Dwayne Johnson knows how to hit the notes that sell a narrative, and his talent is on full display as he promotes the story of the 2022 XFL Draft. First, The Rock makes it personal, telling how back in the mid-90s he had his own draft moment, waiting for a call from an NFL executive that never came.
Funny how well disappointment can turn out — that’s the moral of the story, as it often is with Johnson (see Young Rock). Johnson would hardly be The Rock you know today if the Dolphins or Raiders had drafted him back then.
Johnson also hammers home the sense of loyalty and the poignant passage of time, as he reminds fans that the current CEO of XFL Football, Dany Garcia, was with him in the room decades ago waiting for the call that never came. (Garcia, of course, became his wife, his ex-wife, and then his manager — Johnson does things differently.)
And The Rock, as usual, throws in the perfect humorous grace note, too, saying the only call he got then was from his grandmother asking if he’d been drafted yet.
But it’s not just the personal touch that makes Johnson a pro, it’s the production. The dramatic moment of being drafted into a professional sports league is personified by the real life characters Johnson features, in the form of the coaches, and the drama is heightened by the perfectly chosen George Thorogood cover of Bo Diddley’s classic “Who Do You Love?”
Not only does Thorogood’s pitiless beat frame the action, but the question the song asks is the very question, of course, that the teams answer when they make their selections. They are revealing who they love.
Here is Thorogood performing his most badass song on stage in 1984 with music legend John Hammond. You’ll notice that, as in the XFL and as with Johnson and Garcia, it’s team effort.