The wrestling world is in mourning after the death of WWE legend Rocky Johnson.
The Hall of Famer and father of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was 75.
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Johnson made his fighting debut in 1966 and competed in the National Wrestling Alliance throughout the 1970s, while earning multiple regional singles and tag team titles.
He joined the WWE in 1983 and won the World Tag Team Championship alongside Tony Atlas that same year — which made them the first African Americans to win the title in the sport.
He had several notable rivalries with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis.
Rocky Johnson’s incredible legacy
Johnson, born Wayde Douglas Bowles, officially retired in 1991 but helped train several notable fighters including his son, who competed in the WWE before his massive acting career took off.
“The Rock would become one of the biggest stars in the history of sports-entertainment and carried on his father’s legacy with pride,” the WWE said in a statement announcing Johnson’s death.
Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his son in 2008.
“The National Wrestling Alliance is saddened to hear of the passing of Rocky Johnson,” the NWA said in a statement.
“His legacy stretches across every promotion. He was a champion everywhere he went including holding the NWA Georgia Championship. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.”
The wrestling world has flooded social media with tributes.
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the great Rocky Johnson. Always a gentleman, I always enjoyed talking with him. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the fans who loved him. A very sad day for wrestling.#RIPRockyJohnson pic.twitter.com/4agKbOzAry— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) January 15, 2020
Saddened to hear about the passing of Rocky Johnson. Rocky was always extremely friendly & kind to me every time I interacted with him over the years. My condolences & thoughts go out to his family.— Matt Hardy in LIMBO (@MATTHARDYBRAND) January 15, 2020
Oh man... Rest in Power Rocky Johnson. So much more than Dwayne Johnson's dad. So much more than a pro wrestler. True trailblazer. True champion. pic.twitter.com/MQFjO0hUjL— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) January 15, 2020
Very sad to hear of the passing of a legend from our business in Rocky Johnson. My deepest condolences and prayers to Rocky’s family & fans. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9CkSz1UjUj— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) January 15, 2020
Terrible news breaking tonight. WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, father of @TheRock, has sadly passed away, aged 75.— Wrestling Travel (@WrestlingTravel) January 15, 2020
Alongside Tony Atlas, Johnson was one half of the first ever black WWF tag team champions.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest In Power, Rocky 🙏 pic.twitter.com/tnplMM5AwW
The National Wrestling Alliance is saddened to hear of the passing of Rocky Johnson.— NWA (@nwa) January 15, 2020
His legacy stretches across every promotion. He was a champion everywhere he went including holding the NWA Georgia Championship.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family. pic.twitter.com/KTqHZns6Hb
What horrible news, Rocky Johnson passed away, Dwayne's father. Our best to Dwayne, Ricky, Ata and the entire family.— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) January 15, 2020
Horrible news to pass along. We just learned that Rocky Johnson passed away today at the age of 75. His accolades in this business, all the people he influenced, all his accomplishments, and we are so deeply sorry and wish his family nothing but the most love at this time pic.twitter.com/3AvzVwylPH— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) January 15, 2020