WWE Rumors: ‘Friday Night SmackDown’ Premiere Reportedly Might Feature Long-Absent Legend

A photo of WWE's official company logo.
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He may be focusing far more on his career as a Hollywood megastar than the form of entertainment that first made him a household name. However, there’s reportedly a chance that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will show up on WWE television for the first time in three-and-a-half years as SmackDown Live officially becomes Friday Night SmackDown on its October 4 premiere on FOX.

In an article confirming FOX and WWE’s new sponsorship deal with insurance company Progressive for Friday Night SmackDown, AdAge noted on Tuesday that several WWE legends will be appearing on the show’s premiere episode, with the likes of Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, and Jerry Lawler mentioned. What stood out, however, was the publication’s tease suggesting that The Rock might be among the many iconic wrestlers from WWE’s past to usher in a new era for the blue brand.

“While many other opening night appearances are being kept under wraps, keep an eye peeled for the trash-talking Goliath who is now the WWE’s most storied alum, as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson may very well look to pop in on the 20th anniversary of ‘SmackDown’ and promote his upcoming Disney flick, ‘Jungle Cruise,'” wrote AdAge.

As separately reported by WrestlingNews.co, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has long suggested that there’s a chance The Rock will be appearing on the Friday Night SmackDown premiere, provided he can find some time off from his movie schedule. As the last update from Meltzer suggested that WWE was still negotiating with the box-office heavyweight, WrestlingNews.co speculated that The Rock may now be “locked in,” given what AdAge wrote earlier this week.

Erick Rowan (L) and The Rock (R) face off in the ring at WrestleMania 32.
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Should The Rock indeed show up on the first-ever Friday Night SmackDown on FOX, fans should not expect the 47-year-old wrestler-turned-actor to take part in any matches. In August, The Rock confirmed on Live with Kelly and Ryan that he had chosen to retire from pro wrestling without any fanfare because he feels “lucky enough to have just a really wonderful career and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish,” as quoted by The Sun.

The Rock’s last appearance on WWE programming was at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, where he announced the live audience figures for the night and took part in a segment with The Wyatt Family. Not long after insulting the villainous faction’s members, he took all of six seconds to defeat Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan in a contest that still stands as the shortest match in WrestleMania history.