- Dwayne Johnson, better known as The Rock, made his surprising return on Friday evening
- Johnson confronted Austin Theory, with Pat McAfee also involved in the skit
- He has teased a possible match with real-life cousin Roman Reigns next year
The Rock’s surprise appearance on SmackDown last Friday led to a massive increase in viewership for the show.
Dwayne Johnson, made famous as The Rock in WWE before his leap to Hollywood, showed up in Denver to a rapturous ovation as he confronted Austin Theory in the ring.
He had appeared on the Pat McAfee show earlier in the day when he teased a WrestleMania 40 match against real-life cousin Roman Reigns, surprising the crowd when he came to WWE programming for the first time since 2019.
He joined McAfee in the ring and eliminated Theory before getting involved in a backstage segment with former rival John Cena, as well as posing for photos backstage with other stars.
According to Post wrestlingJohnson’s performance led to a mega-surge in ratings for the show, which also led to millions of views online, matching the reception he received in the arena.
The Rock’s WWE return on Friday broke social media viewership records and gave the company a huge boost in viewership
The Hollywood star, real name Dwayne Johnson, appeared in WWE for the first time in three years to confront Austin Theory (right) in the ring
Johnson had appeared on The Pat McAfee Shows in Denver earlier in the day on Friday
SmackDown, which had the second-largest audience for the program this year, ranked first among sports programs in the United States on Friday night.
The only episode that attracted more viewers was the first show after Bray Wyatt’s death on August 25.
There was a 23 percent increase in viewership from the previous week, while the number of male viewers aged 18 to 49 rose from 442,000 to 614,000 and the number of female viewers aged 18 to 49 rose from 250,000 to 304,000.
Adults aged 35 to 49, meanwhile, increased their viewing figures from 446,000 to 590,000, a jump of 32 percent.
The first 30 minutes of the show, which featured The Rock, averaged 2,795,000 viewers.
He received a huge ovation from the crowd and later thanked fans for welcoming him to SmackDown on his X account
Johnson eliminated Theory before hitting his famous ‘The People’s Elbow move’ on the former United States Champion
Johnson has teased a match with real-life cousin Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 next year
On social media, footage of Johnson’s return was viewed more than 100 million times in just one day.
On YouTube, a video of the entire segment of the return has been viewed 4,600,000 times, while WWE’s video on X has been viewed more than 8.6 million times.
Johnson commented on the stats on X, writing, “I will raise a glass to break records together.
‘Thank you for the unforgettable memory (and amazing reaction from the audience). There’s no place like home.’