Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s 18-year-old daughter, Simone, is following in her father’s footsteps by becoming a professional wrestler.
On Feb. 10, 2020, WWE formally announced that Johnson’s teen daughter is to become the first fourth-generation wrestler in WWE history. “It means the world to me,” said Simone.
“To know that my family has such a personal connection to wrestling is really special to me,” she continued, in a statement released by WWE, “and I feel grateful to have the opportunity, not only to wrestle, but to carry on that legacy.”
Simone’s father, former pro-wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson, is a 10-time champion in the industry. The teen’s grandfather, Rocky Johnson, and his father, “High Chief” Peter Maivia, were the stuff of legend; both wrestlers were inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame.
Simone’s decision to sign with WWE may be all the more poignant for its timing. The teen’s grandfather passed away from a heart attack in January 2020 at the age of 75. Her great-grandfather died after battling cancer in 1982; he was just 45 years old.
Johnson promptly took to Instagram after his daughter’s announcement to celebrate her direction. “Dreams ain’t just for dreamers,” he wrote, as quoted by USA Today. “Congrats to my #1 born, Simone Johnson, on officially signing her wrestling contract with @wwe.”
“Carry our family name proudly,” Johnson continued, “but your road will always be yours to create, earn & own. So proud. Live your dream. Let’s work.”
Johnson shares Simone with his ex-wife Dany Garcia, with whom he was married to from 1997 to 2008. Garcia took to Twitter after Simone’s announcement, sharing a sweet message to her daughter. “[I]t’s been the blessing of my life to watch you grow,” she wrote, as quoted by Global News.
“While the legacy of the family may be your platform,” Garcia continued, “your future will be uniquely yours to earn. Congrats my love on living your dream.”
As per CNN, Simone has already begun training at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, under the training of head coach Matt Bloom and assistant head coach Sarah Amato. WWE Executive Vice President Paul “Triple H” Levesque praised Simone’s dedication to her chosen profession.
“Simone Johnson’s unbridled passion and incredible drive has earned her a coveted spot training with the elite athletes from around the world,” said Levesque in a statement released by WWE. “[S]he’ll carry on the tradition of her incredible family lineage while creating her own impact as WWE’s first fourth-generation Superstar.”
“Simone is a wonderful girl,” added Amato. “She’s like a sponge, it’s pretty amazing. She knows what it takes to succeed.”
Not without her own misgivings about embarking on a wrestling career, Simone shared her thoughts on a Swerve City podcast in summer of 2019. “Never meeting expectations that I have on myself, I think that would probably be the biggest [fear],” she explained. “And just, like, not living up to the legacy.”
“But then, when I think about that,” the teen continued, “I also feel like that’s, in a way, comparing myself. So I feel like probably just never falling into that trap of comparing myself.”
In joining WWE, Simone also becomes the latest addition to the famous Anoa’i family of professional wrestlers. As per Yahoo Sports, the Anoa’i, originating from American Samoa, includes wrestling stars Roman Reigns, the Usos, and Nia Jax.
Simone’s proud father has long stated that he wholeheartedly supports his daughter, whatever her chosen profession may be. “I love the idea [of wrestling],” Johnson said, speaking to Good Morning America in 2018.
“We had this big conversation,” the actor continued, “she came with me to Hong Kong [and] Beijing. I said, ‘Honey, whatever your passion is, I support that.’ And wrestling was good to me.”
“I started my career in Madison Square Garden,” Johnson reflected. “So yeah, bring it on; she’s going to be a champ.”