Backyard wrestling show

There’s an entire generation that might only know Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a movie star, but the former professional wrestler seems to be going out of his way to be involved in wrestling-adjacent projects these days. He produced and appeared in last year’s Fighting With My Family, he has a show about his early wrestling days called Young Rock in development at NBC, and now he’s teaming up with Insecure star Issa Rae to executive produce a backyard wrestling show for HBO.

According to Variety, the half-hour series is currently called TRE CNT (aka TRE COUNT) and it’s written by Mohamad El Masri, who has written for shows like HBO’s Here and Now and Netflix’s October Faction and is a supervising producer on the upcoming CIA agent show for AppleTV+ that stars Brie Larson. But what is TRE CNT about? Variety has the answer:

The series focuses on Cassius Jones, a young dock worker and struggling pro-wrestler, who uses inherited life-insurance money for start-up cash and the deed to a shotgun house from his grandfather to start a hip-hop centric backyard wrestling empire in Houston’s Third Ward (The Tre) with the help of his working-class family, neighbors, and friends.

For those who don’t have any familiarity with wrestling, the show’s title has a dual meaning: not only does it refer to the area of Houston where the show takes place, but it’s also referencing a “three count,” the length of time a wrestler must pin his or her opponent to win a match. One imagines the subject matter – a wrestler with a hard-scrabble upbringing – was attractive to Johnson, who lived that reality himself before becoming one of the biggest professional wrestlers in history.

Johnson and Rae both have history with HBO (with Ballers and Insecure, respectively), as does El Masri, but that’s not the only HBO connection that’s coming into play here. Judah Miller, who’s co-producing Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island, executive produced the HBO comedy Crashing, and worked as a consulting producer on HBO’s Vice Principals, will serve as the showrunner on TRE CNT, which I suspect will get a new title before it premieres.

Johnson’s Netflix movie Red Notice had to alter its production plan when the coronavirus pandemic kicked in, and his upcoming Disney film Jungle Cruise was pushed back to July 30, 2021. Rae starred in The Photograph earlier this year, and has another rom-com, The Lovebirds, coming to Netflix on May 22, 2020.

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