Johnson was born Wayde Douglas Bowles in Amherst, Nova Scotia, 1944 – 2020 descended from Black Loyalists who immigrated to Nova Scotia after escaping from a plantation in the United States. At 16 moved to Toronto, initially he trained to be a boxer and later began wrestling he supported this by driver truck. Began professional wrestler in 1964 in Southern Ontario and changed his name to his stage name to Rocky Johnson as a tribute to Rocky Marciano, black heavyweight boxing champion. 1970 was the contender in the National Wrestling Alliance and was called “Sweet Ebony Diamond” wining title matches against then-World Champions Terry Funk and Harley Race and also winning several regional tag team championships in the NWA.
1991 trained his son Dwayne to wrestle later dubbed “Rocky Maivia” after Rocky Johnson’s and Peter Maivia his grandfather and also in 2003 Johnson continued trainer for the WWE developmental territory.