This week's blockbuster episode of SmackDown saw a significant boost in the ratings, thanks no doubt to the appearances of John Cena & The Rock.

In the opening segment, the Brahma Bull returned to the blue brand for the first time in years to confront Austin Theory. After being cheapshotted by the former U.S. Champion, The Rock would turn the table and both he and Pat McAfee (also returning) would level Theory with a duo of People's Elbows.

In the closing segment, Cena continued his return tour of WWE as the guest on The Grayson Waller Effect. The segment would be interrupted by Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa and would conclude with Cena and ally AJ Styles standing tall. Cena and Styles would be partners in tag-team competition after the show.

Fightful reports that this week's SmackDown drew 2.445 million viewers in the preliminary numbers, up 24% from the 1.969 million viewers in the preliminary numbers from the previous week's episode.

Friday's SmackDown also drew 834,000 viewers in the pivotal 18-49 demographic, up 36% from the September 8, episode.

The Rock and Cena would also prove their drawing prowess on YouTube with four of the top five most-viewed videos from SmackDown featuring one or both of the former WWE World Champions. They are:

  • FULL SEGMENT - The Rock returns to dismantle Austin Theory (3.1 Million views)
  • The Rock comes face-to-face with John Cena (1.4 Million views)
  • The Rock and John Cena highlight wild SmackDown (922,000 views)
  • The Rock’s electrifying entrance (693,000 views)
  • Santos Escobar asks Rey Mysterio for a title opportunity (340,000 views)

The Rock has left the door wide open for a match at WrestleMania 40 in April 2024.