Rocky Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles; August 24, 1944 – January 15, 2020) was a Canadian professional wrestler. At one point in his career, he held the Georgia Heavyweight Championship and the NWA Television Championship twice during different stints throughout his wrestling career. He and Tony Atlas won the tag team championship in 1983 to be the first black champions in WWE history. Rocky was the father of actor and former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Johnson was born Wayde Douglas Bowles in Amherst, Nova Scotia, where he was raised with his four older brothers. As the fourth of five sons of Lillian (Gay) and James Henry Bowles, he was from Black Loyalists who immigrated to Nova Scotia after escaping from a plantation in the United States during the American Revolutionary War. He also had part-Irish ancestry. When Johnson was 16, he moved to Toronto, where he began wrestling and worked as a truck driver. Initially, he trained to be a boxer and eventually sparred with greats such as Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. But the love of wrestling took over and it swayed him over all the other sports.