Rock Howard is the son of legendary crime lord Geese Howard. After his father's death, Rock was raised by his mortal enemy, Terry Bogard.
Rock Howard was present at the end of his father's life. Knowing his father was an evil man, Rock went to live with the man who was hoping to end the cycle of hate and revenge. The two bonded and Terry later trained Rock in the martial arts. Rock melded Terry's Hakkyokuseiken and Geese's Aikijutsu & Kobujutsu style.
After the reconstruction of South Town (which was decimated during KOF 2001), Terry Bogard and Rock are living in the area. One night a fire "mysteriously" breaks out. Rock sees a picture ablaze and is reminded of a portrait of his mother that still resides in Geese Tower. He sees a laser beam strike the tower and rushes to investigate. Rock interrupts a fight between Lien Neville and Billy Kane (his fathers assassin). Billy wants Rock to join him and retake South Town for their own. Lien wants to kill the both of them. Despite this Rock comes to Lien's aid. He engages Billy and fights him off until he is forced to break off and save Lien from plumeting to the ground. Lien saves them both by reacquiring her comm device and ordering another laser strike.
She leaves Rock, in gratitude for saving her life, alive for the time being. Billy's fate is unknown.
When Rock returns to his apartment, he finds Terry where he left him. As he heads to his room, he notices a dirty, partially covered, portrait of his mother. Realizing Terry was at the Tower too, he smiles as he heads to his room.