Layin' The Smack Down On Hollywood
Dwayne Johnson is the star of several Hollywood blockbusters, but he is perhaps best known to most for his time as professional wrestler, The Rock. During the late '90s and early '00s he was one of the most popular and successful wrestlers in the business.
Debuting in WWE as a clean-cut 'babyface' (wrestling slang for hero, or good guy) in 1996, Johnson became despised by fans, who found the character uninteresting and unrealistic in the wake of anti-hero characters like Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the De-Generation-X group. As a result of this backlash, Johnson was eventually turned 'heel' (wrestling slang for villain, or bad guy).
Ironically, it was during this time, when the Rock character was portrayed as arrogant and devious, and often insulted fans in interviews, that Johnson reached the height of his popularity, as fans saw a real talent and charisma in him. He went on to hold the World Heavyweight Championship nine times.
Johnson's massive popularity with wrestling fans soon saw him follow in the footsteps of Hulk Hogan and crossover into the mainstream. While still a full-time wrestler, Johnson appeared on rapper Wyclef Jean's track "It Doesn't Matter" ("It Doesn't Matter" being one of The Rock's signature catchphrases). He also made an appearance as guest host on US comedy show 'Saturday Night Live' (a role usually reserved for movie and pop stars), perfectly showcasing his acting and comedy abilities. Johnson soon landed his first role in a movie, as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns.
The job earned Johnson a place in the Guinness Book of Records, for the largest amount paid to a first-time actor ($5.5M US). He resumed the role, this time as the star, in the subsequent spin-off, entitled The Scorpion King. Johnson's wrestling appearances became fewer and fewer as he began to focus on his acting career. He starred in more action movies, including Walking Tall and Doom, but they all either bombed at the box office, or were slated by critics - or both.
In October 2007, Johnson and his wife donated $1M US to the University of Miami's athletics department, the largest amount ever donated to the university by a former student - Johnson attended the university in 1990, playing as defensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes. In 1992, he was part of the team that won the National Championship.
The Hurricanes are the most successful college football team of the last twenty-five years in America, and have won more National Championships than any other team in their division. From 2008, The Hurricanes begin playing their home games at the Dolphins Stadium located in Miami Gardens. For anyone wishing to visit this world-famous stadium and see the Hurricanes in action for themselves, there are many hotels in Miami available.
Since his last major run in WWE ended in 2003, Johnson has stated several times in interviews that he is finished with wrestling. He has made occasional non-wrestling appearances on WWE television during the last few years, but it's unlikely he will ever actually wrestle again - considering that his average movie salary is US$10M, Johnson makes more from movies than he could ever hope to make in the wrestling ring!