Dwayne Johnson explains his grandfather’s unique relationship with André the Giant
Dwayne Johnson’s wrestling roots run deep.
The WWE-champ-turned-movie-star shared a photo on Instagram Thursday of his grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, palling around with legendary wrestler André the Giant in the 1970s.
“Here’s the ‘8th Wonder of the World’ André the Giant, using my 315lb grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia as a booster seat and making my granddad look like a little boy,” he wrote.
André the Giant, whose real name is André Roussimoff, rose to prominence in the 1970s and had a famous rivalry with Hulk Hogan. He was known for his large height due to acromegaly, or “gigantism.”
Johnson wrote his grandfather and Roussimoff were close friends, even though they faced off in the ring.
“They were the best of friends, wrestled nightly, tough as hell and as you can see by their smiles and open energy – they lived like to the absolute fullest,” he wrote.
According to WWE’s website, Maivia won several wrestling championships on the west coast in the 1970s and mentored other wrestlers Billy Graham, Wild Samoan Afa and Rocky Johnson. He died of cancer at 45 in 1982.
Maivia was often recognized for his tribal tattoos, a tradition The Rock has carried on, per the WWE’s website.
Back in 2017, Johnson revealed his grandfather partly inspired his “Moana” character.
“a lil’ @Disney gem of a secret,” he wrote. “my character Maui was partly inspired by my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia of Samoa. #grateful”
a lil’ @Disney gem of a secret, my character Maui was partly inspired by my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia of Samoa. #gratefulhttps://t.co/VQgj8hJIcS
Johnson concluded his Friday post by reflecting on his relationship with his famous grandfather.
“My grandfather died when I boy so I never got to know him as a man,” he wrote. “Would’ve loved to have raised a tequila with these men. Would’ve also loved to have wrestled them too…”
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