“Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? The Rock will layeth the Smacketh Down all over your candy ass!”
Smackdown’s 1000th episode is set to air on October 16, and as the gap closes in on the landmark show, more details have trickled into the media. According to the wrestling podcast, Barnburner’s Fire Up, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is “very, very close” to signing a deal with WWE that will see him return for the 1000th episode of WWE Smackdown Live. Many believe the show was named after The Rock’s infamous catchphrase, so it only seems fitting the WWE icon would make an appearance.
But as WWE’s biggest mainstream crossover star and the highest-paid actor in the history of Forbes, The Rock is a very busy guy. He is currently filming the Disney theme park movie Jungle Cruise, with several other upcoming movies slated for filming through 2020.
This wouldn’t be the first time The Rock couldn’t make an appearance at a major WWE event, either. Fans were disappointed that he did not take part in the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw in January. Will The Rock be able to fit Smackdown Live into his packed schedule?
As the details of the show and The Rock’s involvement continue to emerge, one thing’s for sure: we’re so ready to go down Know Your Role Boulevard, which is on the corner of Jabroni Drive, and check directly into the Smackdown Hotel!
Who Is ‘The Rock’?
Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known by his ring name The Rock, was born in Hayward, California into a family of wrestlers. His father was professional wrestler Rocky Johnson; his maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler, and his maternal grandmother, Lia Maivia, was one of wrestling's few female promoters. In addition, several of Johnson's other (non-blood) relatives are or were professional wrestlers, including his uncles, Afa and Sika Anoaʻi (The Wild Samoans) and his cousins, Rodney (Yokozuna), Solofa (Rikishi), Matt (Rosey) and Eddie (Umaga).
Johnson attended the University of Miami on a full football scholarship, playing defensive tackle. In 1991, he was on the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team, playing until he was sidelined by an injury. Upon graduating in 1995, Johnson decided he wanted to be a wrestler.
At first, Johnson’s father protested at the idea, but then agreed to train his son himself, warning that he would not go easy on him. He received additional training from Tom Prichard, alongside Achim Albrecht and Mark Henry. After wrestling at Jerry Lawler's United States Wrestling Association as Flex Kavana and winning the USWA World Tag Team Championship twice with Bart Sawyer in 1996, Johnson signed a WWF contract.
Johnson made his WWF debut as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather's ring names. After losing the Intercontinental Championship to Owen Hart in the April 1997 episode of Raw Is War and suffering a legitimate knee injury in a match against Mankind, Maivia returned in August, joining Faarooq, D'Lo Brown and Kama in the stable called the Nation of Domination. He refused to acknowledge the Rocky Maivia name, instead referring to himself in the third person as The Rock, though he would still be billed as Rocky "The Rock" Maivia until 1998. As The Rock, he insulted the audience in his promos as well as WWF television interviewers.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, The Rock gained mainstream fame in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) from 1996 to 2004 and was promoted as the first third-generation wrestler in the company's history. He returned to WWE part-time from 2011–13 and continues to make sporadic appearances.
The Rock is an eight-time WWF/WWE Champion, two-time WCW/World Champion, two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion and a five-time WWF Tag Team Champion. He is the sixth Triple Crown Champion in WWE and won the 2000 Royal Rumble. He also has several acting accolades under his belt, and his autobiography, The Rock Says…, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2000.
You can still get tickets to WWE Smackdown Live and see The Rock himself (...if the rumors are true, that is!)