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ROCKY “SOULMAN” JOHNSON: A Legend & Inspiration Passes

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Rocky was born in a small town in Nova Scotia, which is a province in eastern Canada. He rose to fame in the 1980s as a muscular wrestler and called himself “the King of the drop kick”. His opponents included some well known figures in pro wrestling such as, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis. He biggest level of success arose when he paired with Tony Atlas in a tag team known as the Soul Patrol. They became the first black world tag team champions in WWE history after defeating the Wild Samoans in December of 1983.

Johnson said in a statement during an interview that he had to endure a lot of racism within his career of professional wrestling. He refused to partake in some degrading performances. He was headstrong and solely focused on being respected as an athlete.

Rocky “The Soulman” Johnson was actually born Wayde Douglas Bowles on August 24th 1944 and grew up in Amherst before moving to Toronto as a teenager. He took on boxing as a young man and even sparred with some of the greats such as George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.

He took inspiration by two boxing legends, Rocky Marciano and Jack Johnson (whom were the first black heavyweight boxing champions) and went on to adopt the name Rocky Johnson in tribute to the two.

Johnson retired from the ring in 1991 and went on to training his son Dwayne. Rocky was incredibly hard on him but he never gave up. Dwayne made his debut as a WWE wrestler in 1996 and his father even became a frequent part of his act. In 2008, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson helped to induct his father into the WWE Hall of Fame

Written by: Samantha Watts-Hopkins

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