Joseph Lee Anderson of Young Rock discusses What Business episode

Pro Wrestling Post sat down with one of the multi-talented stars of NBC’s hit sitcom Young Rock, Joseph Lee Anderson who plays Rocky Johnson, ahead of the premiere of tonight’s episode of Seasons 2, “What Business?” The episode focuses on the beginnings of The Rock getting into the ring for the first time, and the bumps and bruises he encounters along the way. It also keys in on the father and son dynamic with The Rock learning the ropes and how to bounce off of them from his father Rocky Johnson himself in this very episode.

Zachary Perez (@ZachOnTheRopes) discussed with Joseph Lee Anderson prior to the debut of the episode tonight on NBC a variety of topics, ranging from of course the episode, Young Rock, The Rock himself, the world of wrestling, training, and more. There will be more coverage of Young Rock from Pro Wrestling Post in the near future including a follow-up with a full video of this interview and much more to come so stay tuned! Full transcription of the interview is below.

Zachary Perez: “Hello, I am Zachary Perez here for Pro Wrestling Post. I am very excited to be interviewing, from NBC’s hit Sitcom Young Rock, Joseph Lee Anderson who stars as The Rock’s father, Rocky Johnson. Thanks for being here with me, how are you today?”

Joseph Lee Anderson
Young Rock — “Forward Together” Episode 103 — Pictured: Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Joseph Lee Anderson: “I’m good man, thanks for having me.”

Z: “The Rock is pretty famous for his cheat meal posts on Instagram, and I happened to see the other day he was giving you some praise for the post you had, you know, your 600-pound deadlift. You know you’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard. So did you end up taking his advice and rewarding yourself for that really pretty amazing 600-lb lift?”

JLA: “I definitely did, I went and got some bbq ribs and some fries and some cheesecake. It was nice”

Z: “Oh yeah, so you really went all out you absolutely have to when you’re hitting the gym that hard right?”

JLA: “Mhm, you got to.”

Z: “Are you still working with Tim Hamilton in LA for your workouts?”

Joseph Lee Anderson: “I’m not, he’s still a really good friend of mine. This year I’ve been working with Aisha Mian she’s been helping me with my nutrition and different workouts things like that.”

Z: “It definitely seems like it’s working man, the results are there. You definitely play the part of the pro wrestler you’ve got that classic muscular powerhouse build, it shows off the work is there man.”

JLA: “Thank you!”

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Z: “You had said previously you had put on about 30 lbs of muscle around season 1 if I had gotten my research right, but it seems like you have stacked up even more since then, any more changes to your routine since around Season 1?”

JLA: “I think this season I tried to be a little more leaner than last season, I’m not eating as much as I was last season because that was just so much food. And it’s really hard. People think eating all that would be fun, but it, it is not fun.”

Z: “Definitely, it starts to catch up with you as the days go on right?”

JLA: “It’s real tough.”

Z: “The episode of Young Rock premiering tomorrow night kind of focuses a lot on that hard work and training in the gym that it takes to be a pro wrestler. Was this role a unique challenge to you due to the fact you had to train and prepare both as an actor and as a pro wrestler for the role?”


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YOUNG ROCK — “Unprecedented Fatherhood” Episode 201 — Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Antuone Torbert as Tony Atlas — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC) March 15, 2022

JLA: “I’ve always been in the gym, and for a lot of time I would get told that I was too big for certain roles so this was nice when this role came around that I wasn’t big enough! So I had to really get big and had to really put on some size, so that was fun, I wouldn’t say challenging it was definitely fun.”

Z: “That’s great, I know you as a kid were pretty interested in wrestling so it must have been interesting to have that background of being a fan as a youth and kind of being able to approach that in the gym and kind of have sort of a goal to work towards of knowing that you’re kind of in the gym getting those muscles for something you always wanted them for right?”

JLA: “Yeah man, it’s different than doing the moves on your little brother you know you actually are really doing ‘em I know how to do ‘em now.”

Z: “Oh yeah I remember there were plenty of times I knocked the wind out of my brother doing the Randy the Macho Man elbow off the top of the couch there were definitely some times I used my non-existent muscles back then to his disadvantage.”

Z: “Wrestling fans I think will be really excited to watch you know the journey coming up this week with The Rock’s, beginning his career. Getting the ropes learned from you and learning from his father, Rocky Johnson beginning this week. Did you kind of get any of those unique feelings and kind of a little bit of those butterfly feelings sort of getting in the ring and seeing the beginnings of those journeys of The Rock’s journey filming the episode this week?”

