- Dwayne Johnson, known as The Rock, made a surprise return on Friday evening
- Johnson confronted Austin Theory, with Pat McAfee also involved in the skit
- He has hinted at a possible clash with his real-life cousin Roman Reigns next year
The Rock’s surprise appearance on SmackDown last Friday resulted in a huge increase in the show’s viewership.
Dwayne Johnson, who rose to fame as The Rock in the WWE before making the move to Hollywood, appeared in Denver and received a rapturous ovation as he took on Austin Theory in the ring.
He had appeared on the Pat McAfee Show earlier in the day when he announced a WrestleMania 40 match against his real-life cousin Roman Reigns, and surprised the crowd when he appeared on WWE programming for the first time since 2019.
He joined McAfee in the ring and defeated Theory before becoming involved in a backstage segment with former rival John Cena and also posing for photos with other stars backstage.
Accordingly Post wrestlingJohnson’s performance led to a huge increase in ratings for the show and, in addition to the reception he received in the arena, also sparked millions of online views.
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, made his first WWE appearance in three years to take on Austin Theory (right) in the ring
Johnson had appeared on the Pat McAfee Shows in Denver earlier Friday
SmackDown was the second-largest audience for the show this year and ranked first among sports shows in the United States on Friday nights.
The only episode that attracted more viewers was the first broadcast after Bray Wyatt’s death on August 25th.
Compared to the previous week, there was a 23 percent increase in viewership, while the number of male viewers aged 18 to 49 increased from 442,000 to 614,000 and the number of female viewers aged 18 to 49 increased from 250,000 to 304,000 .
Meanwhile, adults ages 35 to 49 increased their viewership 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 audience and later thanked fans on his X account for welcoming him to SmackDown
Johnson defeated Theory before delivering the famous “people’s elbow strike” on the former US champion
Johnson has announced a match with his real-life cousin Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 next year
Footage of Johnson’s return was viewed over 100 million times on social media in just one day.
On YouTube, a video of the entire return segment has been viewed 4,600,000 times, while the WWE video for X has been viewed over 8.6 million times.
Commenting on the stats on X, Johnson posted: “I’ll raise a glass to breaking records together.”
“Thank you for the unforgettable memory (and the audience’s crazy reaction). There’s no place like home.’