NBC's Young Rock is giving audiences a televised retelling of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's rise to fame, though not all of its stories are 100% accurate. In fact, some of the true stories are much crazier, and even a little more disturbing, than what gets shown on the screen, as evidenced by Johnson's story about how he truly learned that professional wrestling wasn't fake.
In Young Rock, a young Dwayne received a stern lesson from Andre The Giant when he flippantly described wrestling as "fake" in front of friends and family. The moment, while really tense and cool for television, was a moment created for the sake of entertainment. The Rock spoke to USA Today about the real way he found out wrestling wasn't fake, which sounds a lot more painful.
Honestly, what would happen is, when I stepped out of line like that, I would be brought into the ring. Their way of discipline was to take me in the ring. And beat my ass in a way that I learned actually how not fake wrestling is.
It sounds like wrestlers pulled Dwayne Johnson in the ring and began "working stiff," which is when wrestlers actually connect with their punches and kicks to better sell audience on thinking they're seeing a real fight. It's also worth noting that regular moves like being body-slammed are just naturally going to be a bit painful in general, no matter what surface one lands on, and getting one or two from someone the size of Andre the Giant would straighten any wayward teen out real quick.
Dwayne Johnson and others who have worked in the wrestling industry are always wary of using the word "fake" to describe things, because while the outcomes of wrestling matches are often predetermined, the physical side of the performance is very much genuine. Competitors put themselves on the line and their bodies at risk to "sell" hits to the fans, which sometimes means they allow themselves to be actually harmed. On top of all the legitimate injuries that occur when things go sideways.
Dwayne Johnson's unique punishment is another example of how the Hollywood actor lived quite a different life from the average person, and it's part of the appeal of Young Rock. The series travels through the rise and fall in fame of Johnson's father, the legendary Rocky Maivia, and follows the younger Dwayne across different timelines.
There are also a lot of appearances from Rock's family and friends, many of whom were notable '80s superstars in the then-named WWF. Young Rock will feature more portrayals of notable names as Season 1 continues, and likely more zany stories about Dwayne Johnson's life that are sometimes fudged to make a truly wild story about the actor's youth a bit more palatable for primetime television.
Young Rock airs on NBC Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET, but that's not the only place you'll be able to see the Rock soon, and you can check out all the projects he's set to be a part of in the near future here.