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    Thursday, April 1, 2021

    Smark TV: Island Battle Royale in Young Rock's Episode 6

    Young Rock likes to play around with its time-jumps so that viewers don't get tired of the characters and the stories. It's a hit or miss at times and, more often than not, it fails to follow up on the better storylines it produces. However, this week is a fun romp towards wrestling in the '80s—save for that underwhelming reveal from the start of the show.

    In a twist that nobody expected (or wanted), Dwayne's running mate was revealed to be a completely unknown and new character—General Monica Jackson (played by Rosario Dawson). I felt shortchanged by the reveal because the tease from the last episode was very intriguing, to say the least. However, it was also hinted that Monica and Dwayne were previously on opposite sides at a certain point so maybe that could be at least a source of drama between the two.

    I'd consider this episode to be one of the better ones (if not the best so far), because of how it gently played out. Similar to last week, another cliffhanger was resolved—the one involving Ronnie Chieng's Greg Yao character. The fun part was how that storyline eventually led into another cliffhanger moment. I won't spoil what happened but for the first time during Young Rock's run, I felt like they were really using the wrestling references to their advantage.

    The producers were smart to milk the characters of Andre the Giant (a focus of this week's show) and "Macho Man" Randy Savage because they're so larger than life that they could actually carry the show with their antics. If NBC is reading this, an '80s era spin-off for the characters could be a smart idea if they decide to cash on it.

    This week brought us back to Dwayne's younger years, specifically in 1982 (based on the E.T. cinema release) where Lia ran through the planned battle royale spots with the whole roster. It is in this scene where Lia is shown to grow paranoid from losing Junkyard Dog and King Kong Bundy. As a local promoter, it must've been tough for someone like her to lose such big stars to a rival promotion—going as far as to accuse Macho Man of defecting to Yao's camp.

    As I said, without spoiling the result of the battle royale, this felt like a cool moment for smarks like us. Being able to see the booking process of the match was a treat. However, also seeing how it played out almost to perfection was a delight. It caused major ripples between the Maivia/Johnson household and it's something that I'd like to see play out immediately on the next episode just with how interesting it was.

    Meanwhile, Dwayne and Andre on a road trip of sorts made for some very heartwarming moments during the show. It seems they're taking the kid Dwayne character to the Young Sheldon route. Being able to teach adults things that they don't realize is a really fun (however cliché) idea. But watching Dwayne affect the lives of wrestlers we're familiar with is actually interesting if not just to see how the kid affected the fictionalized versions of our favorite stars.

    Lastly, the side-story involving Ata's quest for stardom was a cute side trip that showed us the quirky side of the mom of the household. If we saw her strict side during the last episode, this one dials her back and shows how much fun she can be when she wants to. Though a little stubborn in wanting to sing Laura Branigan's "Gloria" (a solid karaoke favorite if you may), she eventually comes to realize what Rocky has been saying all along—that she can just bring her own character (or song) and still make it big. He even compares Ata's original song as equal to his "Rocky Shuffle."

    It's a modern wrestling trope that actually applies to a lot of things in life. As with Steve Austin, The Rock, CM Punk, and other wrestling Superstars, most of their successes came when they took their own personality and dialed it up to 11. The lesson here would be that success sometimes comes with trusting and being yourself.

    While I'm still miffed at the Vice President reveal, it looks like we'll be getting a follow-up to this VP angle in the coming weeks so that might save this. Rosario Dawson is a solid actress and her addition to the show might throw a curve that most of us don't really expect. Who knows? Maybe they'll explore future Dwayne's presidency run in the show and that might lead to some interesting situations.

    Show Grade: A

    PS. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and Sgt. Slaughter are two names that make their debut appearance in Young Rock. I'm enjoying the castings of all of our favorite wrestling stars so far.

    Screencaps taken from Young Rock


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your resident Young Rock reviewer here at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) Instagramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz), and streaming videogames on Twitch (@the_migz) while he pursues his musical career via his YouTube channel (Migz Llado) and courtesy of his band The Mox (TheMoxGarageRock). You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE 2K (or any PS4) skills.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark TV: Island Battle Royale in Young Rock's Episode 6 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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