Welcome to "The Thump!" — an irregular column spotlighting the best Black elements of professional wrestling. Named after the signature move of groundbreaking Black wrestler The Junkyard Dog, "The Thump!" showcases the history and impact of Black athletes in the squared circle.
"Soul Man" Rocky Johnson and "Mr USA" Tony Atlas, pioneers in professional wrestling, were together known as The Soul Patrol. They made history on Nov 15, 1983 by defeating the Wild Samoans (Sika & Afa) to become the World Wrestling Federation's first black Tag-Team Champions. These pioneers have already been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and left more then their mark in the squared circle!
During his career, " Rocky Johnson" was a top contender in the NWA in the 1970s, receiving title matches against then-World Champions Terry Funk and Harley Race. He was well-suited to tag team wrestling, winning several regional tag team championships in the NWA. In 1983, he was recruited by the WWF and paired with Tony Atlas, another popular Black wrestler. [Photo: Tony Atlas & Rock Johnson]
Tony Atlas, a former Mr. USA and WBBG Hall of Famer, today remains an ambassador to the WWE while Rocky Johson's legacy lives on in his son, The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment, The People's Champion … The Rock.