SmackDown had a double dose of Hollywood royalty as Dwayne ‘’ Johnson and bookended a special show.
On a night that opened with (more on that below), he shared an emotional moment backstage with his longtime rival as Cena welcomed him ‘home’.
However, Cena had to turn elsewhere for help by the end of the evening when he nearly found himself on the wrong end of a beatdown from The Bloodline.
The 16-time world champion was a guest on The Grayson Waller Effect, reigniting his feud with the loudmouth Aussie two months after they in ’s arena.
Waller insisted Cena hasn’t been the same since he earlier this year, and the greatest of all time looked ready to lay him out before Jimmy Uso hit the ring.
He told the champ to get out, but Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman came down, with the latter teasing hitting Jimmy with a Samoan Spike only to hit Cena with a thrust kick.
The Bloodline’s Enforcer and Jimmy went on the attack before AJ Styles made the save, sending Sikoa flying with Cena following up with a Five Knuckle Shuffle on Jimmy.
This was a great way to end the show, and hints at a blockbuster tag team match as the returning legend looks to be getting physical during this latest comeback run.
The Rock and Pat McAfee lay the SmackDown on Austin Theory
The night kicked off in style with Pat McAfee and Austin Theory’s exchange giving way to Dwayne Johnson as The Rock made a surprise return and ran down the former United States Champion.
The legendary wrestler turned Hollywood star took no prisoners as he hit his catchphrases and roasted Theory like only The Rock can.
In the end, things got physical as the Great One hit a Spinebuster and People’s Elbow combination, before encouraging McAfee to hit Theory with one of his own.
In the first match of the night, AJ Styles and Finn Balor delivered a great bout despite attempted interference from Judgment Day members Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio.
However, Jimmy Uso – who seemed tempted by the idea of joining the sinister group – did get involved, leading to Balor’s big win.
The Latino World Order – Rey Mysterio, Santos Escobar, Zelina Vega, Cruz Del Toro, and Joaquin Wilde – hit the ring together, with their segment leading to Escobar respectfully challenging the Hall of Famer to a match for the United States Titles.
They were interrupted by Bobby Lashley and the Street Profits, leading to a tag match as Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins dominated Del Toro and Wilde.
They went on the attack after the bell, with the Profits showing their renewed villainous attitude alongside the All Mighty.
LA Knight defeated The Miz again in another great showcase for the megastar, who continuous to get wild reactions from the fans each and every week.
After the bell, Knight insisting he was gunning for gold, whether that’s at the expense of GUNTHER, Rey Mysterio, Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns.
Backstage, Sikoa asked Paul Heyman if they were targeting Knight, but the Wiseman urged him to focus on Jimmy Uso unless Roman Reigns gives the orders.
Pretty Deadly’s Elton Prince and Kit Wilson continued to tease their comeback , before Asuka beat Bayley in another strong match.
There was also some interference here, as Shotzi distracted the Damage CTRL leader to help the Empress of Tomorrow to victory.
WWE SmackDown airs Friday nights at 1am on TNT Sports 1.
WWE SmackDown results and grades - September 15, 2023
- Finn Balor pinned AJ Styles (B+)
- The Street Profits beat Cruz del Toro and Joaquin Wilde (C+)
- LA Knight defeated The Miz (B)
- Asuka beat Bayley (B)