By Zane Bhansali

Esports fans tuning into Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's new show on NBC, "The Titan Games," may be surprised to see a familiar face: Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez, who is more likely as a commentator for "Overwatch" or "Halo" than for an athletic obstacle gauntlet.

Goldenboy's appearance on "Titan Games" marks one of the first times that an esports commentator has crossed over to mainstream entertainment. “It was very humbling to see that they had appreciated what I did," Goldenboy told Cheddar Sports.

"Titan Games," which premiered Jan. 3, caps off a stellar year for Goldenboy that includes 57 different events casted across 18 different games. He attributes that growth to an increased acceptance of esports as a fully-fledged industry in its own right.

“I think as a whole the industry has just really trended upwards as far as acceptance with mainstream media," Goldenboy said. "We’ve started to push away the stereotypes ... Now, more and more people are starting to accept that this is an industry, a growing industry, a business that has tons and tons of eyeballs and ears that are just glued to every little bit of content."

One of the things that Goldenboy said was most enjoyable about working on "Titan Games" was the production's understanding of the ways in which esports sets itself apart, right down to the gamer tags. When he asked if it would be "ridiculous" to go by his tag on the show, he said the showrunners responded, "No! That’s who you are. That’s your brand, we want that."

"If [Johnson] can go as 'The Rock,' then I can go as Goldenboy."

That homegrown sense of fun and levity is what Goldenboy says makes esports unique ー and what will draw in new audiences.

“What’s so great about this is, you don’t need any formal training, you don’t need a degree. I’m not very smart,” he laughed.

He's critical of attempts to grow esports by forcing it to fit a traditional sports model, and of cynical corporate attempts to capitalize on the industry boom.

"If you’re not having fun, people are going to sniff that out right away," Goldenboy said. "That is the raw character that makes video games and esports so amazing. When you try to corporatize it, you lose all of that. As long as we're entertaining and everyone's having fun, I think that resonates with the audience."