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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

On Dwayne Johnson’s birthday, can you smell what The Rock is cooking?

Happy Birthday Dwayne Johnson: From playing professional football, to being a wrestling champ and now finally reigning over Hollywood, The Rock has come a long way.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: May 2, 2021 12:44:12 pm
happy birthday the rockA quick look at the evolution of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. (Photo: Instagram/The Rock)

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wears many hats — a retired WWE champion, a former football player, a Hollywood superstar-turned-producer, and now, a potential candidate for the next US presidential election. That is a lot of achievements in one lifetime, and all of it stands as a testimony to Johnson’s sheer determination and hard work to make it to the top of the ladder.

Today, Johnson might be one of those celebrities that regularly features on Forbes magazine’s highest paid list, but this was not the case always. Over the years, Johnson has made multiple switches in career — from playing professional football for a small period of time to becoming a wrestler and achieving fame in the WWE arena with his unmatchable charisma and fight moves, he has tried every trick of the trade. But The Rock did not ‘smell’ success until his WWE period began. It was then that ‘The Rock’ phenomenon started to develop and gained more speed with every succeeding match. WWE, which was earlier known as WWF, found its first African-American champion in The Rock in 1998. And as they say, the rest is history.

When The Rock walked into the arena, you felt like cheering for him despite his somewhat cheesy trash-talk. His walk had that inimitable confidence and swagger, and his strength as a professional matched that well. It was a deadly combination, the likes which sent fans into a frenzy. I remember watching a number of his matches with my elder sibling back in the day and excitedly cheering for him as he yelled one of his catchphrases into the mike — “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?” It didn’t make sense to me but that didn’t seem to matter much at the time. After all these years, what is more heartwarming and lovely to see is that The Rock is not shy of owning up that one-liner. A few years ago, while interacting with a fan on Twitter, Johnson had been asked what exactly was that The Rock was cooking? To which, Johnson replied lightly, “Actually, my wrestling persona, Rock’s backstory is that he’s an Executive Chef who specializes in moist Croquembouche (google it).” For those who don’t know, Croquembouche is a French dessert.

In the early noughties, after tasting the WWE brand of success, Johnson decided to try his hand at acting. Of course, since wrestling ran in his blood (his father Rocky Johnson and grandfather Peter Maivia, both were professional wrestlers in their own time), The Rock kept returning to the ring sporadically, but his focus had shifted. After featuring in The Mummy Returns in 2001, Johnson went on to act in several movies like The Scorpion King, The Rundown, Walking Tall, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Tooth Fairy, Pain and Gain, Hercules, Central Intelligence, The Fast and Furious films, Moana, The Jumanji reboot movies among others. But it was not before 2011, when he starred in Fast Five that things really gained momentum at the box office front. Since then, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has been unstoppable.

Dwayne Johnson’s films have garnered nearly $4 billion in North America alone, and over $10 billion worldwide. In the middle of all the box office success, Johnson also made a splash in the television space as he starred and produced the HBO show Ballers, beginning 2015. Ballers ran for a period of six seasons and was considered to be the most-watched comedy show during its run.

Johnson also has his own production company by the name of Seven Bucks Productions. The actor is a co-owner of a football league as well — XFL. In recent polls and surveys, a lot of Americans had reportedly said that they saw The Rock as their future president. Johnson had graciously responded to similar reports by stating on the Today show that “I do have that goal to unite our country and I also feel that if this is what the people want, then I will do that.”

From building over a billion dollar brand to achieving superstardom status in every field he has chosen, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has shown that if he puts his mind to it, he can move mountains. After all, it is not every day that you see a wrestler become the most sough-after name in world entertainment.

The Rock has been ‘cooking’ the recipe of success for several years now, it is only fair that he gets to taste it at leisure.

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