayne Johnson as his father talking to Eric in a scene from That 70s Show
Source: Twitter

He has since made several Saturday Night Live appearances. One notable character is “The Rock Obama.” It’s a hilarious depiction of the Hulk and Obama combo. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Movie Star

Did you notice that The Rock made a cameo on Star Trek: Voyager? He played an alien wrestler. Ironically, the wrestler used all the same moves of an Earthling wrestler: The Rock. The actor was also Tim Burton’s second choice to play Willy Wonka in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His first choice was Johnny Depp, but can you imagine The Rock as Willy Wonka?!

Dwayne Johnson appearing in Star Trek
Source: Pinterest

Johnson also expressed an interest in playing a James Bond villain, like his grandfather. Johnson’s grandfather portrayed the driver for the evil Ernest Stavro Blofeld in the 1967 film You Only Live Twice.


While filming The Scorpion King (2002), Johnson accidentally knocked out his co-star, Michael Clarke Duncan. The two were filming a fight scene, and Duncan leaned it a little too far and hit his chin on The Rock’s elbow. Apparently, Duncan went down like a sack of bricks. But are you surprised?

Dwayne Johnson and Michael Clarke Duncan dressed up in a scene from The Scorpion King, looking intensely.
Source: MoviestillsDB.com / Copyright: Universal Pictures

When he first joined the WWF, Johnson’s mentor was famous superstar wrestler Bret “The Hitman” Hart. WWE Smackdown (1999) was called “Layeth the Smack Down,” after one of The Rock’s famous catchphrases.

The Rock as Johnny Bravo

The Rock currently holds the record as the first eight-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In 2007, the wrestler was inducted into the prestigious Guinness World Records for being the highest-paid actor in his debut movie. He made a whopping $5.5 million for his first role in the 2001 film, The Mummy Returns.

Dwayne Johnson dressed up in The Mummy Returns
Source: MoviestillsDB.com / Copyright: Universal Studios

In 2002, news broke that Dwayne Johnson was going to star as the lead in the live-action adaptation of the hit cartoon series Johnny Bravo. One of the producers said that The Rock was a huge childhood fan of Bravo. Unfortunately, nothing became of the movie. But can you imagine anyone better to play Johnny?!

He Has A Criminology Degree

Although he had his fair share of run-ins with the law in his Youth, Johnson actually got his criminology degree. He earned it while he was playing college football as a defensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes. And he graduated from Miami University in 1995 with a Bachelor of General Studies in criminology and physiology.

Dwayne Johnson in a graduation gown giving a speech
Photo by John Parra / WireImage / Getty Images

He’s not all looks, sports, and talent. He’s got brains too! Like many of us college graduates, The Rock never got to apply his degree to his career. Still, it’s interesting to think that his life could have taken an entirely different path. But it’s obvious that he was destined for Hollywood.

He Owns A Gym In A Dangerous Neighborhood

It’s pretty obvious just by looking at The Rock that he is a huge gym junkie. In a GQ profile, it was revealed the Johnson owns a private gym, located in what writer Caity Weaver described as “one of the worst top ten locations I have ever been.”

Dwayne Johnson holding onto his sunglasses walking on a sunny day
Photo by Alberto E Rodriguez / Getty Images

In fact, The Rock insisted on driving Caity there himself because of how dangerous the neighborhood over there was. The gym is in a warehouse district in California. It’s kind of surprising because this is Dwayne The Rock Johnson – he could own a gym anywhere. But when you think of his good heart and love of helping people less fortunate, it makes sense.

Record Holder For Most Selfies Taken

I always thought Kim Kardashian held the title, but The Rock holds the record for the most selfies taken in a period of three minutes, according to the Guinness World Records. During his premiere of San Andreas, he took 105 selfies on the red carpet with excited fans.

Dwayne Johnson taking a selfie during the San Andreas premiere
Dwayne Johnson at the ‘San Andreas’ premiere. Photo by Victor Chavez / WireImage / Getty Images

There was actually, a Guinness World Records adjudicator was present at the premiere. He even disqualified several pictures because they were too blurry. Still, 105 selfies at a hectic, chaotic premiere all in a mere three minutes is incredibly impressive. Beat that, Kim Kardashian!