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‘The Rock’ becomes member of WWE board of directors, acquires ownership of trademark for his nickname

While Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made a huge splash with a shock return to Raw on Jan. 1, teasing a match with undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns, he was part of an equally surprising bit of news on Tuesday morning. TKO Group Holdings, the publicly traded media conglomerate that was created by Endeavor to merge UFC and WWE, announced in a statement that Johnson had been appointed to the TKO board of directors.

In addition to being appointed to his new seat, the wrestler-turned-superstar actor was also announced to have been given full ownership of the trademark for “The Rock.”

“My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come,” Johnson said in a statement. “Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build. Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock’, is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle.

“At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and [TKO CEO Ariel Emanuel] is building something truly game changing. 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. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”

Exact terms of Johnson’s deal were not revealed, though Johnson will also provide promotional, licensing, and other services for TKO.

Johnson made his return to WWE during “Day One Raw” on the first day of 2024, confronting Jinder Mahal. While a one-off appearance would have been enough to make waves, it was Johnson’s final words in the appearance that truly got people talking, with Johnson asking the crowd if he should “sit at the head of the table.” That was a reference to Reigns, Johnson’s cousin, and was believed to be the first step in setting up a huge match for WrestleMania 40.

“Very few people on the planet understand the convergence of sports, entertainment, media, and business like ‘Rock,'” TKO executive chairman Vince McMahon said in a statement. “We are proud to have him join the TKO board to help take our company to new heights.”  

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