JLA: “This week, I feel like, I didn’t want to put…I think we really wanted to make sure everything was right with Uli. And really wanted to make sure The Rock was happy with how he was being portrayed in this episode because this was kind of a very pivotal, pivotal point in his journey. So it was definitely more so focused on Uli than myself I would say. Like I wasn’t you know I wasn’t asking like ‘hey how was Rocky doing this’ it was that…I was really letting Uli you know letting Uli have his space to really get this right.”

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YOUNG ROCK — “Unprecedented Fatherhood” Episode 201 — Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Antuone Torbert as Tony Atlas — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC) March 15, 2022

Z: “That makes sense. And when you were in there kinda taking the bumps with him and everything like that I notice there was a really kind of intense scene that you both shared where you both were kind of trading the moments between kind of face and heel where you’re both kind of shifting the two sides of it. Did you kind of go through that and did you work on that with that in any training was that something you guys put any extra work in?”

Joseph Lee Anderson: “Yeah, you know with Chavo (Guerrero) he coordinated everything got everything looking right. I think if I can remember correctly one note, that DJ (The Rock) did give is that he, when Pat was like ‘Can you turn heel?’ And then he was like ‘yeah’ he came out so fast and just like raining hellfire on Rocky so like I was…I’m not gonna lie when I saw that little shift in Uli’s eyes like I was terrified man and I just kept my hands and just covered up and everything like please don’t hurt me.”

Z: “As a wrestling fan, man I’ve gotta say the selling shone through there, I really believed it. And to see that shift, it really did give you that sense of believability and kind of seeing that shining moment of what I loved as a fan of The Rock which was always the selling. Which was always something that kind of put him over that next level was that something that kind of drew you towards The Rock as a wrestling fan as well?”

JLA: “I don’t even, it was just The Rock! He was just so cool! I was really young then, it was just like everybody loved The Rock he just had that swagger you know what I mean that everybody wanted.”

Z: “Absolutely, yeah. From the clothes to the persona I mean it’s just something unique. I don’t think there will ever be somebody quite the same as just, how, as unique as The Rock. Do you have any particular moment or match that sticks out as your favorite moment or match or anything that sticks out as maybe your top moment that you remember from your childhood as your favorite The Rock moment?”

JLA: “I think that sliding People’s Elbow he hit do you remember when he had the pants up, the shades, that oh man! That was, that was dope.”

Z: “The one with the extra slide, like gravity went away from him right?”

JLA: “The extra slide on it! The one with the church shoes them! That one.”

Z: “That was like time went completely away for a moment that was just unbelievable wasn’t it?”

JLA: “That was awesome, yeah.”

Z: “Now I know that you specifically connect more so to the Attitude Era of wrestling specifically, is there maybe anybody else that sticks out to you beyond The Rock that’s…somebody different from the Attitude Era that might not be a bigger name that sticks out from that era that you are a fan of?”

JLA: “I was a big Hardy Boyz fan Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy all of them. Like, yeah. I would always I don’t know why I would always pick Jeff Hardy when I was playing, like when I played the wrestling games like I picked Jeff Hardy.”

Z: “What wrestling game was your favorite? Just out of curiosity? What one pops to mind?”

JLA: “I don’t even remember. I just, it’s so long ago.”

Z: “I was a big Here Comes The Pain [fan], I was always Jeff Hardy and I would always spam as many SmackDowns as I could I’d get up on the top rope and I’d just be hitting the Swanton Bomb over and over and over.”

JLA: “Just all of ‘em!”

Z: “Yup! Speaking of the Attitude Era, as a fan of Matt and Jeff Hardy specifically, I was actually thinking of them when I wrote up some questions for you, did you happen to see at all their reuniting in AEW at all, do you have any thoughts about that?”

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YOUNG ROCK — “Unprecedented Fatherhood” Episode 201 — Pictured: (above) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

JLA: “No I haven’t! I haven’t seen it.”

Z: “Oh ok, that’s definitely something I would love to, if it at all we ever reconnect in the future they happened to reunite in AEW now in their kind of twilight of their careers so that’s something that’s kind of happening in the news cycle now. So it’s definitely something that I’ve been keeping an eye on and I love as a big fan of the Hardy Boyz myself so that’s something pretty cool happening nowadays.”

