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Hollywood megastar and frequent Muscle & Fitness cover model Dwayne Johnson recently said he “quietly retired” from wrestling in the WWE after more than two decades as one of the brand’s biggest Superstars.
“I quietly retired from wrestling because I was lucky enough to have just a really wonderful career and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish,” he said on Live with Kelly & Ryan while promoting his latest movie, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. While he seems content with retirement, he did say that he misses wrestling. It’s the industry that he grew up in, and it helped launch his wildly successful movie career.
“I miss wrestling. I love wrestling, yes I do,” he said. “For a lot of you guys that don’t know, my grandfather wrestled, my dad as well, my whole family.” Johnson’s grandfather was the High Chief Peter Maivia, a popular wrestler in the 1970s, and his father, Rocky Johnson, was part of the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team championship in the World Wrestling Federation.
Although he’s made several WWE appearances in recent years, The Rock hasn’t donned his wrestling shorts since WrestleMania 32 when he defeated Erick Rowan in six seconds (a WrestleMania record). Here’s the blink-and-you-miss-it match:
Johnson debuted in the WWE in 1996 as Rocky Maivia, in honor of his father and maternal grandfather. It didn’t take long for him to reach the top of the wrestling world—he won the Intercontinental Championship the following November, and won his first of eight WWE Championships by November 1998 .
The Rock’s feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mick Foley helped launch himself and the wrestling industry into the mainstream. He made his acting debut in The Mummy Returns in 2001, and he starred in The Scorpion King in 2002. He quickly became a Hollywood sensation and took an extended break from the squared circle to pursue his acting career full time after teaming up with Mick Foley at WrestleMania 20 in 2004. Many thought that was the end of his time in the ring.
Johnson returned to the ring in 2011 to host WrestleMania XXVII. There, he hit John Cena with a Rock Bottom to allow The Miz to retain his WWE Championship, resulting in a year-long feud between Cena and Johnson that culminated in a match at the next year’s WrestleMania. The Rock won that bout, but Cena got his revenge in 2013 when he pinned The People’s Champion in a match for the WWE Championship.
Despite his retirement, we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of The Rock in the WWE. He’s a guaranteed Hall of Famer, and his cousin Roman Reigns is one of the biggest stars today.
It seems we’ve smelled the last of what The Rock is cooking when it comes to wrestling, but we’ll be able to see him kick butt in the countless movies and TV shows he produces and stars in, inlcuding the Fast & Furious franchise, Jumanji, Ballers, and much, much more.