It's hard to believe, but it's been 25 years now since The Rock made his WWE debut and went on to become a household name around the world.

On November 17th, 1996, we were first introduced to the man who would become "the most electrifying man in all of showbiz." No, I am not talking about WKDQ's very own, Ryan O'Bryan, first hitting the airwaves as MAX POWER (which is a hilarious stage name that I will forever call him now). I'm talking about Dwyane Johnson making his debut as “Rocky Maivia” at Survivor Series.

Rocky Maivia would later go from the smiling rookie to a brash and coky character joining the faction known as "The Nation of Domination" and change his name to "The Rock." It was then that he started referring to himself in the third person and his popularity began to skyrocket. The Rock soon became one of the top guys in the WWE, headlining WrestleMania 15 against another icon, Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Championship. He would later team up with Mankind to form The Rock and Sock Connection, which created the highest-rated segment in WWE history, which still makes me laugh to this day.

The Rock's career in sports entertainment has been unmatched. He took the company to heights it had never before seen and created quite the resume in the process. The Rock became a 10-time world champion, including the promotion's first of African-American descent, he is also a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a five-time Tag Team Champion, the 2000 Royal Rumble winner, and WWE's sixth Triple Crown champion.

He had done it all in the world of WWE, so that's why in 2001 he decided to try his hand at another passion, acting. His first role was in 2001's "The Mummy Returns", which then created his first lead role in the spinoff movie, "The Scorpion King". After that, it was off to the races, and The Rock focused his attention on acting full time...which I think is safe to say has paid off for him. He's become one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood and has put out hit movie after hit movie.

Getty Images
Get our free mobile app

The Rock never forgot where he got his start, which is why he returned to WWE in 2011 to host WrestleMania 27. Now look, anyone who knows me will tell you that The Rock has always been my idol. I can still remember his surprise return to WWE in 2011, I am sure my entire dorm floor heard me screaming at the TV. The night after WrestleMania, he and John Cena announced that they would square off at WrestleMania 28 (which The Rock won), and would face each other again at WrestleMania 29 for the WWE Championship. As a fan of the WWE and The Rock, I knew that I had to go see him wrestle again, which is why my friend Derek and I made the trip to both WrestleMania 28 and 29, and I will never forget it. When they say he is "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment," you definitely feel that when his music hits and he heads to the ring. I am getting chills just thinking about it. Funny story: I always tell people that The Rock photobombed me in New York during WrestleMania weekend. He really didn't but it sounds coo. As you can see in the photo below, he is perched high atop Radio City Music Hall behind me along with several other WWE Superstars.

Travis Sams

I could go on and on about Dwayne Johnson, his career, and some of my favorite moments, but that would take forever. He's got 25 years' worth of moments that defined a generation of WWE fans. You can take a look back on his career on Peacock now if you want to relive some of his best moments. From WWE to acting, and even his influence on social media, The Rock continues to be a guy that I look up to. It's highly unlikely that he will ever read this, but in the event that he does, I just want to say "thank you" for 25 years of entertainment and inspiration. Hopefully one day, our paths will cross and I can tell you that personally over a glass of Teremana!

30 famous people you might not know were college athletes

Stacker dug deep to find 30 celebrities who were previously college athletes. There are musicians, politicians, actors, writers, and reality TV stars. For some, an athletic career was a real, promising possibility that ultimately faded away due to injury or an alternate calling. Others scrapped their way onto a team and simply played for fun and the love of the sport. Read on to find out if your favorite actor, singer, or politician once sported a university jersey.

LOOK: The Most Famous Actor Born Every Year

 

LOOK: 50 Black actors who made entertainment history

 

ALSO SEE: 30 Most Decade-Defining Memes