Why WWE boss Vince McMahon refused to let The Rock change his name after entering pro wrestling

THE ROCK has become one of the most famous people in the world and a global icon.

But the wrestling legend turned movie star almost ended up going through his career with a different name.


The 50-year-old broke into the World Wrestling Federation in 1996.

Back then he was called Rocky Maivia – a combination of his father and grandfather's names.

The Rock, real name Dwayne Johnson, was hesitant to wrestle under that name in a bid to forge his own identity.

Speaking on WIRED's YouTube channel last year, he explained: "I hated it because the lineage I had gave me the opportunity to at least knock on the door but I wanted my own identity, my own space.

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“So I was very proud to come from who I came from, with my dad and my grandfather, my whole family’s wrestling.

"I still wanted my own space, so I said 'I hate it'.

"He (Vince McMahon) said, ‘Okay, great, well that’s your name,’ and I went, ‘Okay.’

"So I embraced it and I did it, and that name did not stick.”

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The Rock went on to become one of the most successful wrestlers in history.

He's now a Hollywood superstar with over 300 million followers on Instagram and has a net worth of an estimated $800million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

And he revealed the name in the end came from a suggestion from WWE hall of fame Pat Patterson.

Johnson explained: "“Eventually, when I became a bad guy, it got truncated down to The Rock.

"A guy who was my father figure, Pat Patterson, was a mentor of mine in pro wrestling, and I lost him last year when I lost my dad at the same time.

"I lost my father and my father figure in the same year.

"He said: 'Why don’t we call you The Rock?’ And I said, ‘I love it.’

"He goes, ‘Okay, you’re The Rock.’ That was it.”

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