SmackDown Results: The Rock Returns

Photo Courtesy: WWE

September 15, 2023
Ball Arena – Denver, CO

By: John Kleinchester


The Rock (and Pat McAfee) Return

The first SmackDown of the TKO Era kicked off with Pat McAfee making his return and Michael Cole nearly losing his mind and voice simultaneously. McAfee got on the mic and explained he was working just an hour up the road and had to make the trip. He was swiftly interrupted by Austin Theory, McAfee’s WrestleMania opponent. Theory said that he’s 26 and he’s everywhere and when McAfee was 26 he was just on a mugshot. Theory said they had unfinished business and he would drop McAfee in just a few seconds. McAfee said that he was “currently enjoying the local laws here” in Colorado and didn’t want to fight. He said this was the people’s show and with that, The Rock’s music hit to an incredible pop.

The Rock got in the ring and the crowd chanted “holy sh*t” which was censored on the Fox broadcast. Austin Theory attempted to start running The Rock down but Rock told him to “shut his bitch ass up”. Austin Theory responded by saying “The Rock and Austin back in the ring one last time” and insulted Stone Cold Steve Austin. Rock took offense to that and said he may be from A-Town but he’s an A-Hole and then got the crowd to chant “You Are An A**hole” which was again heavily censored. Theory attacked The Rock but Rock quickly reversed, hit the spinebuster and The People’s Elbow to another huge pop. Then Pat McAfee hit a People’s Elbow of his own to end the segment. 

AJ Styles vs Finn Bálor

The first match of the night saw AJ Styles taking on Judgment Day’s Finn Bálor. The commentary team explained that Rhea Ripley was not with her team because she wasn’t cleared after being attacked by Nia Jax on Raw and that Luke Gallows was out injured as well – although neither Karl Anderson nor Michin accompanied AJ either. Both Damien Priest and Dominik Mysterio got involved behind the ref’s back allowing Bálor to gain an advantage. Styles then took out Dominik and Priest attempted to grab Styles’ leg leading to the pair being ejected by the referee. Jimmy Uso then appeared from the crowd nailing Styles behind the ref’s back allowing Bálor to pick up the victory with a Crucifix Pin.

The Rock and John Cena

The Rock and Pat McAfee were in the back applauding themselves for the chant they got the crowd to do when John Cena appeared and shook The Rock’s hand and gave him a hug, welcoming him home. 

Jimmy / Finn

Jimmy Uso told Finn Bálor that what he did was payback for what Judgment Day did for him last week. Finn said that he saw Jimmy’s brother Jey on Monday and then proposed that both Jimmy and Jey should join them. Finn then said that the good thing about Judgment Day was there was no leader aka no Roman. Paul Heyman appeared in the background just as Jimmy didn’t say no to Finn’s proposal. 

Rey Gets a Challenger

Rey Mysterio said that the LWO picked him up after he went through trauma recently, referring to his feud with his son Dominik. Mysterio said that the LWO was his real family. Santos Escobar got on the mic and said that he was happy that Mysterio took the match and won the United States title but that his dream has always been to face Rey with a title on the line. Rey teased being upset by the request but then accepted gleefully.

Suddenly, Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits appeared and said that their taking over was going to be easier than he imagined. Joaquin Wilde & Cruz del Toro got on the mic and challenged them to a match. As we returned from commercial, a match between Wilde & del Toro and the Street Profits was already underway. The Profits won with “The Revelation” in about three minutes. After the match, Lashley instructed the Profits to attack their vanquished opponents and LWO made the save. Lashley then attacked Escobar and Dawkins punched Rey Mysterio. 

LA Knight vs The Miz

Next up was LA Knight taking on The Miz. Early on Miz gouged Knight’s eyes behind the referee’s back gaining the advantage. Miz then executed Danielson-style kicks and a Busaiku Knee to Knight who kept kicking out of everything that Miz threw at him. Knight then made a comeback and hit the BFT for the victory. After the match, he got on the mic and said he was coming for gold and it didn’t matter if it was Rey Mysterio, Gunther, Seth Rollins, or Roman Reigns. He finished up by saying “It isn’t just a catchphrase. I’m easily top two and I’m not number two”. Solo Sikoa and Roman Reigns were revealed to be watching in the back and Sikoa wanted to go after Knight but Heyman said he didn’t get that order from Reigns to do that yet and their focus should be on Jimmy Uso. Solo said, “I already know what I need to do and I’m going to finish this tonight”. Heyman was flabbergasted and asked “Who gave that order?!” and went to call Roman.


Pretty Deadly Pretty Soon

Pretty Deadly approached Adam Pearce backstage and Elton Prince said he was a shell of his former self and blamed Ridge Holland for his injury. Pearce asked why Prince was in a wheelchair if it was his shoulder that was injured. They said with the proper training regiment they would be back in no time and concluded with a round of “Yes Boy”s with Prince using his arm/shoulder emphatically. 

The Main Event (Wrestling Version)

Backstage Bayley was telling Dakota Kai that Iyo has to beat Asuka next week. Kai said that Bayley was the one who had to show up against Asuka tonight and then brought up how Bayley’s been too distracted by Charlotte lately. The match went back and forth, eventually spilling out of the ring. Bayley was about to attack Asuka up against the barricade when Shotzi appeared in the crowd, scaring Bayley and allowing Asuka to sneak up and pick up the win with a backslide. 

The Main Event (Talking Version)

The last segment of the night was The Grayson Waller Effect with guest John Cena. Waller said that Cena needed some advice as he has been stealing the spotlight of late and chided him for being just a referee at Payback. Waller claimed that while Cena is the greatest of all time, he knew that he didn’t want to be an in-ring competitor anymore. Cena was about to respond when Jimmy Uso’s music hit. Jimmy said that no one wants Cena here and that if he tries to embarrass him again like he did two weeks ago he would take him out. Then Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman came down to the ring and got in Cena’s face only to turn around and grab Jimmy. But then he doubled back and superkicked Cena. Jimmy tried to shake his hand but instead started beating on Cena. This brought out AJ Styles to even the odds and the faces ran off the heels with Cena hitting the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Jimmy. Heyman was on the phone with Roman and seemingly got the order to save Jimmy from the Attitude Adjustment to which Sikoa complied as the show went off the air.


Announced for SmackDown Next Week in Glendale, AZ

  • WWE Women’s Championship: Iyo Sky vs. Asuka
  • Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar vs The Street Profits

Friday Night SmackDown Results:

  • Finn Bálor over AJ Styles in 8:29
  • Street Profits over Joaquin Wilde & Cruz del Toro in 2:58 (estimated)
  • LA Knight over The Miz in 11:33
  • Asuka over Bayley in 8:58
About John Kleinchester 159 Articles
New Jersey born and raised. Wrestling fan since Lex slammed Yokozuna on the deck of the USS Intrepid. Favorite Wrestler of all time is Owen "The Rocket" Hart.