Why Is Dwayne Johnson Called The Rock (WWE)

The Rock is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. His battles with Steve Austin are still remembered by WWE fans twenty years later, and they clamour to see The Rock back in a WWE ring.

While he is professional known under his real name, Dwayne Johnson, he is still referred to as The Rock in many different settings.

However, have you ever wondered why Dwayne Johnson is called The Rock? Keep reading to find out which WWE Hall of Famer thought up the name, and why he changed his original wrestling name in the first place.

Why Is Dwayne Johnson Called The Rock?

Dwayne Johnson was named “The Rock” by Pat Patterson, when he and the WWE were trying to come up with his wrestling name.

In pro-wrestling, very few superstars keep their real names. There are exceptions over the years, with the likes of Kurt Angle, Bret Hart and John Cena going by their birth names in the ring.

However, most do not. Most are handed new names, whether that is when they start wrestling, or they have a new one every time they switch wrestling companies.


The Rock was no different. After Dwayne Johnson retired from American Football, he followed his father and grandfather into the wrestling business.

His father was Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather was known as “High Chief” Peter Maivia. Johnson wrestled in the WWF, whilst Maivia was a wrestler and promoter in Hawaii.

When he first signed for the WWE in 1997, Dwayne Johnson was named “Rocky Maivia” to honour his lineage. He was a total good guy, but boring in the ring. Fans soon turned on him, with chants of “Die Rocky Die” making his matches very uncomfortable.

He soon turned heel (became a bad guy) and joined the Nation Of Domination, a reference to the Nation Of Islam group in the United States. With this new direction, he needed a new name and a new character.

It was former WWE Superstar and Hall of Famer Pat Patterson who suggested that Dwayne Johnson take the name “The Rock”. The name stuck, and took him to new heights that never could have dreamt of.

The Rock revealed all of this during an interview with WIRED, alongside Jungle Cruise co-star Emily Blunt. When asked “Why is Dwayne Johnson Called The Rock”, the former WWE Champion shared this with the viewers;

The birth story of the Rock is that, many moons ago,

My original wrestling name was Rocky Maivai, a combination of his dad’s name and my grandfather’s name.

When it was first pitched to me from Vince McMahon, he said “I’ve got your name. I want it to be Rocky Maivia. What do you think?”

And as we, he knows me now, and it’s how I speak. I say, I hate it. I hate it. And I hated the name.

So while I was very proud to come from who I came from, with my dad and my grandfather. And my whole family’s in wrestling. I still wanted my own space. And so I said, I hate it. And he said, “okay. Great, well that’s your name!”

So I embraced it, and I did it. And that name did not stick. And eventually, when I became a bad guy, it got truncated down to “The Rock”. And a guy who was my father figure, and I’ve talked to you many times about him, Pat Patterson.

And he said, what if we call you “The Rock”? He’s a French guy, he had a tough French accent. I said, I love it! And he goes, okay, you’re “The Rock”.

You can see the entirety of that interview down below;

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