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Dwayne Johnson Reveals Young Rock's Attitude-Era WWE Superstars Like Steve Austin And The Undertaker, And It’s A Hoot

Dwayne in Young Rock on NBC
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

Young Rock Season 2 came with the promise that fans would see the early years of Dwayne Johnson’s career in the WWE, and that slice of the timeline has now arrived.  Wrestling fans will soon see Johnson entering the organization's roster just ahead of the massively popular Attitude Era, which means a bunch of familiar wrestling legends will make their debut. Or at least the actors playing those legends will, as The Rock himself revealed the first look at The Undertaker, Mankind, a pre-3:16 Steve Austin and more, and the visuals are kinda wild. 

Dwayne Johnson took to Instagram to share photo stills from the upcoming Young Rock episode "Corpus Christi," which will feature “Rocky Malvia” (the athlete's original in-ring name) meeting “The Ringmaster” (Steve Austin’s thankfully short-lived gimmick) for the first time. Take a look at the photo gallery below, and check out the actors taking on these iconic WWE behemoths.

Professional wrestler Luke Hawx comes into Young Rock as Steve Austin, and while he didn't wrestle with the beer-chugging icon, Hawx did do some work in WWE and ECW briefly throughout the 2000s. Hopefully, his experience across several different organizations (slightly echoing Steve Austin's career) will help him really find the Stone Cold persona should Young Rock highlight that era, if not the "Stunning" era that preceded it. 

As for other actors featured, we have Mick Foley and his Mankind alter ego, as played by Brock Dunstan, Josh Rawiri as Undertaker, Brad Burroughs as Michael PS Hayes, Miles Burris as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Gawain Johnstone as Mantaur. Someone who didn't show up in the pics was Adam Ray's Vince McMahon, but this crew (alongside Brett Azar reprising his recurring role as Iron Sheik) will help bring the spirit of '90s WWE to NBC primetime, and I personally can't wait to see it.  

It’s so bizarre to see other people playing these WWE icons, who are obviously now a little too old to convincingly play their younger selves from over twenty years ago, as fun as that would still probably be. As such, we have actors standing in for wrestlers like Mick Foley and Undertaker, and I think it’s safe to say the look isn’t 100% on point. Of course, I can imagine it’s hard to find body doubles for guys like Undertaker, and the fact that some of these guys are still in the limelight definitely makes it harder to fool audiences with a lookalike. Masks help, at least. 

Something else I love about Young Rock tapping into this specific point in time is the reminder of what Steve Austin looked like with hair before he transformed into the Texas Rattlesnake. It really makes me excited to see what other nods to gimmicks of the time that Young Rock will throw into the mix, especially if they go for some lesser-remembered deep cuts. 

When CinemaBlend talked to Uli Latukefu, who portrays Dwayne in the 1996 timeline, the actor was excited for fans to see his character finally get into the WWE, and as he took some some in-ring training for this season's episodes. Considering the episode takes place on the night of Johnson's first match, it's safe to assume we'll get to see him show off those skills for the episode, with more of The Rock’s notable matches hopefully yet to come. 

I’d love to see some re-enactments of what went on behind the scenes during Rock’s electric feuds at the peak of his fame, and some of his biggest moments with Stone Cold. Even if most of those key matches are available to watch in their original form with a Peacock premium subscription, I like the comedic slant and insight Young Rock adds to the already familiar bouts. 

Of course, it’s not always fun and games on Young Rock. The show often touches on Dwayne Johnson’s rough past, and his complex relationship with his father. The show tries to keep things light when it can, but it can occasionally get heavy with its family drama. Those moments will likely continue even as the show gets into the WWE years, when it wasn’t so great for the future superstar while trying to make a name for himself.

Young Rock airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Season 2 is officially in the back half, so it's time to get ready for what might be a high-flying season finale. 

Mick Joest
Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.