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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a former World Wrestling Entertainment star who is now a popular Hollywood actor who has starred in films such as Tooth Fairy (2010), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Hercules (2014), Moana (2016), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017).

Despite the fact that his real name is Dwayne Johnson, he is mostly known as The Rock. So where did this name come from and why is he still called that? Find out the answer below!

The origin of The Rock

In 1996, when Dwayne Johnson made his debut in World Wrestling Entertainment (although it was known as the World Wrestling Federation at the time), he adopted the stage name Rocky Maivia. His grandfather and father were both professional wrestlers under the names Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson respectively, which was where Dwayne Johnson got this alias.

However, fans did not like Rocky Maivia. Despite winning matches and titles, the character didn’t do or say much and his bubbly, good-guy personality was thought to be grating to viewers. During his appearances, members of the audience would chant “Rocky sucks!” and “Die, Rocky, die!”

Thus, Johnson knew he had to make some changes. In 1997, he began to drop the name Rocky Maivia and started simply calling himself The Rock in a third-person manner. He also adopted a rougher personality and played up his villainous side.

From then on, Dwayne Johnson became a hit with fans and his popularity skyrocketed. The Rock went from a rookie wrestler that everyone hated to a beloved household name.

He wanted to stop calling himself The Rock at one point

Due to his fame in the WWE, Dwayne Johnson was able to branch out into acting in the late 1990s and early 2000s with roles in films such as The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Scorpion King (2002). He eventually left wrestling to pursue acting full time in 2004.

In his new career, he was actually advised to ditch his wrestling image and become a more Hollywood man.

“I was told at that time by the management that I had around me, ‘You know, you have to forget about your past. You can’t bring wrestling up. We have to slowly leave that behind. Let’s not refer to yourself as The Rock. Let’s make sure that everybody is calling you Dwayne Johnson,” he told British show This Morning in 2018.

He wanted to make it as an actor, so Dwayne Johnson tried to listen to his management and did what it took to fit into what Hollywood wanted. Most notably, he slimmed down and distanced himself from his wrestling life.

However, after a while of trying to be someone he wasn’t, Johnson decided to say goodbye to those negative people in his life and went back to being true to himself.

He said in another interview: “So there was a big moment of clarity in about 2010. I just felt, yeah, this isn’t working. I need to stop, readjust, reassess, and change everything around me. I gotta take one more shot, but at least I’m gonna take a shot with me being myself.”

He likes being called The Rock now

To Dwayne Johnson, The Rock is a name that signifies an important part of his past. As such, he did not want to drop it and forget about who he once was.

“I’m not going to be ashamed of my past,” he said. “I love my past.”

Dwayne Johnson also clarifies that he’s happy for fans to call him either ‘The Rock’ or ‘Dwayne Johnson’ – either is fine with him.