JLA: “Oh okay, I gotta check that out.”

Z: “Definitely, and with such a focus on family speaking of that and specifically the father/son dynamic in the show, one of the other shows that it actually reminds me a lot of that I love myself is Everybody Hates Chris and that was one of the shows that I really loved and connected with because of kind of the father/son dynamic in that show. Were there any other shows or any other media you kind of drew any inspiration from with the father/son dynamics or any other TV or movies you drew inspiration from in that regard?”

JLA: “Honestly, no I didn’t. I just, because I don’t know, I don’t have any kids so I’m not, I don’t know what it’s like to be a father. But I just go into a different mode when we’re on set it just clicks and hopefully it works.” (laughs)

Z: “It does! I tell you, you know it’s so funny because when I watch I can see that connection you have. You definitely portray as a father figure role because it does kind of remind me of those different casting roles that I’ve seen in different sitcoms throughout history, and for whatever reason, that was one it definitely reminded me a lot of was Everybody Hates Chris because of the comedic timing, and some of the different things that I’ve seen in that so that’s definitely one of the ones that I’ve always laughed at and loved so that was…it just has a similar charm to it when I started watching Young Rock. So that was definitely one I picked up on.”

Z: “And in drawing on inspiration kind of from the real-life relationship of Rocky Johnson and The Rock, in my opinion, you seemed to have really encapsulated his desire of showing the best of his personality and whilst also showing the diversity of kind of his well-rounded personality as a whole. Also kind of both the bright and maybe also some of the darker sides as well. But also more shining a light on what made him really such a great personality, and what made him be such a trailblazer in the wrestling world. Did that come from a lot of conversations with The Rock about himself and his relationship with his father?”

Joseph Lee Anderson
Young Rock — “Forward Together” Episode 103 — Pictured: Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Joseph Lee Anderson: “Yeah we had a really good conversation back in season one and just telling me how larger than life his dad was. How his dad could make everyone feel like they could do literally anything he could make everybody feel like a million bucks and I just held onto that like more than anything. But when I portray Rocky it’s, it is a comedy so I was always told funny wins when it comes to comedy. I’ll pull from you know what The Rock told me, and then I might pull something that I heard my Dad do or seen my Dad do that I thought was funny. Or pull something from my uncle. It’s a lot of different things to come up and that helps me become Rocky.”

Z: “Speaking of conversations with The Rock, do you have anything a favorite quote or memorable moment with him from the show that you maybe want to share?”

Joseph Lee Anderson: “Well, we don’t actually film together we’re never on the same set. We shoot our stuff in Australia and they’ll shoot their stuff in the States. But I mean, the whole experience is still ah, like I’m in awe of it like I’m still shocked that it’s happening. Like I’m still shocked that yeah, I can hit up The Rock and like ‘hey, what was this like, what was that like’ you know what I mean. Work with him, and it’s just been such an awesome blessing to do this show and tell his story.”

Z: “Absolutely, and as you’ve kind of come along there must be some things you’ve kind of learned about The Rock and his journey that you haven’t known about him before. Is there anything that’s kind of been revealed along the way that has surprised you that has been something that is unique or something that is behind the scenes that is really surprising to you thus far?”

JLA: “Yeah, I didn’t know he was getting into trouble as much as he was and stealing, getting arrested I had no idea about any of that!”

Z: “Yeah it’s funny, I didn’t really realize as much of it as there was…you realize oh wow there is more to it. You get to see more of the person, which is what I think I’ve loved a lot as a fan of the show and I think that’s probably something you see even more of as a part of the cast. Is there something too, as far as anybody too as far as any members of the cast that are maybe the biggest wrestling fan, or biggest kind of mark as we like to say?”

JLA: “Mmm, I’m not sure. When we’re on set we’re not really, we don’t really talk about wrestling. Like we’re in the scene, we’re having fun but I think Adrian (Groulx) is a pretty big wrestling fan, little Adrian.”

Z: “With Stone Cold Steve Austin coming back at WrestleMania, do you happen to think with having any conversations with The Rock do you think that he is itching to maybe rehash things with Steve Austin at all you think he’s had any conversations you think, or maybe I’m just “daring to dream” again about another WrestleMania match?”

JLA: “Oh no, me and The Rock we don’t be talking like that! Like I…” (laughs)

Z: “I figured as much, I gotta drop a little bit every now and again to see what I can get you know.” (laughs)

JLA: “That’d be dope, but yeah he’s a busy man.”

