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Dwayne Johnson is a one-man wrecking crew in the entertainment business. He's such an ever-present figure, and such a powerful personality, that it's almost hard to imagine a world in which he never became the star he is today.

But as he shares in a lengthy post to Instagram, that fate is credited in large part to one man who helped launch The Rock's entertainment career. Former WWE star King Haku has a connection to Johnson's family, having been trained by the Rock's grandfather in the 1970s. Known to Johnson as "Uncle Tonga," he was a presence throughout the young Johnson's life and eventually opened the door to his debut in the WWE.

"I get a call from WWE saying "Vince McMahon wants to see you wrestle immediately. He's flying you to RAW tomorrow and you'll have a tryout match," Johnson writes. "I thought holy s--t that's awesome, buuuut there's a few problems: For me, I wasn't just having 'a tryout match', because I had never actually HAD a real match in my life. Ever.

"WWE thought that I already had multiple matches under my belt, but little did they know."

Another big problem: Johnson didn't have a pair of wrestling trunks. Uncle Tonga loaned him a purple pair, and his tryout went flawlessly.

Years later, Johnson was happy to return the favor -- with interest. He paid Uncle Tonga a visit in a new truck Johnson had purchased.

"My Uncle Tonga is a family man, humble man and champion," he writes. "Most importantly one of the greatest human beings I know. So we walk outside and I said 'Uncle how do you like my truck?' He said, 'Whoooaaa nephew it's beautiful... I love it!' I said 'Good 'cause it's yours.' He was speechless.

"Thru tears (manly of course;) we monster hugged 'cause I'll never forget what he did for me when I had nothing. Merry Christmas Uncle and ofa atu."


Merry Christmas Uncle Tonga - enjoy your new truck! Cool Christmas story to share with y'all... Known my "Uncle Tonga" since I was 5yrs old. My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia helped train him to become a professional wrestler in the 70's. Throughout Tonga's illustrious wrestling career he changed his name to "King Haku" and became one the WWE's most sought after "bad guys" and still known to this day for being one of the toughest and legit most vicious man in wrestling history. Years later and I get a call from WWE saying "Vince McMahon wants to see you wrestle immediately. He's flying you to RAW tomorrow and you'll have a tryout match." I thought holy shit that's awesome, buuuut there's a few problems: For me, I wasn't just having "a tryout match", because I had never actually HAD a real match in my life. Ever. WWE thought that I already had multiple matches under my belt, but little did they know. What they also didn't know was that I was broke as hell and didn't actually own wrestling gear - no boots, knee pads or most importantly.. wrestling trunks. I went to Sports Authority and bought some bright ass white volleyball knee pads, called my Uncle and asked if he had ANY trunks I could use for my tryout. He said all I have is a pair of shiny purple trunks (purple was his signature color), I told him I don't care if the trunks are all the colors of Skittles, I'll happily wear them. When I picked the trunks up from him I'll never forget the monster hug he gave me, look me in the eyes and said, "I'm so proud of you. Go get 'em nephew!" Here's the picture of me wrestling my FIRST MATCH EVER in Corpus Christi, TX in front of 15,000 people - proudly in my lucky purple trunks. And the rest... was history. My Uncle Tonga is a family man, humble man and champion. Most importantly one of the greatest human beings I know. So we walk outside and I said "Uncle how do you like my truck?" He said, "Whoooaaa nephew it's beautiful... I love it!" I said "Good 'cause it's yours." He was speechless. Thru tears (manly of course;) we monster hugged 'cause I'll never forget what he did for me when I had nothing. Merry Christmas Uncle and ofa atu. #LuckyPurpleTrunks

A photo posted by therock (@therock) on

Those purple wrestling trunks became an object of luck for Johnson, who would wear them in his early matches for WWE. He's come a long way since those days, all thanks to Uncle Tonga.

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