It’s probably not worth spending much time on this anymore, but here goes: Young Rock plays fast and loose with the facts, and doesn’t care what you think about that. The calling card of the show, from the very beginning, has been to tell true and interesting stories — sometimes without letting the pesky truth get in the way of a good story. This week’s episode, titled “Chest to Chest,” offers more of the same “truthful” tales, delivering the heart of a moment from Dwayne Johnson’s life while involving people and places that have no business being there, except to create the alternate-universe style history that Young Rock has created for itself.
After a brief continuation of the 2033 timeline, in which Johnson seeks a coffee trade deal with Angela Honig of fictional Gjelghiughm, it’s back to 1986 where the battle between Rocky and Ata Johnson and Lia Maivia and Lars Anderson for control of Hawai’i’s wrestling scene is spilling into the ring, with Johnson (and Jake Roberts) invading one of Lia’s shows to start a turf war. Well, since you’ve seen invasion angles play out in wrestling before, it won’t shock you to learn that it’s all a work. Ata and Lars, however, are actually getting on each other’s nerves as their backstage battle to make the booking decisions for Lia has them at odds.
The focal point of everyone is on an upcoming tribute show for High Chief Peter Maivia, which was an annual event starting in 1983, one year after Maivia’s death. The roll call of wrestlers for this tribute show run a wide gamut, from Young Rock-verse stalwarts André the Giant (Matt Willig), The Iron Sheik (Brett Azar), and Randy Savage (Kevin Makely – with a chance to use his favourite Savage-isms in a promo battle), to less featured players such as Bad News Allen, Ric Flair, Sting, and a brand new arrival in Kerry Von Erich.
Much has been made among viewers of the show about who passes the grade in mimicking the wrestlers being portrayed, and while it’s fair to say that actor Santo Panzarella’s take on Kerry Von Erich looked more like an undercover cop who was telling people he was Von Erich, he’s also shown eating an entire tray of Hawai’ian sweet rolls without pulling them apart — which is unrelated but worthy of praise.
Much of Dewey’s time in this episode is focused on growing up, as Bradley Constant continues his takeover of what was once Adrian Groulx‘s timeline. In fact, Dewey doesn’t want to be Dewey anymore, and is ready to become Dwayne Johnson. He feels so grown up that he gets into a fistfight with Lars (or something close to that, as we’re never shown what happens) over how Anderson changed the booking to better suit himself in the show. Dwayne Johnson, the real one, wanted to drive home the point that this really happened, and interjected with a voice-over to assure us that this part was totally accurate.
Less accurate, but totally within the show’s style, was having Ata secure the services of Cyndi Lauper, once again played by Becky Lynch, to sing the national anthem at the show. Lynch brings her best Lauper voice and has a good number of bits written for her in the episode, and she looks like she’s having fun. While there is a place for historical accuracy, this show is more concerned with the fun, so Lynch fits right in.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) February 17, 2023
In the end, 2033 Dwayne tries to bring it all back and make a point to Honig about why she should cut a deal with him, but we’re left hanging once again as she says she needs time to think about it. While the suspense drives you wild, stay tuned to SlamWrestling.net for reviews of future episodes and all things Young Rock!
- Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and family story archive
- Slam Wrestling’s Young Rock review and interview archive
- NBC’s Young Rock page