Watch Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Return to 'Smackdown' After Four Years and Hit the People’s Elbow

The Rock's appearance comes after he revealed he's open to facing his cousin Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 next year.

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Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has finally come back home to the WWE with a shocking return on Friday Night Smackdown

On the Sept. 15 broadcast, sports analyst and former Smackdown commentator Pat McAfee opened the show with WWE superstar Austin Theory, where they got into a back-and-forth banter. After Theory claimed Friday Night Smackdown was now renamed Austin Theory Live, The Rock, who inspired the wrestling show, shocked the world.

As soon as McAfee told Theory that neither Smackdown nor "the people" would ever be his own, The Rock's "If You Smell" entrance song blared through the arena speakers, causing everyone to get out of their seats.

Theory eventually tried to one-up the 10-time heavyweight champion, but The Rock showed he still had the gift of gab on the microphone. "You clearly don't know how all this works," said The Rock as he removed his gear to get more comfortable and hit his "Finally!" catchphrase. 

Austin Theory tried once again to overpower the 51-year-old vocally, but his attempts went down the drain as The Rock worked him in a way that had the crowd going nuts. 

"So you see the roof just blew off the place because we are live and as The Rock said this is The Rock, it's Smackdown and it's The Rock's show," he said. "You're Austin Theory, right. You're from A-Town is that right? Well there's something else I'm damn right about is you're clearly are an A-hole." 

🗣️ HELL YEAH!@_Theory1 might have just signed his own death warrant 😳#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) September 16, 2023
Twitter: @WWE

The Rock then led the audience into calling Theory an asshole before the former United States champion lost his cool and attacked Rocky. It didn't take long for The Rock to retaliate and hit Theory with a spinebuster and his finishing move, The People's Elbow.


A People's Elbow from @TheRock AND @PatMcAfeeShow!!!#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) September 16, 2023
Twitter: @WWE

Pat McAfee also had some fun by hitting Theory with a version of the People's Elbow. The Rock's appearance on Friday Night Smackdown comes after he did an interview on the Pat McAfee Show on Friday and revealed he is "open" to taking on his cousin Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40.

Johnson also confirmed the highly-anticipated match was supposed to happen at WrestleMania 39. He had a verbal agreement with WWE chairman Vince McMahon and president Nick Khan in early 2022, but there was no direction on where the storyline would go following the bout.

The Rock wanted the match to be the start of an extended storyline, but the match was called off as officials couldn't figure out a plan. Cody Rhodes ended up taking on Reigns at WrestleMania 39 in a losing effort. 

Fans are waiting to see what The Rock's shocking appearance on Smackdown could lead to. Johnson stopped working full-time with WWE in 2003, and although he had a match at WrestleMania 20 in 2004, fans wouldn't see him perform in the ring for seven years. 

He returned in 2011 and sparked up a rivalry with John Cena, first beating him at WrestleMania 28. The Rock then defeated CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble 2013, then lost it to Cena at WrestleMania 29.

The Rock and Cena also embraced backstage during tonight's episode, signaling everything is all good (for now).

"Welcome home"

What a moment between @TheRock and @JohnCena 🙌#SmackDown

— WWE (@WWE) September 16, 2023
Twitter: @WWE

The Rock has had sporadic appearances in WWE, with one of the last times being at the Royal Rumble in 2015, where he tried to help Reigns win the crowd over. However, fans at the time despised Reigns, and The Rock also received boos. 

In 2019, The Rock returned to Smackdown to help usher in its premiere on Fox and to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary.

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