When Boredom Strikes

Before "The Rock," There Was "Rocky Maivia"

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s first WWF persona was Rocky Maivia, a face (good guy). The audience rejected him due to his cheesy character, with chants of “Die, Rocky, die!”. After this, he became a heel (villain), referring to himself in the third person as “The Rock” and insulting the audience.

Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock,” makes his professional wrestling debut in Young Rock, but he goes by a completely different name on the show. Johnson recalls his first match with the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), now known as WWE, in the fictionalized biographical series that tells the beginning story of one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Instead of using his current ring name, “The Rock” makes his debut in his first wrestling match as “Rocky Maivia.”

Johnson’s first appearance in the ring is followed in “Corpus Christi,” the eighth episode of Young Rock season 2. Johnson is introduced as Rocky Maivia in this first match. The truth is that “The Rock” didn’t even choose his initials as a wrestler. To honor Johnson’s father and grandfather’s careers as professional wrestlers, WWE president Vince McMahon combined their names. Johnson’s first WWE wrestling name was Rocky Maivia, which he hated from the moment it was suggested but had no choice but to use because it was his father Rocky Johnson’s and his grandfather Peter Maivia’s.

Although Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been appreciative of the legacy his family has left for him, he desired the opportunity to pave his own course. Rocky Maivia initially made it simpler for him to get into the business. The name gave him the chance to challenge the groundwork laid down by his father and grandfather. Johnson soon realized that Rocky Maivia was not the name he had intended for the crowd to chant. He came to the conclusion that it was time to forge a new, more sincere identity. As revealed (via Wired), Johnson’s mentor and father figure Patt Patterson was the one who first suggested the idea for a wrestling monicker, asking Johnson, “What if we call you The Rock?”

Before The Rock There Was Rocky Maivia 1
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Johnson cherished the opportunity to adopt a new name and leave Rocky Maivia behind. Dwayne Johnson shared images from the Young Rock season 2 episode where he reflected on the first match. He told his followers that the night of his debut as Rocky Maivia changed his life but that he would “eventually drop the name “Rocky Maivia” (which [he] hated).” By changing his character to “The Rock,” Johnson was able to carve out his own niche in the world of wrestling while still paying homage to his father and grandfather.

Johnson is not the only one who aspires to sever ties with his family tree while still upholding the legacy of those who came before him. Simone Johnson, the fourth generation of wrestlers in the Johnson family, has continued the sport’s heritage. Contrary to her father, Simone will have the chance to be her more authentic self from her first steps in the ring. She has also emulated her father by adopting her own WWE wrestling name, which has been revealed to be “Ava Raine.” Since Young Rock has been officially renewed by NBC for a third season, it might not be long before the program explores Johnson’s transformation from Rocky Maivia and his acceptance of his new legacy as “The Rock.”

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