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The Rock's grandmother, Lia Maivia, will join the WWE Hall of Fame

Lia Maivia was one of the first women promoters of professional wrestling and will join her husband Peter “High Chief” Maivia in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Dwayne Johnson at Choctaw Stadium
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hails from a legendary wrestling family.Chris Leduc / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images file

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be welcoming a late wrestling trailblazer — his grandmother — into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Johnson will induct Lia Maivia, one of the first women promoters of professional wrestling, into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024 on Friday, he said in a video on social media earlier this week. Maivia, Johnson’s grandmother, and his late grandfather, legendary wrestler Peter “High Chief” Maivia, established one of the most prominent families in the sport. They were both Samoan.

In the heartfelt post, Johnson called Maivia “the real Final Boss.” 

“She took over my grandfather’s wrestling company here in Hawaii, and she made a promise to my grandfather when he was dying on his deathbed and she said, ‘I’m going to take over the company and I’m going to make your dream come true that it’s going to be a success,’” Johnson said in the video. 

The late promoter took over Polynesian Pro Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance’s territory in Hawaii, after her husband died in 1982, according to the WWE. There, she was tasked with promoting “A Hot Summer Night,” a widely anticipated lineup that included the likes of Andre the Giant, Ric Flair and Rocky Johnson, her son-in-law. The event that drew more than 20,000 people. 

Maivia, who died in 2008, posthumously joins her husband in the Hall of Fame.

The couple are also credited as a matriarch and patriarch of the Anoa’i family, one of wrestling’s most famous lineages. The family includes not only Johnson but also Rikishi, Roman Reigns, Jimmy and Jey Uso, among several others. 

Johnson himself has honored Maivia in the past, making her a main character on the NBC comedy series “Young Rock,” loosely based on his life. He’s also opened up about some of the more complicated aspects of his grandmother’s legacy in a previous social media post. 

“She was one of the first ever female wrestling promoters and operated her business out of HAWAII with an iron first and some violence when she felt it was necessary,” he wrote. “Her tough business practices caught up with her as she was indicted by the FBI on extortion charges.” 

While Maivia was eventually acquitted, Johnson wrote that the FBI later charged her with illegal immigration, froze her assets and deported her. 

“By 1991 my grandma was homeless. In 1992 I was able to identify a legal loophole and get her back — legally — into the U.S. I was also able to secure social security for her — legally — and moved her into a little one room apartment in Tampa, Florida,” he wrote. “Once I started making some decent money in WWE, I bought her a condo where she would live happily for the rest of her life, a few miles away from us in South Florida.”