On Friday (Jan. 17), The Rock gave his first public comment following his father’s death.
“I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar,” he wrote on Instagram. “The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood.Son to father. Man to man.”
“That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude,” the post continued. “Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons. Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass. Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish.”
Johnson began his wrestling career with the National Alliance Wrestling in the mid-1960’s. He joined World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the ‘80s, linking up with Tony Atlas—or as the two were collectively known, “The Soul Patrol,” which made history as the first Black duo to become World Tag Team Champions. Johnson was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman,” The Rock concluded his post. “Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high.”
See his entire post below.