The wrestling world and WWE fans have been left saddened by the passing of Rocky Johnson, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s legendary father, after he died at the age of 75 following a long and successful career that landed him in the WWE Hall of Fame.
The father of the Hollywood star has risen to fame after joining the world of WWE back in 1983, some two decades after he started his career in the wrestling scene.
Following years of hard work and almost two decades after he quit the ring in 1991, Rocky, who was also known as the ‘Soul Man,’ got inducted into the Hall of Fame.
After the legend’s death, Dwayne has paid a touching tribute to his father and called him a “hero” in his Instagram post.
The tribute, which was posted alongside a video of Rocky in the ring, read:
“I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar.
“The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love.
“The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood.
“Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.
“Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back.
“I’m in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass. Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish.
“Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high. #ripsoulman”
After the legend’s passing, a series of wrestling stars and associations have also taken to social media to pay their respects to Rocky ‘Soul Man’ Johnson who was born as Wayde Douglas Bowles.
“WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson had passed away,” WWE tweeted.
In a statement, WWE has also extended “its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans.”
“He had several memorable rivalries with the likes of Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis,” they wrote.
“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.”
Previously, in 2019, Dwayne has also opened up about his father and revealed how The Soul used to surpass him “in the gyms and on wrestling mats” when he was young.
“Well for my pops that path started at 13yrs old when his mom kicked him out of his house on Christmas day and forced him to live on the streets (very true and f****d up story) so his reality of compassion and love was forged thru pain and toughness,” he shared on Instagram.
“He raised me with that tough physical love and used to beat my a** in the gyms and on wrestling mats. I hated it then as a little boy, but grateful for it today as a man.”
Surviving the WWE legend are son Dwayne, widow Dana Martin, and the man’s two kids from his previous marriage, Wanda and Curtis.
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