Fans of action movies and professional wrestling alike know The Rock. With biceps that could star alongside the greats like Arnold Schwarzenegger (True Facts About Arnold are right here) and Sylvester Stallone, Dwayne Johnson gained fame as The People's Champion in the WWE, and then made his starring film debut as the Scorpion King in the second movie of The Mummy franchise. Since then he's appeared in countless films, and even returned for special wrestling events. However, what most fans might not know is:
He's Descended From A Long Line of Action Stars
Most people in the modern movie-going audience have never heard of Peter Maivia or Rocky Johnson. These two men were The Rock's grandfather and father respectively, and both of them were wrestlers of very high caliber. In fact Dwayne tried to downplay his legacy when he first became a professional wrestler by suggesting the name "Flex Kavana" for his persona. Those in charge came up with the name "Rocky Maivia", which more or less negated Dwayne's efforts.
Some families hand down red hair, asthma, or big noses. In the case of Dwayne's family, badass appears to be an inherited trait. His grandfather received full leg tattoos in the traditional island fashion (with a sharp stick, ink, and two guys to hold him down) marking him as a high chief. A promoter of independent wrestling in Hawaii, Peter Maivia was also a villain in the James Bond film Dr. No. While that was the same way Dolph Lundgren began his career (True Facts About Dolph Lundgren may be found here), Maivia never became a huge action star after his role in the film.
His Tattoos Are Packed With Meaning
The Rock, for those who didn't know, has two tattoos. On his right shoulder is a longhorn bull that goes all the way back to his days as a wrestler. The Brahma Bull was a part of his persona, but Johnson is also a Taurus, hence the choice of symbol. The other tattoo, the one that covers his entire left shoulder in a half sleeve, is a little more complex.
Johnson comes from Samoan heritage, and tattoos are a big part of that culture. They go back centuries, and the symbolism in the tattoos is worked into a number of tribal designs. Coming from such distinguished heritage The Rock's tattoo is filled with a great deal of meaning, including his family history, his inherited position, the members of his family, his spiritual path and a dozen other things all rolled up into one. It isn't actually uncommon to see Samoan superstars with complex tattoos like this either. Jason Momoa (who's also been covered in these True Facts lists), famous for playing barbaric brutes like Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones and Conan in the remake of Conan the Barbarian, has a similar tattoo on his left forearm that tells a short story about his own heritage.
He Was Almost A Professional Football Player
Even though he came from a gene pool sodden with wrestlers, and he grew up watching his father perform in the ring, The Rock didn't exactly plan to become a professional wrestler himself. In fact with his size and strength he played football for the University of Miami in Florida. It all seemed to be going pretty swimmingly, until a back injury kneecapped Johnson's shot at the NFL. Though he recovered he had few prospects of getting into the big leagues once he was healed. So he decided to try his hand in the ring.
He's a Man of Many Talents
When Dwayne asked to no longer be referred to as "The Rock" many people laughed behind their hands. After all if he wasn't a wrestler then what was he? Since that point Dwayne has gone on to display a wide variety of talents aside from his athleticism. He can sing (perhaps not professionally, but he can still do it), he's focused on acting and directing, and he's even gone on Martha Stewart to do a bit of cooking just to prove a point. All of that said though, people are most interested when Dwayne is driving his elbow into someone's face to the roars of the crowd than when he's baking cakes (tasty though they might be).