Dwayne Johnson’s Daughter Is Joining The Family Business

Dwayne Johnson's daughter, Simone Johnson, aka Ava, will have her first official WWE match this weekend during Wrestlemania weekend.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Dwayne “Rocky Maivia” Johnson’s first WWE match – Survivor Series 1996

Dwayne Johnson is now the biggest movie star on the planet, but 27 years ago, he was just Rocky Maivia, a third-generation WWE superstar. This weekend, another WWE superstar is making her in-ring debut, Ava, part of the NXT developmental brand as the female member of Schism. Ava stands out because she’s The Rock‘s daughter, Simone Johnson, a fourth-generation female wrestler.

Wrestlers have taken different paths to the WWE, from Bautista picking it up after he felt that he’d reached rock bottom to John Cena being a promoter’s son, Ava was born into the business just like her dad. The great-granddaughter of High Chief Peter Maivia and granddaughter of Rocky Johnson, she’s been training for years to pick up the family business. This weekend, at Stand & Deliver on Peacock, Ava will have her first televised match.

Since debuting in October as part of Schism, Ava has acted as a valet for the other faction members, including Joe Gacy and the tag-tag, The Dyad. A cult-like group under Gacy’s charismatic influence, all of the performers in Schism have embraced their role as villains (“Heels” in wrestling parlance), that consider being booed out of the building to be a badge of honor. In this way, Ava has learned from Dwayne Johnson’s earliest WWE experience, where he was force-fed to the audience as a world-conquering hero (“Babyface” or “Face” in wrestling).

That’s right, for a long time, Dwayne Johnson was booed out of every building with thunderous “Die Rocky Die” chants before finally finding his true calling as an arrogant heel. As Rocky Maivia, the Fast and Furious star, displayed none of the physical charisma, he used to become the most bankable star in Hollywood. Instead, he was shoehorned into a role that didn’t take advantage of his natural talents, similar to Black Adam, with results that match.

As a part of Schism, Ava’s been slowly getting increasingly involved in matches while staying away from the microphone. Dwayne Johnson, as The Rock, was one of the best talkers in WWE history, and even today, few have been able to reach his level while no one has surpassed it (though Dexter Lumis has come close.) By not publicly acknowledging Ava’s identity as Simone Johnson, she can avoid the pitfalls and dangers other famous children have fallen into, including Curtis Axel (the son of Mr. Perfect) and Charlotte Flair (Ric Flair‘s daughter).

Simone “Ava” Johnson in WWE NXT

When children follow their parents into the WWE, fan expectations are usually sky-high, and with very few exceptions, they almost always fail to meet their parent’s level. Randy Orton (the son of Roddy Piper‘s lackey Bob Orton) and Carmella (the daughter of Paul Van Dale) are two of the very few that have eclipsed their fathers. Expectations for Ava this weekend are low, and just like Dwayne Johnson’s WWE debut, she’ll be in a multi-person match to help cover for any shortcomings.

Schism is going up against the incredibly entertaining Chase University, a faction that’s a fictional college within the world of NXT. Led by Andre Chase, they’re the good guys going into Stand and Deliver this weekend. The sole female member, Thea Hail, is also the youngest-ever WWE superstar at 19 years old, and per the rules of the match, whenever she or Ava gets tagged, the other woman has to get in and take the place of the men.

Whether or not Simone Johnson ends up matching her father’s history-making career, or even if she eventually pivots for a career in Hollywood, is irrelevant at the moment (but fun to speculate.) This weekend, at Stand and Deliver, airing at 1:00 PM EST on Peacock, the first female fourth-generation wrestler will enter the ring. Dwayne Johnson, absent for years from WWE shows, will be at ringside cheering on his daughter for the start of a long, healthy, and successful career.