Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

'She wants to blaze her own path': Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson on daughter signing with the WWE

Simone Johnson has become the youngest person to sign with the wrestling organisation

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson recently announced his daughter Simone has signed a contract with the WWE. EPA
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson recently announced his daughter Simone has signed a contract with the WWE. EPA

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s daughter is taking part in the family business.

At 18 years old, Simone Johnson has become the youngest person to sign a contract with WWE, the wrestling organisation where The Rock made his name before becoming one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.

He revealed the news during a virtual interview with Jimmy Fallon, saying: "She signed her contract with the WWE, it just blows my mind. First of all, I mean, what an honour that my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps. But, more importantly, 'follow in my footsteps' sounds cliche, but she actually wants to blaze her own path, which is just so important. She wound up being the youngest signee in the history of the company."

The Rock said that his daughter had been working towards joining the wrestling organisation since she was 16.

“Quietly, under the radar, in the ring, getting thrown around, and all the bumps and bruises that go with pro wrestling," Johnson said. "She hung in there. I'm very, very proud of her."

The Johnson family has been carving out careers in wrestling for four generations now. Both The Rock's father, Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather, Peter Maivia, were professional wrestlers and inductees of the WWE Hall of Fame. Rocky Johnson died earlier this year at the age of 75.

With Simone as the youngest signee of the WWE, we take a look at three of the youngest talents currently at the wrestling organisation.

Rhea Ripley

At 23, Rhea Ripley – whose real name is Demi Bennett – is the youngest current superstar at WWE. She signed with the company in 2017, when she was 21 years old and performs on the NXT brand.

The Australian wrestler is the youngest person to win both the NXT UK Women’s Champion and the NXT Women’s Champion titles. Her athletic skills are not limited to wrestling, as she regularly practices and trains in swimming, karate, rugby, netball and football.

Toni Storm

Next up is the 24-year-old Toni Storm – real name Toni Rossall. Like Ripley, she is a former NXT UK Women’s Champion and currently competes in NXT UK. Storm began her wrestling training in Australia when she was 5, deciding that she wanted to become a professional wrestler at 18.

The New Zealander then moved to the UK to develop her career, before touring in Finland, France, Germany, and Spain. She was signed to the WWE after taking part in the organisation’s try-out camp in Melbourne in 2014 as a 19-year-old.

Velveteen Dream

At 24, Velveteen Dream – real name Patrick Clark Jr – is one of the youngest male wrestlers in the WWE. He competed in the sixth season of the WWE reality show Tough Enough in 2015, where he placed ninth overall, but has since gone on to become a major talent in the company.

The US wrestler’s persona is reportedly inspired by the musician Prince, and was described by the WWE as “a mysterious yet intoxicating presence [...] sporting a frilled, jewelled look that would have fit right in onstage during Prince's Purple Rain Tour".

The Velveteen Dream, who performs on NXT, won the NXT North American Championship in 2019, and the NXT Year-End Award for Rivalry of the Year in 2017, for his rivalry with Aleister Black.

Updated: May 18, 2020 02:49 PM



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