The Rock's Daughter Finally Made Her In-Ring Debut, But Not How Fans Might've Expected

Ava Raine in NXT on WWE
(Image credit: NXT)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s daughter, Simone Johnson, finally made her in-ring debut in the WWE’s NXT brand months after changing her in-ring name to Ava Raine. Raine popped up in the show rather unexpectedly, but that’s not the only surprise regarding her widely acknowledged arrival.

Wrestling fans might have been scratching their heads watching Ava Raine’s debut, trying to figure out the math of The Rock having a kid old enough to brawl in the WWE-verse. Check out the video of Raine in the ring below, along with her first words:

To some, this video may not seem so different from a number of past wrestler debuts. But of course, that’s what makes it a little odd, given Raine's pedigree is and where she comes from. 

Ava Raine Debuted As A Member Of Schism

Ava Raine raised some eyebrows when unmasking herself as the mystery member of the cult-like NXT stable Schism. She is, after all, the daughter of the “Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment,” so there were no doubt assumptions that she'd be flying solo with her debut. That’s how Johnson handled things with his pre-Rock debut, though let’s remember that he also joined the Nation of Domination not long after, which truly launched his career into the stratosphere after fans grew weary of his initial persona. 

The advantage of having Ava Raine enter the NXT world as part of Schism is she'll have a handful of wrestlers to share the screen with as she continues developing her persona and in-ring skills. The downside is that she’ll have to share her screen time, though if she’s even half the superstar her father still is, perhaps she’ll being going solo before too long. 

The Wrestler Didn't Even Mention That The Rock Is Her Father

One particularly notable aspect of Ava Raine’s WWE debut was that her very famous father wasn't mentioned at all. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson isn’t just one of the most famous faces of pro wrestling, he’s obviously also one of the top-earning Hollywood actors in the world (who also has a big superhero movie in theaters right now). The WWE is rarely shy about hyping up its talents’ ties to notable celebrities, and yet,   casual fans may have watched that entire telecast without realizing Raine is The Rock’s daughter. 

Why Ava Raine Might Not Want To Bring Up Dwayne Johnson

It’s no doubt intentional that Ava Raine didn’t bring up her dad, and there would be a good reason not to at this stage in her career. Dwayne Johnson originally went by Flex Kavana, and even took some convincing from others in the WWE to embrace his family’s rich wrestling history with the name Rocky Maivia, and then later “The Rock.” Perhaps Raine has eventual plans to change her name in a similar manner that directly connects her to her pops, or maybe she just has the same mindset of wanting to forge her own path in wrestling without having to rely on any form of nepotism to carve her path out. She trained a long time ahead of this debut, so she's definitely not riding any coattails. 

I’ve also wondered if maybe she’s saving a possible name switch for when her dad potentially re-emerges in the WWE during WrestleMania season, assuming the rumors about his return are true; Johnson recently addressed those rumors. If that’s happening, I’d totally understand why Raine might hold off on outing herself in that capacity, as having them connect at an upcoming WWE event would be an epic moment. We’ll have to wait and see what she does in the coming weeks though and if Raine has what it takes to be the next major face of the WWW. 

NXT airs on USA Network on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. There are so many things happening on the main roster that fans are excited about they may forget about the developmental brand, but it’s certainly worth watching to see what up-and-coming talent could drastically shake up the roster in the coming year.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.