The Rock Makes Deafening Return On WWE SmackDown, Delivers People's Elbow To Theory

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson returned (alongside Pat McAfee) to run down Austin Theory in Denver, Colorado on Friday night, and those in attendance at the "SmackDown" Hotel made a lot of noise for the returning People's Champion, who hadn't been seen on WWE television since 2019.


McAfee, who had appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" an hour away on ESPN and will co-host "College GameDay" from the same location on Saturday, made the journey to the Ball Arena to greet the WWE Universe, but was interrupted by former foe Austin Theory. After telling Theory he was just out there "enjoying the local laws," McAfee brought out The Rock, who had appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" earlier in the day, to an objectively earth-shaking ovation from the Denver crowd.

The Rock soaked in the crowd's adoration for a while before heading down the ring, taking off his jacket, and announcing that "The Rock has finally come back to Denver!" He soon had the crowd running down Theory as well, though those at home listened mostly to a muted broadcast as Fox opted to sensor the organic "holy s***" chants and somewhat less than organic "You're an a**hole" chants. Eventually, Theory tried to get the jump on Rock, but was denied and taken to the ground before the Hollywood star hit Theory with the People's Elbow. The Rock then gestured for McAfee, who had been dancing and observing in the corner for the segment, to hit a People's Elbow of his own. The pair celebrated in the ring while Theory was left laying.


In addition to his in-ring segment, Rock briefly encountered John Cena backstage, but as of this writing he has not been seen interacting with any current or former member of The Bloodline. During his "McAfee" appearance, Johnson said there had been plans for a match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39, and said he's open to a match with Reigns at WrestleMania 40. Johnson is also currently dealing with the Hollywood writers' strike and its impact on his broader media endeavors.