TKO Group Holdings Inc., the parent company of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), has appointed former wrestler and Hollywood actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to its board following a $5 billion deal with streaming giant Netflix Inc.
“I am thrilled to partner with Dwayne and welcome his immense talent to TKO’s Board,” TKO CEO Ariel Emanuel said in a prepared statement. “Dwayne brings an incredible track record of creating content and building globally recognized consumer brands, and he will play a key role in realizing our ambitions for TKO.”
According to TKO Group Holdings Inc., Johnson’s board appointment reflects its “commitment to delivering long-term value and strong performance for shareholders through strategic growth initiatives across both UFC and WWE.”
What is in it for Johnson in this new role? According to Midland Daily News, WWE granted Johnson full ownership of his trademarked name, “The Rock.” TKO Group will also pay Johnson $30 million in stock awards to promote the brand. The awards will vest over the course of 2024 and 2025, as reported by Midland Daily News.
Johnson started his wrestling career with WWE in 1996. He derived the name “The Rock” from his father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE history alongside partner Tony Atlas. There are now reports that Johnson may compete at this year’s WrestleMania.
“I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”
Aside from being a wrestler and an actor, he is also an entrepreneur. The professional wrestler turned entrepreneur has been translating his success in the ring to the business world. Recently, he became the highest-paid Black celebrity on Instagram, per data from Hopperhq.
The Rock has maintained his position as the highest-paid Black Instagram star since 2019. With over 147 million followers at the time, the actor and producer charged $882,000 per post. In 2022, The Rock did not only increase his followers but also doubled the amount he charges per post.
The Rock has an estimated net worth of $800 million and his wealth has been attributed to acting and entrepreneurial ventures. In 2019, he launched his own liquor brand called Teremana Tequila. A year later, he posted record sales, despite launching in March, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rock told Forbes his aim is to create a premium brand that is affordable to everyone. “When we first launched our Teremana brand, many said that I was crazy to deliver such a high-quality tequila at such an affordable price, but to me, the most important ‘P word’ in my business isn’t profit—it’s people. And that’s why Teremana, will always be the tequila of the people,” he said.