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Young Rock Ep.1: Working the Gimmick

YOUNG ROCK -- "Working The Gimmick" -- Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Adrian Groulx as Dwayne, Nate Jackson as Junkyard Dog -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

A TV series focusing on the most electrifying man in Sports Entertainment history was an interesting idea but Young Rock plays it well with numerous time periods playing out across the episode’s narrative. The initial concept is Dwayne Johnson running for president in the future and reflecting on his life in an interview with Randall Park (aka the MCU’s Jimmy Woo). We then get different points in The Rock’s life with Adrian Groulx playing a ten year old “Dewey,” Bradley Constant playing The Rock at fifthteen years old, and Uli Latukefu playing him at eighteen years old.

All three eras shown are played in a tone similar to The Goldbergs with nothing too heavy for the audience to digest. I’m sure some will will question the historical accuracy of the show but I think it falls in the inspired by true events category.

The strongest part of the first episode was the “Dewey” section of the show following a ten year old Johnson interacting with his family and the other wrestlers that are in his life. Wrestling fans will delight in the breaking of kayfabe and a special shout out needs to be given to those portraying the legendary wrestlers in the show including Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Matthew Willig as Andre The Giant, Brett Azar as The Iron Sheik, Nate Jackson as The Junkyard Dog, and of course Fasitua Amosa and John Tui as Afa and Sika – The Wild Samoans. There is a spin off here waiting to be made! Credit is also due for the show hinting at Rocky Johnson’s late night activities without making things too dark for a show of this style. The clues are there if you look.

Verdict: 8/10. A great opening episode for a show that just might well be a propaganda tool to get Dwayne Johnson into The White House! Stranger things have happened!

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