The world’s biggest action star returns with a new season of Young Rock

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Returning to the world of wrestling (and life outside it) the third season of Young Rock is streaming on Neon. James Nokise checks back in on the show’s multiple timelines – including the state of future Rock’s Presidential ambitions.

With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson looking to carry the entire DC cinematic universe on his non-CGI broad shoulders, it can be easy to forget the world’s biggest action star also has a sitcom about his childhood spent as the son of a semi-famous wrestler.

The Black Adam star, having finished promoting that rarest of cinematic outings—a positively received DC film—and taking a brief pause from advertising his popular tequila empire (Teremana), is back with the latest instalment of his origin story; Young Rock.

Young Rock season 3 continues to follow the wrestling icon-cum-action lead on his journey through his “wonder years” period to eventual semi-demi-god-ish status. Some men make one-act plays to process their childhood traumas, others get into stand-up comedy, but real legends make a series with multiple seasons to deconstruct their youth. And why talk directly to the audience when you can play a version of yourself campaigning to become the most powerful man in America who discusses their childhood with an actor (Randall Park) playing a version of themselves as an interviewer?

Except the campaign is over and The Rock… lost.

Depicted a year after the election result, Johnson is now a recluse tending to goldfish, telling dirty jokes, and recovering from a very public political drubbing. Park, working on a daytime talk show, is still friends with the people’s champ, though the friendship is slightly one-way. Once the two finally share the screen together, it’s back into the familiar reminiscing style of the past two seasons.

As Dwayne gives Randall further insights into his life, we check in on three different age groups of “Rock”.

Young “Dewie” (Adrian Groulx) is living in Hawaii with his parents in 1985. Wrestlemania has just launched to massive success and his father, Rocky Johnson (Joseph Lee Anderson), is still hustling on the fringes of the WWF. Vince McMahon (Adam Ray) is the king of Wrestling and Hulkamania—the hype machine of no.1 wrestler Hulk Hogan (Brock O’Hurn)—is beginning to sweep the United States.

McMahon is coming into his own as arguably the most influential man in modern sports entertainment. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s got enough savvy to have Cindy Lauper (Rebecca Quin aka WWE superstar Becky Lynch), at the height of her fame, making a music video for the film The Goonies with WWF Wrestlers.

Incidentally, that song is the tragically named The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough, and has a 7 minute video for the 3 and half minute track that features the child cast of the film, a cameo from Steven Spielberg, and is one of pop-culture’s great cross-promotion shambles. Also, Lauper hates the song, though that doesn’t come through in the gentle interaction she shares with the Young Rock.

Dewie himself is a budding Hulkamaniac, which makes sense given Hogan’s career path is seen by many as a precursor to The Rock’s—and several other wrestlers—more successful pathway into films.

In 1987, Teenage Dwayne (Bradley Constant) is saying goodbye to his father in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at a used car dealership before heading to Miami to start his football scholarship. To be clear, “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson is not selling cars, but wrestling in car lots after being blacklisted by the Wrestling world.

It isn’t clear if this very fun family comedy is going to even touch the quite dark reason that blacklisting occurred, but at the moment, at least on screen, it seems to be because of “broken contracts”.

Meanwhile in 1997, Dwayne (Uli Latukefu) is settled in Miami, wrestling under the name “Rocky Maieva”, and enjoying his personal life with partner—and future first wife—Dani Garcia (Arlyn Broche). He’s experiencing a crises of confidence though which, surreally for him, mirrors his father’s professional frustrations in the late 80’s. Things get worse when his knee is injured, but that injury will prove a turning point in his life.

For non-wrestling fans, on his return to the ring, he’ll join the wrestling stable The Nation of Domination, turn “Heel” for the first time, begin to refer to himself as “The Rock” in the third person, and start trash talking opponents so savagely that the fans who initially hated him are won over.

Thankfully, with all the multiple versions of Dwayne Johnson taking up the “Rock-verse”, the supporting cast remain delightfully stable. His mother Ata (Stacey Leilua) and grandmother Lia (Ana Tuisila) are still the (slightly over-) dominating forces in his life. Lia, the matriarch of the Anoa’i wrestling family, lived well into her 80’s and died in 2008, so don’t expect her to be going anywhere soon.

And Dewey’s extended family of both blood relatives and “uncles” from the Wrestling community continue to steal scenes. One of the show’s great joys remains seeing a sort-of behind-the-scenes look at not just original wrestlers in his life the Iron Sheik, Andre the Giant, and the Wild Samoans, but the icons like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and Mick Foley. There’s still a healthy amount of easter eggs for fans without making people with no idea about wrestling feel they’re missing out. What’s real and what’s creative storytelling? Well isn’t that the fun of wrestling show?

Of course there have actually been recent calls for “The Rock” to run for president, because America is nothing if not consistent in thinking actors can do politics better than politicians. In any other country, a former wrestler turned action star President might seem outlandish, but after you’ve had the Movie Matinee President of Reagan, and the Reality TV Star President of Trump, nothing seems off the cards. There’s already been a President born in Hawaii, why not go all in and just have a Canadian/Samoan Chief President?

He revitalised the Fast & Furious franchise, he’s revitalising DC, why not the United States? Would people call him “President The Rock”? Absolutely. President Johnson is the guy who worked with Martin Luther King. President The Rock is.. well, probably the follow up series to Young Rock once the timeline concludes.