Rocky Johnson's tag team partner Tony Atlas has spoken out about his longtime associate's death. As The Soul Patrol, Johnson and Atlas made wrestling history as the first black title holders in WWE's history. While their WWE run was short-lived, their partnership went back years earlier when they would cross paths in other wrestling promotions. However, they've been tied together ever since World Tag Team Championship win, which happened on Nov. 15, 1983.
We changed wrestling by paving a new path,knocking down doors while showing what movin' n groovin' is all about!It takes two and I never would've done it without you. It showed me alot while learning more . I pray for @TheRock and his family ,I'm so sorry for your loss. pic.twitter.com/r5g9YMi3S3— Tony Atlas (@RealAtlas) January 16, 2020
After news of Johnson's death broke, Atlas took to his Twitter account to send off a message to his late in-ring partner. Alongside a photo of themselves holding the title belts, Atlas posted a message about the history they made together. He also included condolences to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who is Johnson's son.
The Rock, who reached great heights himself in WWE, broke his silence on his dad's death, which was reportedly caused by a blood clot, in an emotional message posted to Instagram. In the note, he referenced the Soul Patrol's landmark win noting that the late WWE Hall of Famer "broke color barriers."
"I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar," Dwayne wrote alongside a classic video of his dad. "The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deeply complicated sides that needed to be held and understood.
"Son to father. Man to man. That's when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life's invaluable lessons. Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. Im in pain. But we both know it's just pain and it'll pass. Now I'll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it's time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish.
"Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I'll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high."
Photo Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for WWE