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As NBC's "Young Rock" delves further into Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's wrestling career — from stepping out of his father Rocky Johnson's shadow to developing the People's Elbow and beyond — Episode 8 of Season 3, "Going Heavy," had many lifelong WWE fans scratching their heads. The story, which sees Dwayne reminisce on how he learned to trust his gut and go against big boss Vince McMahon's orders, introduces a new figure wrestling fans couldn't place: Chad Frost, a wrestler clad in denim and sporting a waist-length ponytail who badmouths a young Dwayne in an attempt to keep him from rising in the company's ranks.
While the analogues for other wrestlers in the episode — primarily Luke Hawx ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin), Marcus Lewis (Farooq), and Miles Burris (Triple H) — are pretty obvious, Dwayne's beef with "Chad" (portrayed by Eltony Williams) is deemed too controversial by The People's Champion himself to state who he's actually referring to. Via voiceover, Dwayne explains to Prime Minister Angela Honig (Dawnn Lewis) that "Chad Frost" is a pseudonym for another wrestler who negatively impacted his career in real life. But because he's not looking to badmouth anyone, Dwayne is hesitant to reveal Chad's real-life counterpart.
Well, The Rock may want to keep Chad Frost's real identity under wraps, but that didn't stop WWE sleuths from cracking open their wrestling history books to speculate.
But first, let's look at the hints "Young Rock" drops about this undercover wrestler.
For one, there's his appearance: "Chad" is a Black man sporting the aforementioned denim and long ponytail, as well as tattoos. Additionally, Dwayne mentions that "Chad" was one of the top two wrestlers in the game at that point, matched only by Steve Austin. And it's actually due to an injury "Chad" suffers that a top spot opened up — an in-ring power vacuum Dwayne was hungry to fill. As the then-star of the Nation of Domination faction, Dwayne was eager to prove to McMahon and other WWE heavyweights that he could step up and be the next big thing, but the episode portrays "Chad" as doing everything in his power to sabotage his chances. As Dwayne says in the episode, "That guy never turned out to be a friend, and I’ll just leave it there."
So, who is Chad Frost?
The frontrunner for many fans is Shawn Michaels, aka the Heartbreak Kid, due to Michaels' long hair, penchant for denim, and a well-known IRL beef with The Rock in the '90s. He was also one of the company's top stars (alongside Stone Cold) for years and suffered an injury during his bout with The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble in 1998.
In Episode 15 of his 2020 "Confessions of the Hitman" web series, retired Superstar Bret Hart spoke about how Michaels would regularly give The Rock a hard time backstage. He recalled one particular argument in which Michaels chewed the younger wrestler out for copying his move.
"I remember Shawn Michaels coming into the dressing room and dressing down poor Dwayne," Hart said. "Shawn came in and just dressed him down and he chewed him out. And I believe [HBK] told [The Rock] to never do a top rope dropkick ever again because that was his move. That's what he was mad about. And then, he slammed the door and he walked out. The Rock was [deflated] because in those days, Shawn had a lot of weight. He was a pretty important guy for the company, a veteran guy kind of dressing him down like that, he was apologizing and said he didn't know, and he thought it would be OK."
Hart continued: "I remember the door closed after Shawn left and I said, 'That's bulls***. That's total bulls***.' I said, 'Nobody owns the dropkick off the top. You can do that. Owen does it all the time! Why doesn't he cut a promo on Owen?' I said, 'They're just busting your chops and they're trying to work on you.'"
It's worth noting that Hart also spoke about how Triple H and The Rock had their own moments of tension. However, a primary storyline in the latest episode is all about how Dwayne won Triple H over by learning to communicate better in the ring with his fellow wrestlers and not seem as though he's trying to steal the spotlight; their relationship is on far more solid ground by the end of the episode. The same can't be said for The Rock's relationship with "Chad Frost."
Whether Chad Frost is actually Shawn Michaels remains a mystery, however, as The Rock refuses to reveal the wrestler's identity in the episode and has remained silent on the issue on social media since the episode premiered, despite the buzz. Maybe more will come to light in future episodes of "Young Rock," which premiere on Friday nights on NBC at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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