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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Continues to Solidify Investment Foundation

Johnson is joining the TKO Group’s Board of Directors and was also given complete ownership of the “The Rock” trademark.

Dwayne Johnson has played many important and popular roles over his professional career, but perhaps none are more validating than the one he took on this week.

A legendary, groundbreaking WWE career as “The Rock” in the 1990s and early 2000s, “Attitude Era,” made Johnson a household name around the world and led to a massively lucrative career in film, television, and business. On Tuesday, Johnson was not only named to the board of directors at WWE’s parent company, TKO Group, he was given the copyright ownership of “The Rock” name.

“I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

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The 51-year-old Johnson came from a long line of pro wrestlers, with his grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and father, Rocky “Soulman” Johnson, also competing in the squared circle. He was a backup defensive lineman on the 1991 national champion University of Miami football team but ended up with a pro wrestling contract in 1996 after he was cut by the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. Wrestling led to a movie career whose films have grossed over $10 billion worldwide.

Johnson was able to parlay his on-screen fame, which included an NBC series, Young Rock, based on his life, into a successful career as an investor. Numerous movies The Rock has starred in were made with Seven Bucks Productions, a production studio Johnson founded with his ex-wife Dany Garcia in 2012, including a live-action Moana that will debut in 2025.

In addition to his Teremana Tequila, ZOA Energy, and Project Rock businesses, Johnson and Garcia also acquired and re-launched the XFL, which merged with USFL in September to create an eight-team spring league — the United Football League — that will debut at the end of March.

Last April, Endeavor bought 51% of WWE and merged it with UFC to form TKO in a deal valued at more than $21 billion. It became official five months later. The news comes on the same day as WWE signing a landmark 10-year deal to stream Monday Night Raw on Netflix worth a reported $5 billion.

And “The Rock” gets a seat at the TKO table amid rumors he’ll face Roman Reigns, whose nickname is the “Head of the Table,” for the WWE Universal Championship at Wrestlemania in April.

The additions of Johnson and Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell expand TKO’s board membership from 11 to 13.

“I am thrilled to partner with Dwayne and welcome his immense talent to TKO’s Board,” Ari Emanuel, TKO’s CEO, said. “Dwayne brings an incredible track record of creating content and building globally recognized consumer brands, and he will play a key role in realizing our ambitions for TKO.”

TKO Group Holdings stock is up more than 18% in early Tuesday trading.

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.