Young Rock sets itself apart from the competition in a major way thanks to the fact that it details the life of one of Hollywood's biggest celebrities and his pro-wrestling past, and while that may be an added challenge, Dwayne Johnson's show does a great job at making it work. That's thanks in large part to a supporting cast of actors who portray iconic wrestlers of the past, some of which we still haven't seen.
CinemaBlend's Nick Venable asked Dwayne Johnson and co-creator Nahnatchka Khan about wrestling legends on Young Rock during a TCA panel for the series. Khan spoke about the challenge of bringing iconic '80s wrestlers to a television series using different actors and teased that there are more to come as the show continues.
Yeah, it was an amazing and incredible challenge. I want to give a shout-out to our casting directors Anya Coloff and Michael Nicolo because they killed it. And it’s a tall order. It’s iconic, legendary wrestlers we’re talking about. And Matt Willig playing André the Giant, Nate Jackson playing Junkyard Dog. We have so many amazing wrestlers coming down the pipe that you don’t even see in the pilot. We’ve got 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. We’ve got Iron Sheik. We’ve got the Wild Samoans. We’ve got so many amazing characters, and I think that it was just part of the fun, really, of a show like this. And, you know, it was a casting challenge and we were happy to fulfill it, because I think those guys just crushed it.
Young Rock viewers have seen most of those names mentioned, save for one massive reveal. Young Rock will feature a portrayal of "Macho Man" Randy Savage, who has to be one of the biggest personalities in pro wrestling history. Macho Man will be played by actor Kevin Makely on Young Rock, and one can bet audiences will have things to say about the performance to see if it lives up to the wrestler's classic personality.
And to add to what Nahnatchka was saying is, you know, from my perspective, it was truly a love letter to professional wrestling, which is a business that I grew up in and a business that I’ve loved all of my life and learned some of my most valuable, while very unorthodox, lessons coming out of the world of pro wrestling, so to be able to highlight and showcase these men who were, in essence, my superheroes. They didn’t wear capes when I was a little boy. They were these men in the professional wrestling world. And I will say that, you know, of all the actors who we cast, all of them really, truly embodied these professional wrestlers. Because in many ways, this was the very first time you were seeing these wrestlers portrayed certainly in primetime.
If it's good enough for The Rock, it's hard to argue these actors and their portrayals of folks like André the Giant won't be good enough for old and current wrestling fans. It will be exciting to see what other wrestlers make an appearance, especially if the series goes on long enough to highlight Dwayne Johnson's WWE career. I can't be the only one who wants to see a Stone Cold Steve Austin portrayal in network primetime.
Young Rock airs on NBC Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. So far, the series has not disappointed with wild stories about The Rock's youth, though there have been some changes between the show and what really happened in Dwayne Johnson's life. For a look at one of those examples, check out the differences in how the show portrayed when Dwayne got his first car here.