Rocky Johnson, wrestling hall of famer, Dwayne Johnson's father, dies at 75

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(KTXL) — Rocky “Soulman” Johnson, WWE Hall of Famer and father of actor Dwayne Johnson, has died at the age of 75, the WWE confirmed Wednesday.

Johnson, born Wayde Douglas Bowles, started his career in the 1960s in the National Wrestling Alliance. He also appeared on Big Time Wrestling, a promotion that taped shows across California, including at KTXL in Sacramento.

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Johnson was quickly becoming a star. The then 15-year-old Viktor Berry was hired to photograph Johnson and other wrestlers as they toured California for the NWA.

Berry said Johnson had an undeniable charm and fans gravitated toward him, just like they would his son decades later.

“I think it was mainly his personality, you know. He did an interview every week with Hank Renner after the match and people really liked him,” Berry told FOX40. “He came across as a really good guy and he tortured the bad guys a lot. I think that’s why they liked him.”

His career with the WWE began in 1983, where he was one half of the World Champion Tag Team duo known as The Soul Patrol alongside Tony Atlas. The Soul Patrol were the first African American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history.

Johnson retired in 1991 and would go on to train his son, who became a pro wrestling icon known as “The Rock” before making the transition to acting.

The Soulman was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.

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