Dwayne Johnson Wishes His Dad a ‘Happy Heavenly Birthday: ‘Thank You for the Earned Lessons’

by John Jamison
(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

The Rock doesn’t tumble far from the boulder. In this case, that boulder was Dwayne Johnson’s father, WWE legend “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared a heartfelt Instagram post in honor of what would have been his late father’s 77th birthday.

“Happy Heavenly Birthday to my old man, ‘Soulman’ Rocky Johnson,” The Rock began the caption. “There is no progress without struggle ~ and I love and appreciate you for paving the road of progress that I walk and sweat on today. Thank you for the earned lessons and I’ll see you down the road.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is best recognized for his iconic acting career these days. But he first rose to superstardom as one of the greatest heels in WWE history. It’s a career that likely never happens without the inspiration and training his father provided him.

Even Rocky Johnson, born Wade Douglas Bowles, was guided into wrestling by his own father-in-law. It truly was a family business when it came time for Dwayne Johnson to follow suit.

And The Rock had some big shoes to fill. His dad wasn’t just any old wrestler. According to WWE.com, Rocky joined the WWE in 1983 after years in the NWA. There, he teamed up with “Mr. USA” Tony Atlas. The duo quickly became the first African-Amerian World Tag Team Championship winners. The victory cemented their places in wrestling history.

A former boxer, Rocky Johnson’s name reportedly came from his two biggest idolsRocky Marciano and Jack Johnson. These days, Dwayne Johnson carries on his father’s legacy with his name.

Dwayne Johnson’s Failed NFL Career Made Him Who He is Today

A few days ago, Quentin Blount of Outsider broke down another Instagram post of Johnson’s that honored his late father.

“Man I look at life these days with deep gratitude, humility and a little grace – thankful for those dreams that didn’t come true. That’s the irony of life sometimes where the thing we want most – is sometimes it’s the best thing that never happened,” Johnson wrote in to begin the caption.

The “family business” narrative is convenient now that Dwayne Johnson has turned in a legendary wrestling career as “The Rock.” But that’s not what the movie star always wanted. He initially wanted to pursue a professional football career. And despite a promising start playing D1 ball at Miami, it didn’t work out.

These days, Johnson uses that experience to put things into perspective. Had his football career taken off, he may never have acquired the skills that allowed him to make his transition to Hollywood so easily.

It’s never easy to see during the moment. But sometimes, failing at one thing reveals the door to another. Dwayne’s father, Rocky, was there to open it for him.