Young Rock went big for the Season 3 premiere.
Friday’s episode of the NBC comedy found its titular star recounting WWF’s first WrestleMania event in 1985 as he navigated a major political loss in present day.
After losing the presidential election, Dwayne stepped out of the spotlight for a year. However, a humiliating encounter with a fan that went viral spurred a visit from Randall to check in on him. Dwayne, of course, put on a brave face and insisted he was fine, but clearly the man was crumbling on the inside like a dry poundcake.
He recalled his father Rocky Johnson also being resilient when he was left off the card for WrestleMania 1. Rather than wallow in defeat, Rocky went to Saudi Arabia and opened more opportunities for himself. With Vince McMahon also looking to establish a wrestling territory in the country, Rocky agreed to wrestle there exclusively for the WWF. He was making money — like Netflix paid subscription with no ads money.
Back in the United States, WWF had low expectations for WrestleMania since the pay-per-view event was the first of its kind. And it turned out to be a massive hit! Plus, young Dewey got to meet the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Hulk Hogan.
Adult Rock also recounted his early WWF run (around 1996-97) as Rocky Maivia, a character who was supposed to be a babyface (the beloved hero). Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t like him and even booed him out of the building on several occasions. This caused leadership to lose faith in him as a face of the company, and he subsequently lost the Intercontinental Championship and was then relegated to numerous losses and untelevised matches.
That paralleled Rocky’s journey from 1985-1988. In that time, the elder Johnson went from champion featured on TV to wrestling at a used car dealership in front of a handful of people.
Things would only get harder for younger Rock in the mid-nineties. During a time of career uncertainty, he suffered a knee injury that would take him away from the ring. It served as an important lesson for Dwayne in the present day, as he came to realize he didn’t belong in politics. That would be the end of it, right?
Maybe not. He received a call from President Taft, who called the wrestler/movie star regarding a national emergency. “The people need you,” Taft said. Wait, what?
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