Z: “Absolutely, now with the cast speaking on this season focusing on the wrestling more, has that reignited your passion as a fan of wrestling at all? During quarantine maybe some older wrestling or some newer wrestling, anything like that?”

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YOUNG ROCK — “Unprecedented Fatherhood” Episode 201 — Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Antuone Torbert as Tony Atlas — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Joseph Lee Anderson: “I think that everything that I watch is pretty much just Rocky matches. Whenever we were about do a match for different episodes, you know, Chavo would let me get the link I would get the link for the match. I would try to mimic Rocky as much as possible, but it’s all more learning for me watching it than anything.”

Z: “That makes sense. What would you say out of learning in terms of wrestling moves would you say there’s anything in particular that was really hard to add to your wrestling repertoire were there any moves that were really difficult to master while you were getting in the ring?”

JLA: “Maybe the…probably the hardest thing was the kip-up?”

Z: “I was gonna ask you if that was difficult because always just from a fan looking in that almost just looks near impossible.”

JLA: “I never did it until like he was like alright here’s what you gotta do. And that was probably the most challenging thing.”

Z: “That makes sense, yeah because just even for me I’ve got a bad back, a bad abdomen, you know what I mean just even trying to attempt to get off the couch is enough for me so you know that kip-up is not anywhere near it for me man.”

JLA: “Oh, it’s easy! You could do it, it’s easy.” (laughs)

Z: “Give me, six, eight months in the gym you know we’ll think about it after that. In my opinion, you have really shone on your role thus far on Young Rock and I am really excited to see more from you and just really to dig in and see what you have going forward as an actor and so can you tell me anything more about The Misadventures of Vince and Hick?”

Joseph Lee Anderson: “Oh, wow! That’s like new, new, new, like, like, fresh. We’re still trying to get that worked out. Yeah, my buddy Trevor Stevens that’s his new movie we’re doing. I met him when I did Alt, but I still know very little about the project that’s how early stages it’s in. Yeah!” (laughs)

Z: “I figured I was catching you pretty early I figured I wanted to see what I could get early on you know I like to see what you’ve got going kind of early on while you’re still kind of getting things going. So I wanted to see what kind of information you kind of had early on in things.”

Z: “But, now I don’t usually get political and I don’t want to shift things too political I don’t want to get things political. But I do just want to ask one political question if you don’t mind, just shift things a little bit that way. After watching the episode that comes out tomorrow I’m convinced, does The Rock have your vote for 2032?”

JLA: “Oh yeah, one hundred percent.”

Z: “Oh yeah one hundred percent. I’m convinced, man. Yeah, I could see the shift in your eyes I had you going there for a minute I could see it was taking a turn man.”

JLA: “The Rock as much as he has changed my life, he can do no wrong. The Rock, hey I am forever in his debt so.”

Z: “No, I’m with you one hundred percent. I’ve been loving the journey of watching everything going so far with Young Rock and I really feel like you guys have taken everything…from a fan perspective as a wrestling fan seeing both taking a sneak peek into The Rock’s life, seeing what you guys have done and who you have cast as the wrestlers have been great including yourself I think you’ve done an amazing job as Rocky Johnson.”

Z: “I really feel as if everything has been taken in a direction where wrestling fans can really appreciate it and really sink their teeth into it and from me having viewed this upcoming episode, I feel like people are really gonna love this journey that we’re taking to kinda see The Rock become The Rock and this first step is really, really exciting. Do you think that you know from your perspective, where do you see with the episodes coming up are there kind of hints you want to drop as to where things might be going for The Rock and going forward, and is Rocky Johnson going to be taking it easier or are the bumps stiffer for The Rock on things [ongoing] from here?”

Joseph Lee Anderson: “I don’t wanna spoil anything! You’re asking for a lot of…we’ll say there’s still some wrestlers that are gonna show up some new ones you haven’t seen yet. I’ll say that.”

Z: “Okay, that’s good enough for me man, I’m pressing you pretty good so that’s pretty good for me. I appreciate that. Well, I very much appreciate all the time you’ve given me here man and I won’t take up too much more of your time but I really appreciate it, thank you so much and hopefully, we’ll connect sometime down the line. And keep on deadlifting 600 lbs and I’ll keep trying to work on my kip-ups how’s that sound?”

JLA: “That sounds good brother, thanks man!”

To watch Zach and Joseph’s discussion click on the icon below.