The Rock & 'High Chief' Peter Maivia. Photos courtesy of Everett Collection/Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
You probably know that actor Dwayne Johnson is also professional wrestler The Rock, the reigning WWE champ. You may even know that The Rock comes from a long line of professional wrestlers. But did you know that Johnson's grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was not only a championship wrestler, but also a Bond Villain?
Most folks remember "You Only Live Twice" (1967) as the Bond film with the ninjas, or maybe the one where Blofeld (Dr. Evil's inspiration) first shows his scarred face, or even the one where Sean Connery throws political correctness to the wind while posing as a Japanese fisherman. But The Rock remembers "You Only Live Twice" first and foremost because his grandfather goes toe-to-toe with Bond.
Here's the setup: Bond kills a bad guy and then disguises himself as that bad guy, fakes being wounded, and stumbles into an awaiting getaway car being driven by Maivia. In an effort to help the injured man, Maivia carries him to a couch, only to be surprised by Bond. Couch fencing, katana wielding, and statue destruction ensue. Maivia also served as an uncredited stunt fight coordinator for the scene, which is partially shown in the video below where we ask The Rock if he'd like to follow his grandfather's Bond villain lead.
While Maivia's Bond stint is certainly historic, the "High Chief" is most often remembered as a prominent member of one of the greatest families in all of professional wrestling: the Anoa'i/Maivia family of Samoans. As an actual Samoan High Chief, Maivia sported a traditional tattoo that went from just below his chest down to his knees and all the way around his 280 pound body. Armed with his signature move, the Samoan Drop, Maivia won numerous championships and a legion of adoring fans.
"My grandfather was one of the very, very first, if not the first, Samoan wrestlers to become known on a worldwide basis," Johnson said while speaking about Maivia's WWE Hall of Fame induction.
Maivia's wide influence continues to impact the sport. He was married to Lia Maivia, The Rock's grandmother, who was one of the first female wrestling promoters. Lia and Peter's daughter Ata married Rocky Johnson, who became the first African-American to hold the WWF World Tag Team title, along with his partner in "The Soul Patrol," Tony Atlas. (Ata and Rocky are Dwayne's parents.) Since Maivia is also considered a blood brother to Amituanai Anoa'I, father of the Wild Samoans, his wrestling family tree remains well-rooted.
And of course there's Maivia's grandson, The Rock, one of the most popular athletes that professional wrestling has ever known and the current holder of the WWE championship belt. As he says in the video below, "There is no accolade on this earth that is more deeply ingrained in my blood."At WrestleMania XXIX in early April, The Rock will put his title on the line for a highly anticipated rematch against another part-time actor, John Cena.
How The Rock has time to prepare for the match is somewhat amazing. He's in the midst of starring in four films in four months, and seems to be doing press for all of them. While speaking with The Rock at the "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" junket last weekend, we asked him about his legendary grandfather, if the "High Chief" had passed down any moves, and whether the two had ever bonded over Bond. And since we were dreaming a little, we asked Rock if being a Bond villain might be another family business he'd like to pursue. Check out his entertaining response above. And check back on Friday for more from The Rock and the rest of the Joes.
See The Rock and John Cena preview their upcoming WrestleMania title match...
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