SmackDown 1000 has come and gone, and while the show was jam-packed full of “surprise” appearances (that they announced beforehand), recaps, cameos and title changes, there was one very notable absence, and it just so happens to be the man who’s catchphrase spawned the name of the show: big ol’ Rocky boy himself, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Dave Scherer from PW Insider has speculated that The Rock didn’t appear on SmackDown 1000 partially due to the upcoming Crown Jewel pay per view. On their podcast, Scherer theorized that the Rock wouldn’t have wanted to risk his reputation as association with WWE right now could turn out to be a career hurdle.
Scherer’s speculation has merit. The Rock isn’t just an actor, he’s a universally popular actor. He’s done adult shows like Ballers, and children’s movies such as Maui in Disney’s Moana. Rock’s public reputation at this point has been apolitical. Neutral. It could hurt him by association to appear on SmackDown in the middle of WWE’s current PR nightmare. The last thing Rock needs is to have his name in stories alongside the words “murder of a journalist”.
Rumors are swirling that some WWE performers and crew are against taking part in the show given the accusations or murder and dismemberment levied against their partners.
Linda McMahon’s position within U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet complicates the situation further. This places WWE into a delicate situation where a decision to go or not could be disastrous. Holding the show, or cancelling it, will have political fallout no matter what WWE decides to do. No wonder the Rock would want to distance himself.