Vince McMahon rarely takes to Twitter to comment on current events. But when the news broke this week that WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson passed away, the WWE CEO felt compelled to say something. Johnson wrestled from 1964-91 across numerous National Wrestling Alliance promotions, but from 1982-85 he worked for McMahon in the World Wrestling Federation. With Tony Atlas as his tag team partner, Johnson made history in 1983 when the Soul Patrol became the first black tag team to capture the WWF Tag Team Championships. After retiring from in-ring competition he helped train his son Dwayne Johnson, who went on to be one of the biggest stars in WWE history as The Rock.
Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2008. Numerous wrestlers, promotions and fans have offered their condolences on social media since the news broke.
"WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky 'Soul Man' Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles), a WWE Hall of Famer and former World Tag Team Champion, has passed away at age 75," WWE wrote in a statement following his death.
"The "Soul Man" retired from the ring in 1991, but his imprint would continue to be felt on WWE for years to come. Post-retirement, Johnson would go on to have a hand in training his son, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson," the statement continued. "The Rock would become one of the biggest stars in the history of sports-entertainment and carried on Johnson's name with pride. In 2008, Johnson achieved the highest honor in sports-entertainment when he was inducted by The Rock into the WWE Hall of Fame where he will be forever enshrined as one of sports-entertainment's most influential performers.
The statement concluded with, "WWE extends its condolences to Johnson's family, friends and fans."