*Simone Johnson, daughter of wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson finally revealed her professional wrestling name, but to her disappointment, many of her father’s fans were not impressed. Many fans openly criticized Johnson’s name choice, saying it was not a nod to her father.
Some critics were not satisfied with just registering their dissatisfaction; they went ahead to offer what they considered better alternatives. But Johnson shot back, maintaining her wrestling name was her choice.
The WWE announced on its website in 2020 that Johnson had begun to train to become a WWE star at its performance center in Orlando, Florida.
“Simone Johnson’s unbridled passion and incredible drive have earned her a coveted spot training with the elite athletes from around the world at the WWE Performance Center,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque, an executive VP for WWE, said in the statement. “Not only does Simone now have an opportunity to cultivate and display her passion for WWE within the Performance Center, but she’ll carry on the tradition of her incredible family lineage while creating her own impact as WWE’s first fourth-generation Superstar.”
Not portraying Arianna Grace as Santino Marella’s daughter is one thing.
Giving Simeone Johnson, the daughter of THE ROCK, a new name is completely nonsensical.
Will hold judgement until she debuts, but if WWE doesn’t acknowledge her dad is The Rock that’s ridiculous. https://t.co/OgOU1Lw8Zy
— Louis Dangoor (@TheLouisDangoor) May 29, 2022
At that time, Johnson released her own statement saying that the training opportunity meant “the world” to her.
“To know that my family has such a personal connection to wrestling is really special to me and I feel grateful to have the opportunity, not only to wrestle, but to carry on that legacy,” she said. She additionally posted a picture of her adorning an official WWE shirt captioned: “To the little girl who fell in love with wrestling & said “this will be my life one day,” this is for you. I’m humbled, grateful & ready to work. Let’s do this.”
But her WWE debut had to be delayed because she had a knee injury.
Two years after the training, the 20-year-old Johnson took to Twitter to announce that she had chosen “Ava Raine” as her in-the-ring name. While some wrestling fans supported her, many said they were disappointed that she took a name that is unrelated to “The Rock,” her father’s wrestling name.
“Giving Simone Johnson, the daughter of THE ROCK, a new name is completely nonsensical,” one critic tweeted. “Will hold (judgment) until she debuts, but if WWE doesn’t acknowledge her dad is The Rock that’s ridiculous.”
Names such as “The Pebble” or “Little Rock” were suggested as better alternatives. Johnson soon responded by posting a Google search of several types of rocks.
“Nothing in this category please xx,” read the caption. However, this didn’t help matters because the criticism only doubled. She decided to get more serious.
“I probably sound like a broken record & hopefully this is the last I’ll mention this but I don’t understand why people being portrayed as separate individuals from their family name is such a heated topic,” she tweeted. “A name doesn’t discredit any prior accomplishments from any family.” In a subsequent tweet, she added, “I could build my entire career around my father & people would still bash me anyway.”
Johnson will become a fourth-generation wrestler in WWE history when she debuts. Her father, “The Rock,” was a legendary 10-time world champion before he switched to the film industry. Her grandfather, Rocky Johnson, and great-grandfather Peter “High Chief” Maivia were also legendary wrestlers in the WWE Hall of Fame.