Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be the most well-known Samoan WWE Superstar in recent years, but longtime fans know that he’s just one of the many pro wrestlers who hail from the Anoa’i bloodline. His grandfather was the High Chief Peter Maivia, who was a popular wrestler in the 1970s after entering the WWE, then called the World Wide Wrestling Federation. He passed away in 1982 following a brief battle with cancer, but his legacy lives on in The Rock, who parlayed his WWE career into a massive presence in Hollywood.
Johnson took to Instagram on Thursday to post a throwback of his grandfather alongside pro wrestling legend Andre the Giant, who made the 315-pound Samoan look like a little kid.
What a crazy throwback from the 70’s. Here’s the “8th Wonder of the World” André the Giant, using my 315lb grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia as a booster seat and making my granddad look like a little boy. They were the best of friends, wrestled nightly, tough as hell and as you can see by their smiles and open energy – they lived like to the absolute fullest. My grandfather died when I boy so I never got to know him as a man. Would’ve loved to have raised a tequila with these men. Would’ve also loved to have wrestled them too – those would’ve been fun ass kickin’s for me to take 😉 #thegiant #andthehighchief 🥃
Johnson was young when his grandfather passed, but he’s paid tribute to him in a few ways over the course of his career. His original ring name was Rocky Maivia—a combination of his father’s name, Rocky Johnson, and his grandfather’s name. He also inducted his grandfather into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
Andre the Giant was one of WWE’s biggest Superstars of all time, both literally and figuratively. Standing at 7’4″ and weighing more than 500 pounds, he was a force to be reckoned with in the ring over the course of his successful, decades-long wrestling career. He was the first-ever inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.
In the throwback photo featuring Maivia and the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” both men are smiling ear to ear and seem to be living their best lives.
“They were the best of friends, wrestled nightly, tough as hell and as you can see by their smiles and open energy – they lived like [sic] to the absolute fullest,” Johnson wrote in the caption.