We are saddened to bring you the news that wrestling legend and Hall of Famer “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson has passed away, as confirmed by WWE this afternoon. He was 75-years-old.
Johnson, father of professional wrestling icon turned Hollywood megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, began his own career in 1964 and spent 21 consecutive years working under the umbrella of the National Wrestling Alliance.
After getting his start in promotions across Canada, Johnson moved to Southern California and won titles as a top star for promotions like NWA Hollywood and Big Time Wrestling throughout the early 70s. He then moved to Florida where he spent the remainder of the decade, expanding across the U.S.
Throughout his career, Johnson won the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship three times, Mid-Atlantic’s NWA Television Championship, the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship, and the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship twice, as well as numerous tag team titles including the main NWA Tag Team Championships, often breaking down racial barriers in each region.
He also had a run with the WWF in the early 80s, culminating in winning the WWF Tag Team Championships with Tony Atlas, becoming the first black men to ever win the belts. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008 by The Rock.