Clash of the Titan

Chances are we’ve all seen Dwayne Johnson on the big (or little) screen, whether battling giant mutant sea creatures or emerging unscathed from a burning helicopter crash. But one local man had the pleasure to ogle The Rock’s historic biceps up close and personal.

Local bodybuilder Matt Wellbourn, 27, was a recent contestant on Johnson’s upcoming battle royale series, “The Titan Games.”

Local Titan Matthew Wellbourne

Although the show doesn’t officially air until Jan. 3, filming began in September in California. Set in a massive arena spanning some 6 acres, the series is billed as the next generation of the “American Gladiators/ Ninja” genre. The format is familiar: "Titans" are pitted against each other in a series of endurance-based mental and physical challenges of "epic proportions.”

The 10-episode series was inspired by Johnson’s desire to “motivate people to reach their full potential.” Each episode features “every day” contenders pushing themselves to the limit in unforgiving head-to-head challenges. The winner of each battle will move on to “Mount Olympus” to take on other contenders in the “biggest and most fierce challenge ever made.”

Wellbourn, who slings plates at Mutu’s when not lifting them at the gym, seems well-equipped for the task. At 5’10” and 220 pounds, this Flagstaff native has a background in track and cross country running, setting the record for the 4x800 at his high school. He also ran cross country at Fort Lewis College, where he graduated in 2010. Since graduating, Wellbourn has upped his bodybuilding game, winning his weight class at the Jay Cutler Desert Classic bodybuilding competition and best overall at the Clash of the Titans bodybuilding competition.

He also comes by his athletic chops honestly: his father was both an Olympic pole vaulter and flat-water kayaker.

“Matthew is very powerful and will be able to generate a lot of force,” reads his “Titan Games” bio. “He was very agile in the obstacle course for his size. Good upper body strength. Matt is more than just a great physique ... he’s an accomplished athlete and is here to prove just how good of an athlete he is.”

To find out just how good, tune into NBC at 8 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 3. And even if we knew the results (which we don’t), we’re not sayin.’ No one wants to suffer the wrath of The Rock.

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