WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson passed away January 15, 2020 at 75 years of age.
One of the premiere talents since he began in the mid 60s in the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance), his charisma and athleticism was among the best, if not the best of his era.
His greatest success came when he joined the WWE (WWF at the time) in 1983. There, he was teamed with Tony Atlas to form the Soul Patrol. There were few more physically imposing tag teams during that time, and the pair made history by becoming the WWE’s first African-American Tag Team Champions by beating the Wild Samoans December 10, 1983.
Johnson also had an impressive run as a singles competitor, facing many of the future greats like Don Muraco, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and Adrian Adonis. One of his best matches was against Roddy Piper during Piper’s run as the best heel in wrestling during the 80s:
His legacy continues
After retiring in 1991, Johnson trained his son, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock). His son would continue the family legacy by parlaying his incredible charisma with a nearly unrivaled athletic ability to become one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
A fun fact: During Dwayne Johnson’s early foray into acting, he played his father on an episode of “That 70’s Show.” It was a cool homage to his father as the part called for Dwayne to be one of the greats from that period. It fit so perfectly together, it’s something that’s been credited as one of Dwayne’s favorite roles.
In 2008, Rocky Johnson took his place among some of the most influential professional wrestlers in history when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
It was the final leg of his long journey in professional wrestling, but is there a better way for it to end?
When news of his death was reported, the WWE released a statement:
“WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles), a WWE Hall of Famer, former World Tag Team Champion, and father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has passed away at age 75.”
They also included a look back at his storied career,
WWE looks back on the Hall of Fame career of the late, great Rocky Johnson. https://t.co/Gp9U2YG93c
— WWE (@WWE) January 15, 2020
Others have shown an outpouring of support for Rocky Johnson and his family including Booker T, Matt Hardy, Mick Foley, and many others.
RIP Rocky Johnson, and thank you for the memories.