Young Rock Season 1, Episode 3 “Forward Together” Review

Young Rock — “Forward Together” Episode 103 — Pictured: Adam Ray as Vince McMahon — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

This week’s “Young Rock” sees the debut of more big names in the wrestling universe. More specifically, Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and King Kong Bundy. There is more to unpack on this episode “Forward Together” than the debuts however.

The central story is Rocky Johnson seeking out for an action figure deal after he sees that Andre The Giant got a prototype of his figure. This all happens while he and Young Rock were planning the next autograph session. Towards the end of the session, a toy developer comes to Rocky’s table to pitch to him that he can make Rocky Johnson figures. You can tell that this person is shady due to his cowboy boots being the same color as UWF promoter Herb Abrams.

Now to Vince McMahon. Mark Taylor plays as Vince McMahon. It took me a few minutes to not think of the Vince McMahon character that I seen on television for years and to see this version of McMahon on a business side. While I did not sense or see the mannerisms and voice of Vince that Mark Taylor acted, He did good on the way Vince McMahon was in the early 1980’s when he was a boss than a character.

Young Rock — “Forward Together” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Adrian Groulx as Dwayne — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Kevin Makely as Macho Man did not work for me. He looked, talked, and acted like a cosplayer than me suspending my disbelief to believe that he could be Macho Man at that time period. Macho Man was a force to be reckoned with even outside of the ring.

Kevin Makely did not bring that larger than life persona of the WWE legend on the screen. I was really looking forward to seeing him as Macho Man. But it turned out to be the Nacho Man.

There are also great subplots on this episode of “Young Rock” that I did also like. Ata watching home movies with Sika and Lia. The barbecue where they all discussed the battle royal plans and discovering why King Kong Bundy and Junkyard Dog backed out the match. And Young Rock asking for an alcoholic beverage before Ata and Rocky joking with him that he cannot have it are bright spots.

The end of this episode is an ad for his presidential campaign and this was an odd choice to end an episode. Other than a few hiccups, I enjoyed it!

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Young Rock Season 1, Episode 2 “On The Road Again” Review

YOUNG ROCK — “On the Road Again” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Bradley Constant as Dwayne, Lexie Duncan as Karen — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

This week’s episode of “Young Rock” teaches the viewer a valuable lesson. That is, after the huge spotlight of a major star is over, they have to wrestle at smaller scale shows.

That is the focus for this episode of “Young Rock” as Dwayne Johnson told the story to the reporter about taking Karen on a date to a wrestling show. Teenage Rock wanted to do as much as he can to convince Karen to go out on a date with him. When she does, the most interesting aspect of professional wrestling is on full display.

“Young Rock” did not shy away from the reality of wrestling that the casual fan would never know. And Karen was exposed to this when she saw where the actual show took place. It was at a local carnival where there were less than fifteen people at the show. Even though Karen did not like the environment, Teenage Rock was also there to support Rocky Johnson and this shows that anyone should support their family and friends no matter how big or small the crowd is.

YOUNG ROCK — “On the Road Again” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Bradley Constant as Dwayne, Lexie Duncan as Karen, Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Fifteen people or not, what mattered most is that everyone left home happy. Not everyone did as Rocky Johnson was stiffed out of pay from the shady promoter. The promoter promised Rocky Johnson more money than what he paid him and they both had a conversation about that. Shady independent wrestling promoters are still like this to this day so I was not surprised to see this went down the way it did.

I also started to root for Teenage Rock when he punched the kid at the school hallway for poking fun at Rocky Johnson’s appearance at the independent show. Rock did this while also saying the same words Andre The Giant said to him when he was younger about the “F” word.

Also during this episode, Rocky Johnson had matches against Ric Flair and Roddy Piper that are told in flashbacks that I enjoyed.

