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5-star confrontation: The Rock's missed WWE SmackDown opportunity with Austin Theory

The Rock makes triumphant return to WWE Smackdown after merger with Endeavor, confronts Austin Theory, missed opportunity to confront other stars.

In a monumental moment, The Rock made his triumphant return to WWE Smackdown, marking the first show after WWE's merger with Endeavor. The electrifying former WWE Champion joined forces with the charismatic Pat McAfee, who also made his return, to engage in a verbal battle with Austin Theory. McAfee kick-started the show, but unfortunately, Theory crashed the segment, dampening McAfee's comeback.

As the three icons stood in the ring, McAfee and The Great One rallied the live crowd to chant derogatory words at the former United States Champion. While The Rock's return was undoubtedly a sight to behold for many fans, one might question whether it would have made more sense for him to confront a different SmackDown star. The Great One had a plethora of options to choose from, including five other prominent stars.

The Rock, a member of the illustrious Samoan Bloodline family, stands as the most renowned figure among his relatives. Alongside the likes of Yokozuna, Rikishi, Afa, and Sika, the Anoa'i Family has established itself as wrestling royalty, consistently at the forefront of WWE for the past three years. However, cracks began to appear in their united front after the Usos lost the Undisputed Tag Team titles at WrestleMania 39. Jey Uso severed ties with the group, while Jimmy has wavered back and forth.

Instead of confronting Austin Theory, The Rock could have chosen to face Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa, considering their familial ties. This sudden appearance would have held logical significance and added an intriguing layer to the storyline. Confronting Roman Reigns, the Universal Champion and the leader of the Samoan Bloodline, would have been an even more monumental moment. However, Reigns was not scheduled to make an appearance on that particular episode.

If the aim was to maintain real-life continuity, The Rock could have engaged in a confrontation with Grayson Waller, rather than John Cena. Waller has persistently called out The Great One on social media and in interviews, making him a prime candidate for an intense showdown. As the opening segment lasted nearly 20 minutes, it would have been the perfect opportunity for a talk show-style segment, where both the host and guests could showcase their mic skills. The People's Champion and Grayson Waller possess the charisma and verbal prowess to captivate the audience.

Another potential candidate for The Rock's attention could have been LA Knight, who has received recognition from WWE Legends since joining the main roster. Knight had the privilege of sharing the ring with Bray Wyatt and the Undertaker during the build-up to the Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble. Furthermore, he emerged victorious against The Miz at Payback, with John Cena serving as the special guest referee. Although Knight initially hesitated to accept Cena's approval, the moment of triumph was solidified as Cena proudly raised Knight's hand in victory. Interacting with The Rock would have further elevated Knight's status and added to his impressive list of encounters with Legends.

With Roman Reigns absent from SmackDown, WWE seized the opportunity to amplify the star power by featuring both The Great One and John Cena on the same episode. Cena was already advertised to appear on the Grayson Waller Effect, and he and Waller had a heated confrontation at Money in the Bank in London over the summer. Given the rich history between Cena and The Rock, it would have made perfect sense to have an in-ring segment with the two legends. This segment could have involved stars like LA Knight and Grayson Waller, creating a captivating dynamic. Although Cena and The Rock had a brief face-to-face encounter backstage, it left fans yearning for more.

In conclusion, The Rock's return to WWE Smackdown after the merger with Endeavor was a monumental moment in professional wrestling. While his confrontation with Austin Theory was entertaining, there were several other potential candidates for The Great One to engage with. The familial ties with Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa, the ongoing feud with Grayson Waller, and the opportunity to further elevate LA Knight's status were all viable options. Additionally, an in-ring segment involving The Rock and John Cena, two iconic figures with a storied history, would have been a dream come true for fans. The electrifying energy and star power brought by these legendary individuals made for an unforgettable episode of Smackdown.

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