“Blood, Sweat, and Respect. First two you give. Last one you earn.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Requested by @jlaraz_ on Instagram.
Today’s #WorthyWednesday needs no introduction. As one of the world’s most famous stars in not only one but two industries, film and wrestling, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson takes the cake for hard work, dedication, and an instinct for showmanship and camaraderie.
Dwayne Johnson was born in 1972 in California. Wrestling was in his blood. His father Wayde “Rocky” Johnson was a professional wrestler and his maternal grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia was the first Samoan to break into the big time. He grew up tagging along at the gym with his father and began lifting weights when he was thirteen years old.
Despite being close-knit, his family struggled financially and moved often in order to accommodate Rocky’s wrestling career. They ended up living in 38 out of the 50 states.
All of this instability seems to have taken a toll, and despite the self-discipline that Dwayne had cultivated in the gym, he began to act out, culminating in his getting arrested for check fraud at age fifteen.
The next day at school he ended up getting into a fight with another student, and he was suspended for two weeks. Following that, he ended up in a confrontation with a teacher over using the faculty restroom. Once the heat of the moment was over, he felt guilty and apologized. Rather than be angry, the teacher shook his hand and invited him to join the football team.
Football became a way for Dwayne to channel his frustration and aggression. Over time he improved to the point that he was offered a football scholarship to the University of Miami, which at the time was home the highest ranked college team in the country. However, he was seriously injured before he could even play on the field and fell into a state of depression. Dwayne began to miss classes and even left campus to go back home to his family in Tampa.
Rather than let him go, the head coach at UM called him and gave him an ultimatum: to stay on the team and keep his scholarship, he had to go to every single class, practice, and game until he had recovered. He worked hard, got pre-season All-American his junior year, and graduated from the university in 1995.
Following an unsuccessful stint as practice squad player for the Stampeders in Canada and hitting rock bottom, Dwayne underwent a career change that altered the course of his life from then on.
He returned home to Tampa and began training with his father. Rocky not only showed him the ropes with wrestling moves, he taught him how to be a showman and allowed nothing less than 110% effort from his son. His first stage name was “Rocky Maivia”, playing on his storied wrestling heritage, yet fans disliked his character’s perceived tackiness and arrogance, so he continued tweaking his persona until he became “the people’s champ”. Now known as “The Rock”, he went on to dominate the WWE for years, until he was indefinitely suspended during an airing of a WWE show in 2001. This brought about another career expansion as he began dabbling in acting, until he became a household name and one of the most widely recognized figures in American pop culture.
Nearly twenty years later, the Rock continues grinding on. Every day, he wakes up at four in the morning to hit the gym. He says that the way he stays on top in anything he does is to make sure that he is the hardest working person in the room, and despite his fame and fortune, he refuses to lay on his laurels.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a testament to dedication and strength of will. Regardless of his trials and tribulations, he has faced every day with a hunger to seize everything he can out of life. It definitely shows.