But long before his iconic years in the ring, The Rock’s childhood was filled with hilarious antics and big teaching moments from wrestling’s finest — moments that viewers can see for themselves in “Young Rock,” an upcoming NBC show all about the Canadian-American performer’s early life.
“I can’t wait to make you and your families laugh a little and share some life lessons I’ve learned along the way,” The Rock wrote in an Instagram post sharing the sitcom’s trailer. In the video post, we get a first look at the three young actors who will play Johnson as a fun-loving child, a fully-moustached 15-year-old, and an eager young adult, respectively.
At any age, The Rock was no jabroni; the trailer shows his youngest self ordering tequila and a vodka martini (and obviously, getting shut down immediately by his parents).
The true-life origin story of the Rock, now a proud dad of three, is sure to delight kids and parents alike, and wrestling enthusiasts eager to see the man behind the kayfabe ― a word used to describe the actual events and motivations in the industry that aren’t staged.
The Rock is famously the third generation of a wrestling family. His Nova Scotia-born father, Rocky Johnson, was one of the WWE’s first Black champions, and his grandpa, Peter Maivia, was a Samoan wrestler known for his larger-than life persona’s epic in-ring betrayal (or what’s known as “a heelturn”). It was Maivia who partially inspired the look of Maui in “Moana.”
“I really wish my dad was around to see this one. Maaaaan he would’ve been proud,” Johnson wrote in his caption, accompanying the trailer.
Following the passing of his father in 2020, The Rock wrote about his bittersweet feelings about continuing production on the family-oriented series, but decided in the end to do so, as the senior Johnson always told him, “The show must go on.”
“I really wish my dad was around to see this one. Maaaaan he would’ve been proud.”
That paternal wisdom guided The Rock throughout his storied career, as well as on his own parenting journey. Raising his eldest kid after his first divorce, showering his three daughters with respect, and teaching them to love themselves are some are the ways his dad’s resilience lives on.
That, and the devotion to wrestling The Rock passed onto his 18-year-old daughter Simone, who last year began training to become the WWE’s first fourth-generation wrestler.
“Young Rock” premieres on Feb. 16, a night which will also see another NBC launch about a famous dad: Late-night comedy veteran Kenan Thompson goes primetime in “Kenan,” a show that follows a fictionalized version of himself, who juggles his morning show job with being the single dad to two rambunctious daughters.
It airs right after “Young Rock,” making the big Tuesday night slot this year a certified dad power hour.
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