2024 only just started, and it seems like the WWE is wasting no time making big moves. The company announced a massive deal that sets Monday Night Raw as a Netflix exclusive for a decade, and its parent company TKO Holdings signed one of Hollywood's biggest superstars up for a major role behind the scenes. Dwayne Johnson was officially announced as a new member of TKO's board of directors, which came with an agreement that grants him full ownership of "The Rock" branding, and the superstar understandably had a lot to say.
In addition to securing his role a member of the board at TKO Holdings, which owns both the WWE and UFC, the deal officially gave Dwayne Johnson legal ownership of "The Rock" nickname that he's been associated with for decades. The official word from WWE (via Variety) reported Johnson will also provide promotional, licensing, and other services for the company as part of the agreement. In what is a big day for the superstar, The Rock shared thoughts about what this moment meant to him.
The Rock Honored His Wrestling Family In His Statement
As wrestling fans know, The Rock comes from a prestigious wrestling family. The Rock's personal history with the sport dates back all the way to his roots back in Samoa with his grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson, who worked for Vince McMahon. Dwayne Johnson took some time to mention both legends in his statement and noted what an unprecedented offer he was given:
My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come. Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build. Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock’, is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle.
It's true that WWE wrestlers are rarely granted full ownership of their ring names and gimmicks created when performing for the company, which is why so many wrestlers often have to shape new personas when joining other promotions. With that said, it's easy to imagine the rights to "The Rock" were far more valuable than most other wrestling trademarks. It's quite a big get for Dwayne Johnson, and it's well-deserved that he can take on the full profits gained from the branding he's bolstered with his celebrity status.
Does Dwayne Johnson's Statement Confirm More Involvement With The WWE?
As preparation gets underway for upcoming WWE events, including WrestleMania 40, fans are already speculating that Dwayne Johnson will take on his "cousin" Roman Reigns for the undisputed championship titles. While that's not 100% confirmed at this stage, the fact that Johnson is now on the TKO board makes it far more likely we'll see him more heavily involved in the WWE in the coming years. At least, that's what I'm gathering from his continued statement and how he intends to help the company:
At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and Ari is building something truly game-changing. I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.
With this latest announcement, it seems like the WWE has a major decision to make with WrestleMania 40. At the same time, one has to think Dwayne Johnson will still continue to work in Hollywood in addition to his role with TKO Holdings and can't just go back to wrestling full-time. While I would expect to see more of him in the WWE than what audiences have seen in past years, I wouldn't expect Johnson to abandon upcoming movies and to do so. Only time will tell what this new venture means for Johnson's on-screen involvement in the WWE.
The Royal Rumble will be available to stream with a Peacock Premium subscription on Saturday, January 27th, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. Tune in to see if Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stuns the world with a win in the big match or if someone else will rise to the occasion and challenge the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns.