Dwayne Johnson joins TKO's board of directors

Johnson also entered a 'services and merchandise agreement' with TKO

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was appointed to the TKO board of directors on Tuesday, as he appears ready to return to the ring to face off against the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

Johnson made a special appearance on the "Day 1" episode of "Monday Night Raw" on Jan. 1 earlier this month and cut a promo that suggested he was going after the so-called "Head of the Table" in Reigns. He has not been in the ring since, but the new appointment is an interesting note ahead of one of WWE’s signature premium live events, the Royal Rumble.

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The Rock in 2012

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson enters the ring to talk smack about his upcoming opponent John Cena during the WWE Raw event at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon, Monday Feb. 27, 2012. (Chris Ryan/Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come. Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me," Johnson said in a news release. "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 Ari 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."

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Dwayne Johnson on 'Fallon'

Dwayne Johnson during an interview on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. ( Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Image / Getty Images)

Johnson comes from a long legacy of professional wrestlers. He made his debut in WWE in 1996 as Rocky Maivia after his college football career at Miami was over. He rose to popularity in 1997 when he turned heel upon joining the Nation of Domination faction. With that, he elevated himself into The Rock persona he uses today.

He is an eight-time WWE champion and a five-time WWE Tag Team Champion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TKO TKO GROUP HOLDINGS 107.50 +1.67 +1.58%

"Very few people on the planet understand the convergence of sports, entertainment, media, and business like Rock. We are proud to have him join the TKO board to help take our company to new heights," TKO’s Executive Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon said.

Johnson also has a history with some of the top leadership, with some of TKO’s highest-ranking executives in Ariel Emanuel and Nick Khan. 

He spoke glowingly of Khan in a 2021 Instagram post as Khan entered the WWE realm. Emanuel has presented Johnson for nearly 13 years as well.

Dwayne Johnson at FAO Schwartz

Dwayne Johnson during the FAO Schwarz Surprise Giveaway on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Additionally, TKO said it entered into a "services and merchandise agreement" with Johnson as well as "an intellectual property assignment agreement pursuant to which Johnson has secured ownership of the trademarked name, ‘The Rock.’"

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TKO added that Uptake CEO Brad Keywell will also join the board, increasing the number of members from 11 to 13.