Soulman Rocky Johnson
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"Soulman" Rocky Johnson
Real name: Wayde Bowles
The "Soulman." Very successful all across North America. Had an excellent physique, and was strong, quick, and agile. Born in Nova Scotia and grew up in Toronto.
Began wrestling while a teenager living in Toronto and working as a truck driver. Made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut on the first show of 1966 and was a regular performer in Toronto until February 1967. Went out to the west coat and won his first title in April 1967, teaming with Don Leo Jonathan to defeat Chris & John Tolos for the Canadian tag team championship in Vancouver. Returned to Toronto in late 1968 for a few months, and came back again in late 1969.
Has one of the most impressive list of titles for someone who was never world champion. Held major regional belts in just about every area he travelled to, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Memphis, and Portland. Held the San Francisco version of the NWA world tag title three times with Pat Patterson.
Wrestled under a mask as Sweet Ebony Diamond in the Mid-Atlantic region in 1980-82, and made several appearances at Maple Leaf Gardens -- his first in over a decade. May be best remembered for his run as WWF tag champion with Tony Atlas, defeating the Samoans for the belts in 1983.
Married the daughter of wrestler Peter Maivia and promoter Lia Maivia. His son Dwayne is best known as WWF/WWE superstar The Rock.
"Johnson is an exciting performer who is skillful, agile, and dynamic. There is little doubt that this newcomer is a future star. The 24-year-old has met most of the top-notchers, including NWA champion Gene Kiniski."
(From WRESTLING, July 1969)
- Canadian tag champion (Vancouver), with Don Leo Jonathan, 1967
- North American champion (Nova Scotia), 1969
- NWA World tag champion (Detroit), with Ben Justice, 1969
- Los Angeles Battle Royal champion, 1970
- 2-time Beat the Champ TV champion (L.A.), 1970
- NWA Americas champion (L.A.), 1970
- NWA Americas tag champion (L.A.), with Earl Maynard, 1970
- NWA World tag champion (San Francisco), with Pepper Gomez, 1971
- NWA U.S. champion (San Francisco), 1971
- 3-time NWA World tag champion (San Francisco), with Pat Patterson, 1972-74
- NWA Georgia tag champion, with Jerry Brisco, 1975
- 2-time NWA Florida champion, 1975, 78
- Florida TV champion, 1975
- Florida Brass Knucks champion, 1976
- 2-time Texas champion (Dallas), 1976
- Texas tag champion, with Jose Lothario, 1976
- Memphis Southern champion, 1976-77
- NWA Florida tag champion, with Pedro Morales, 1977
- Brass Knucks champion (Dallas), 1978
- Mid-America champion (Tennessee), 1980
- Memphis Southern tag champion, with Jimmy Valiant, 1980
- 2-time NWA Mid-Atlantic TV champion, as Sweet Ebony Diamond, 1981
- NWA Pacific Northwest tag champion, with King Parsons, 1981
- NWA Pacific Northwest tag champion, with Brett Sawyer, 1982
- NWA Pacific Northwest champion, 1982
- WWF tag champion, with Tony Atlas, 1983-84
- 2-time Pacific tag champion (Hawaii), with Ricky Johnson, 1984-86
- Memphis Southern tag champion, with Soul Train Jones, 1987
- Memphis CWA International tag champion, with Bill Dundee, 1987