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6:22 PM / Tuesday April 23, 2024

26 Jan 2024

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson gets rights to one of the most famous nicknames in entertainment, his own

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January 26, 2024 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

By Michelle Chapman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ACTOR AND FORMER WWE SUPERSTAR DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON participates in a Wrestlemania XXVII press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 in New York. It is a name that has become almost synonymous with professional wrestling but its bearer, Dwayne Johnson, has never legally owned “The Rock.” That will change under a new agreement with the WWE under which Johnson will also join the board of TKO Group, the sports and entertainment company that houses WWE and UFC. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)


It is a name that has become almost synonymous with professional wrestling but its bearer, Dwayne Johnson, has never legally owned “The Rock.”

That will change under a new agreement with the WWE under which Johnson will also join the board of TKO Group, the sports and entertainment company that houses WWE and UFC.

“The Rock” is a name is derived from Johnson’s father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE history (alongside partner Tony Atlas), according the WWE.

Johnson, in an interview on CNBC, would not discuss the financial value of the deal with WWE, but said that the name “The Rock” means a lot to him personally.

“I owe that name everything,” Johnson said. “Without that name there’d be no wrestling career. There’d be no Hollywood career.”

Johnson, a movie and wrestling star, has a business portfolio that includes his production company Seven Bucks Productions, tequila brand Teremana Tequila, energy drink company ZOA Energy, Project Rock apparel brand and the United Football League. Johnson said on CNBC that this will be his first time serving on the board of a publicly traded company.

“I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”

TKO Group Holdings Inc. says Johnson’s board appointment, effective Tuesday, reflects its “commitment to delivering long-term value and strong performance for shareholders through strategic growth initiatives across both UFC and WWE.”

Wrestler John Cena, top, chokes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at a Wrestlemania event on April 7, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. It is a name that has become almost synonymous with professional wrestling but its bearer, Dwayne Johnson, has never legally owned “The Rock.” (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Johnson began his wrestling career with WWE in 1996. The third-generation wrestler became famous for rivalries with wrestlers including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Triple H and his finishing maneuver, The Rock Bottom, according to his biography on WWE’s website. He has won eight WWE championships, has a New York Times bestselling autobiography, “The Rock Says,” and starred in movies including “Fast X,” “Black Adam,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”

Johnson has recently appeared on World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s “Smackdown” and “Raw” television programs, with rumors swirling that he may compete at this year’s WrestleMania.

“I am thrilled to partner with Dwayne and welcome his immense talent to TKO’s Board,” TKO CEO Ariel Emanuel said in a prepared statement. “Dwayne brings an incredible track record of creating content and building globally recognized consumer brands, and he will play a key role in realizing our ambitions for TKO.”

TKO also announced Tuesday that Brad Keywell will become a board member. Keywell has co-founded and led multiple companies, including Groupon, Echo Global Logistics, MediaOcean, and Uptake Technologies, where he is currently founder and executive chairman.
The additions of Johnson and Keywell will increase TKO’s board from 11 to 13 members.

Shares of TKO Group surged more than 19% in morning trading after TKO announced WWE’s weekly television show “Raw” will move to Netflix next year as part of a major streaming deal worth more than $5 billion.

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