The Rock surprises with return to WWE SmackDown in segments with John Cena, Pat McAfee

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena unexpectedly crossed paths more than 10 years after their legendary set of WrestleMania matches. The face-to-face took place Friday night on WWE SmackDown following surprise appearances by The Rock and Pat McAfee in the show’s opening segment.

McAfee, who previously worked as a WWE commentator and part-time wrestler, opened the show without prior advertisement. McAfee was cut off by former United States champion Austin Theory, leading to a verbal back and forth. The brash, young Theory found himself at a disadvantage after McAfee introduced the evening’s second surprise, The Rock.

The Rock verbally tore into Theory, leading the crowd in a prolonged chant of “you’re an asshole” directed at Theory. The cocky superstar reached his boiling point and attacked. The Rock planted Theory with his signature spinebuster followed by a People’s Elbow. He then invited McAfee to put his own spin on the People’s Elbow.

Later backstage, The Rock embraced Cena, similarly a multi-time WWE champion turned actor. The former rivals headlined WrestleMania 28 and WrestleMania 29, going 1-1 in the two matches.

“Welcome home”

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

— WWE (@WWE) September 16, 2023
Earlier Friday, the “Black Adam” actor appeared on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Johnson confirmed there were plans for a match between The Rock and Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39 that fell through. He also suggested it was possible he would fight Reigns at WrestleMania 40 next April in Philadelphia.

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