Overall, I enjoyed “On The Road Again” far better than the pilot as it showed the trials that every professional wrestler has to go through. It affects them in each level no matter how big of a star they are, or was. Some may see this like a step down to the fans that idolizes the mega stars. But this should be a valuable lesson to every fan of wrestling once they see this episode. Professional wrestlers are normal people too and they have families to support.

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Young Rock Season 1, Episode 1 “Working The Gimmick” Review

YOUNG ROCK — “Pictured: “Young Rock” Key Art — (Photo by: NBC)

A biopic of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sounds like it should be made into a feature film. But there is too much history of the professional wrestler turned actor to cover in ninety minutes. Which is why Young Rock works better as a series than a film.

Young Rock created by Dwayne Johnson and Nahnatchka Khan, tells the story of The Rock in three different decades as he grows up while his father Rocky Johnson (Joseph Lee Anderson) is a worldwide star in the wrestling industry.

The first episode titled “Working The Gimmick” sets the tone for what to expect for the rest of the season. Dwayne Johnson in the year 2032, is running for president. The TV Host that is interviewing Dwayne Johnson is portrayed by Randall Park as Dwayne explained his upbringing to the TV Host. The first story took place in 1982 as 10 year old Dwayne (Adrian Groulx) and his mother Ata Johnson (Stacey Leilua) witnessed Rocky Johnson defeating Afa Anoai at a wrestling event. Rocky was seen as a superstar in the viewers eyes. But outside of the ring, Rocky Johnson was a normal person that took care of his wife and son.

It is here where the viewers get a first look on the reality of the world of professional wrestling as the big stars have to keep a persona up whenever they are seen in public. Even if you have to stay at an old hotel for one night, that is how the business was that time.

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)

The most comedic part of this portion of the episode, is when Young Rock sees Iron Shiek, Wild Samoans, Junkyard Dog, and Andre The Giant hanging out and playing cards with Rocky Johnson. I must say that the actors that portrayed the wrestlers were spot on with the mannerisms and how they acted and sounded like the real life wrestlers at that time. The amount of research and history that went to the production of this show is amazing and I give them credit for doing so.

Rocky was only supposed to be there for a few minutes, but he ended up going out with the rest of the boys even though he promised Young Rock a trip to the ice cream store. I also love the back and forth comedy between Young Rock and Andre The Giant after Rock making a comment about wrestling not being real.

Dwayne Johnson later told the story of his teenage self (Bradley Constant) in 1987 stealing from stores, his alias Tomas while he wanted to get Karen’s attention in high school, and even buying an old car that barely even worked. I believe here , is when he starts to get a sense of how much time Rocky Johnson has been on the road since he was doing an autograph signing the day that this happened. But he did not forget his mom Ata when Teenage Rock picked her up at the bus stop.

Teenage Rock hopes to give his mom Ata everything one day and Dwayne Johnson went on record numerous times on interviews that he was always close to Ata and that is really showcased here on the first episode. Towards the end of “Working The Gimmick”, Dwayne Johnson begins to go over the beginning of his college football run in 1990. Adult Rock (Uli Latukefu) meets the players and the coach of the team.

YOUNG ROCK — “Working The Gimmick” — Pictured: Uli Latukefu as Dwayne — (Photo by: Mark Taylor)

He finds out that Rocky Johnson was there earlier in the day to tell lies about Dwayne Johnson being on the cover of Wheaties cereal. It did slightly upset him, but he used what Rocky Johnson told him for years and that is, to work his gimmick wherever he is to let them make believe that you are who they say you are. He did this by also beating the record for the most reps at the gym and proceeded to do the eyebrow that he is known for to this day after he beat the challenge.

“Working The Gimmick” is a fun introduction to the series. A great key here, is that the timeline was not all over the place as it started with his 10 year old self and finished when he was in college. I hope that this structure continues for the rest of the series with more stories to be told. It also makes me think if Dwayne Johnson himself will actually run for president one day. An amazing start of “Young Rock” which is a must see series, and NBC hit a goldmine to tell Dwayne Johnson’s story!

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