On April 20, at In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, he lost to Savio Vega by countout, retaining the title for the final time. During this time, he refused to acknowledge the "Rocky Maivia" name, instead referring to himself in the third person as "The Rock".
Audiences became increasingly hostile toward Maivia, with chants of "Die, Rocky, die! He insulted the audience in his promos, as well as WWF television interviewers, once calling Kevin Kelly an "ugly hermaphrodite".
At In Your House 12: It's Time, Maivia defeated Salvatore Sincere in his first singles match at a pay-per-view event.On February 13, 1997, he won the Intercontinental Championship from Hunter Hearst Helmsley on Monday Night Raw.On March 30 episode of Raw is War, The Rock debuted a new Intercontinental Championship belt which was used to represent the title until October 2, 2011, when the previous design was reused.Later that night, he overthrew Faarooq as leader of the Nation of Domination, sparking a feud.He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League and was cut two months into the 1995 season.
This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson, from whom he also inherited his Canadian citizenship.Johnson was born in Hayward, California, the son of Ata Johnson (née Maivia) and professional wrestler Wayde Douglas Bowles, better known as Rocky Johnson.His maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler.In 1991, he was on the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team.She also founded a Miami-based wealth management firm.Johnson was a promising football prospect and received offers from many Division I collegiate programs.