Simone Alexandra Johnson, The Rock's daughter, recently made her wrestling debut, and she is officially ready to begin a career that's been coursing in her bloodline since birth.
Simone Johnson follows in her father, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's footsteps, making her introduction as WWE's "Ava Raine" on July 9, 2022. With a red and black hairstyle, she made her first promo in front of fans at the NXT Orlando ring, where she bad-mouthed her opponents.
Calling herself the "Final Girl" at the promo, the young wrestler took on an antagonistic character - a moment that had built up since Simone officially signed her WWE contract in 2020.
Simone Johnson at the the Unveiling of the Golden Globe Ambassador on November 15, 2017, in West Hollywood. | Source: Getty Images
Throughout these two years, Simone has been strenuously readying herself by conditioning and training. She has also been recovering from multiple knee surgeries.
There have been different reactions to her taking the ring, with many comments on editor Jay Reddick's post about her on Twitter. While there was negative feedback, most supported the debut, many pinning it down as a historic moment.
Dwayne Johnson and Simone Johnson at the 'Skyscraper' Premiere at on July 10, 2018, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON'S OLDEST DAUGHTER
Before she finished high school, Simone had already begun professional modeling by signing a contract with IMG. She also became the first-ever Golden Globe Ambassador for the awards show in 2018.
Simon Johnson and DwayneJohnson are seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on April 03, 2018, in Los Angeles. | Source: Getty Images
After graduating, she planned on going to New York University (NYU), with her proud father sharing a picture of him and Simone at her high school graduation. In the caption, he wrote:
"Very proud of my first daughter daughter graduating high school, kickin’ ass and is now NYU bound.I love you and one day, you’ll stop pulling away from my beastly arms & kisses 😘🦍 #DTRWG x [sic]."
However, an injury changed the trajectory of the young woman's career. After hurting her knee and being unable to go to university for a while, Simone said she had a revelation and decided she wanted to go into wrestling instead.
In 2020, she signed a deal with WWE, but not everyone liked her moniker "Ava Raine." Some thought giving her a new name didn't make sense; one critic said that it leaves her father and the many generations of wrestlers in her family out of the equation, which, in their opinion, is absurd.
Many social media users agreed with this notion. Still, Simone fought back, stating that she doesn't understand what is so negative about being portrayed as a separate individual from one's family. She also claimed that if she had associated herself with her dad, there would have still been criticism.
Simone Johnson and Dwayne Johnson at the premiere of "Rampage"on April 4, 2018, in Los Angeles. | Source: Getty Images
Either way, her father remained supportive throughout all the noise. Taking to Instagram, he proposed a beautiful balance between honoring her lineage and paving one's path, writing:
"Simone Johnson on officially signing her wrestling contract with @wwe @wwenxt and on her way to becoming the first ever 4th generation WWE athlete. Carry our family name proudly, but your road will always be yours to create, earn & own.So proud. Live your dream. Let’s work. [sic]."
There was a much more positive response in The Rock's comment section, with many congratulating Dwayne and his daughter. The post lit up with fire emojis and hearts of all colors.
Simone's father kept speaking about how happy he was for his daughter and her chosen path. Opening up on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he expressed:
"It blows my mind. What an honor that my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps, but more importantlym, it sounds cliché, but she actually wants to create and blaze her own path.”
The Rock also spoke about how much work she had been doing behind closed doors to prepare for this. Dwayne said he is very proud of her for her grit and tenacity.
Simone Johnson and Dwayne Johnson speak onstage at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills. | Source: Getty Images
SIMONE COMES FROM A LONG LINE OF FAMOUS WRESTLERS
If she makes it far, Simone will be a fourth-generation superstar. Beyond her father, she has her great grandfather Rocky Johnson and her great-grandfather Peter Maivia, sometimes known as "High Chief."
There were also "The Wild Samoans," of whom her great grandfather was considered a blood brother to their patriarch Reverend Amituana'i Anoa'i. Simon is also linked to the wrestler Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, who was connected to the Johnson family via marriage.
SimoneJohnson and actor Dwayne at the Premiere Of Disney's "Moana"on November 14, 2016 in Hollywood. | Source: Getty Images
Many of these individuals have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. While this lineage opens doors for her, it also puts her under high pressure to live up to heavy expectations.
Wrestler Paul Michael Levesque or "Triple H," said: "I don't think that there's any advice I could give her that she doesn't have already coming at her from her dad and mom. They will know the challenges she will face."
Simone said she was appreciative that she could carry on the legacy. But, the pressure on this young woman's shoulders has not ended there.
Beyond following in her family's footsteps, she is also the youngest person to sign with WWE. This company is the most respected wrestling organization in the United States and arguably the world.
She opened up about her connection to WWE, saying it meant everything because of her family's connection to wrestling. Overall, Simone keeps one piece of advice in mind that her dad gave her: to live in the moment and have fun.
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