James Bond has battled many fearsome foes over the years, played by many actors, but You Only Live Twice pit him against The Rock’s grandfather. Today, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is arguably the biggest star in the world, having conquered the worlds of professional wrestling, TV, and blockbuster movies – and become insanely rich in the process. Before Johnson became the force of pop culture he is today though, he had to become a top guy in WWE, which is never an easy feat.
However, Johnson did have an edge in that quest, being a third-generation wrestler and member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family. Other members include current WWE stars like Roman Reigns, the Usos, and Nia Jax, as well as WWE Hall of Famers like Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Rikishi, Yokozuna, and The Wild Samoans. That’s not meant to undercut the years of work it took for Johnson to truly become The Rock, since his heritage may have given him an in, but it was his own talent that took him to the top of the card.
The Rock’s father was “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson, one half of WWE’s first Black world tag team champions with Tony Atlas. His grandfather was “High Chief” Peter Maivia, who won titles in various NWA territories in the 1960s and 1970s, before joining the then WWWF. Maivia was generally regarded as a legitimate tough guy outside the ring too, and in 1967’s You Only Live Twice, he got to step onto the big screen long before his grandson, squaring up with Sean Connery’s James Bond.
In You Only Live Twice, Sean Connery’s James Bond heads to Japan to investigate the theft of a spacecraft. After attending a sumo wrestling match, Bond witnesses the murder of a fellow MI6 agent, then takes out the killer, steals his clothes, and poses as him long enough to get driven back to the Osato Chemical company offices. When the driver figures out he’s been duped, he and Bond have a brief but entertaining brawl. That driver, who’s not named onscreen, is played by “High Chief” Peter Maivia, who also did his own stunts and fight choreography on the film. Amusingly enough, Connery himself would go on to star in a hit action film titled The Rock.
During the fight in You Only Live Twice, Maivia finds a sword and takes a few slices at Bond, who eventually sidesteps the bigger man and blasts him in the back of the head with a small but heavy statue. While only about two minutes long, the fight between Connery and Maivia in You Only Live Twice is full of big hits and fast moves, and is thrilling for what it is. If only the High Chief knew his grandson would one day conquer Hollywood.