Dwayne Johnson’s father, Rocky Johnson, passed away earlier this year. It was a devastating loss, not just for the family, but for the thousands of wrestling fans he inspired around the world.
Johnson recently opened up in an emotional interview about his early days training with his father and how that inspired him to chase wrestling greatness. An extremely decorated wrestler in his own right, Rocky mentored Dwayne during those crucial early years and helped foster him in the world of wrestling. Through his mother, Dwayne was also considered an honorary member of the famed Anoa’i wrestling family, which includes WWE stars like Roman Reigns, Yokozuna, and Sika. With wrestling in his blood and a champion father to match, it’s no wonder Dwayne Johnson turned into one of the stars of the sport. You can check out the full interview above.
“I first started working out when I was 12 years old,” says Johnson. “I had my first official workout with my dad, Rocky Johnson, rest in peace old man, he passed away January 15th of this year.”
Johnson shared some incredibly sweet stories about how his father raised him. He describes his father showing him how to do his first bench press:
“My dad was a workout beast and an animal, he was built like a brick house. I would always go to the gym with my dad and watch him on the weekends, but I wasn’t allowed to work out. So I’d just watch him and all his OG buddies in the gym, hard training and clang-and-bang, those old school dudes. So 12 years old in Hawaii, my dad finally said, ‘Alright you can come to the gym with me,’ and it was a Saturday so I was really pumped to go to the gym with my dad. Before we walked in he said ‘Listen. You’re gonna work your a– off. I don’t want any bulls–t.’ He goes, ‘Whatever you put on the bar, when we do bench press, I’m going to show you how to do bench press first, whatever we put on the bar you have got to push it up. Whatever weight you choose, you’ve got to push it up, you’ve got to get it out of the hole.”
That’s right — 12-year-old Dwayne Johnson was at the gym with his dad doing 25, then 35, then 45 pound bench presses. Although he admitted he wasn’t quite able to handle the last one, Johnson had a great sense of humor reflecting on the times he spent with his father and the fun they had at the gym. It left a lasting impression him that ultimately changed the course of his entire life.
Finally, Dwayne shared some great advice he got from his father when he was just getting started working out.
“Don’t worry about other people looking at you, don’t ego train,” said the late Rocky Johnson. “Who gives a sh*t who’s watching you? You train for results and you train with weight that you can control.”
Legendary advice from a legendary wrestler. Rest in peace, Rocky Johnson, and thank you, Dwayne Johnson, for taking the time to share some of your life experiences with us.
*All images and media courtesy of YouTube.