Kids get a kick out of imitating their parents. Whether it’s relentlessly parroting everything they hear or dressing up in their dad’s uniform 5 minutes before he’s supposed to leave for work, kids are tiny mirrors (for better or for worse). Recently, our favorite wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson shared an adorable throwback photo of himself at 11 years old, dressed up in his late dad’s wrestling gear.
It’s not uncommon for kids to dream of doing what their parents do, given that it’s what they’ve grown up seeing every single day. What is uncommon is for the child of a pro wrestler to actually freaking become a pro wrestler. It’s not the type of gig you can get through nepotism – if you become a pro wrestler through the connections you have rather than your skill, you will straight up die in the ring. Fortunately, The Rock grew from a tiny pebble to the absolute tank of a human being we know and love.
Rocky Johnson, the “Original Rock,” passed away this year at age 75. Rocky was a legend and a trailblazer in the world of pro wrestling, becoming the first black Georgia Heavyweight Champion. In 1983, he won the World Tag Team Championship making Rocky Johnson and his partner Tony Atlas the WWE’s first ever black champions. Those were no small shoes to fill, but Dwayne Johnson got it done.
The Rock honored his late dad in the throwback photo he shared on Instagram, reminiscing about the days he used to dream of following in his incredible dad’s footsteps.
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A lil’ throwback action to 1983, when I was 11 years old – I used to LOVE putting on my dad’s wrestling trunks, boots, jacket and championship belts – dreaming of one day becoming a pro wrestling champion 💪🏾 Only thing I forgot to wear was my training bra!! 🤦🏽♂️ C’mon afro tits, you’re gonna be late for school! 🤣 #thankgodforpuberty #afrotits #stillaBMF 😈
The caption read, “A lil’ throwback action to 1983, when I was 11 years old – I used to LOVE putting on my dad’s wrestling trunks, boots, jacket and championship belts – dreaming of one day becoming a pro wrestling champion.”
Joking about his not-yet-ripped bod he added, “Only thing I forgot to wear was my training bra!! C’mon afro tits, you’re gonna be late for school!”
It’s no secret that Dwayne Johnson is a family man, so losing his dad earlier this year was an especially big blow. Johnson posted a beautiful tribute to his own personal hero, and continues to keep his memory alive.
“I love you,” Johnson captioned the video. “You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar.”
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I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deeply complicated sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons. Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass. Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish. Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high. #ripsoulman #rockyjohnson 🐐
The full caption is well worth a read, but ultimately, The Rock’s Instagram posts paint a picture of a boy who loved his dad. He admired him, looked up to him, and love him with all his heart. Looking back at the photo of The Rock as a small boy, we see a kid who wanted to be just like his dad – as so many do. And even though Rocky Johnson is no longer here, Dwayne is carrying on his legacy. And undoubtedly, Rocky Johnson was one proud dad.