The Rock Says It’s All About The U

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CFB Huddle sends happy birthday wishes to Hollywood star, seven-time WWE Champion and Miami Hurricane Dwayne Johnson — also known as The Rock.

Last month ahead of Wrestlemania XXXII, I wrote about the long history of college football standouts transitioning into professional wrestling, which began with Bronko Nagurski. Of the many college gridiron players to make the jump, none did so quite as successfully as The Rock.

Plenty have followed, including Johnson’s own cousin and current WWE champion, Roman Reigns. ACC football fans better know Reigns as Joe Anoa’i, the 2006 All-Conference defensive tackle for Georgia Tech.

But even as move from the field to the ring, none are as closely associated with their football careers as The Rock.

He’s something of a legend in Miami, having played for the last national championship team on the run that turned the Hurricanes into “The U.”

In 1993, he took Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward to Rock Bottom.

This begs the question: Is the Miami-Florida State rivalry as heated as The Rock’s feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin?

So synonymous is Johnson with his college football tenure, in 2012, he wrestled his first match for WWE in eight years at Wrestlemania XXVIII. That year marked the 20-year anniversary of the national championship run of which Johnson was a part, sealed with an Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska.

Johnson made his WWE return at Sun Life Stadium, the current home of the Orange Bowl. One of the first things visible in the crowd as The Rock made his entrance? A Miami Hurricanes No. 94 jersey (pictured above).

Likewise, The Rock’s No. 94 graces the walls of Miami’s locker room, which was upgraded in 2013 thanks in part to a donation by The Great One himself.

No wonder, then, that Canes football gladly wishes Johnson a happy birthday.

It’s certainly a much more subtle celebration than Mick Foley’s for Johnson.