Real Reason WWE CENSORED The Rock

Why WWE made major edits to The Rock's SmackDown return promo last week.

The Rock WWE 2023

WWE's heavy edits to Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's return promo on last week's episode of SmackDown were a product of concerns over possible FFC violations, rather than WWE's longstanding TV-PG rating.

Fightful Select has reported as much. The outlet noted that being TV-PG doesn't actually prevent "foul language" on WWE programming, as the regulations aren't enforced in the same way as an MPAA rating for films or ESRB for video games.

Rock's in-ring promo with Austin Theory and Pat McAfee saw the returning legend lead chants of "you're an ***hole" against Theory, necessitating heavy censoring.


The comeback segment came completely out of the blue on Friday. Fightful notes, understandably, that WWE didn't list Rock's appearance on internal SmackDown rundowns.

The Rock was in a reflective mood when discussing the promo on X, posting:

I was - I’m still - completely blown away by this crowd reaction in Denver this past Friday night on SMACKDOWN. My appearance was a [100 emoji] surprise to everyone and this crowd of 14,000 erupted with the roar of 100,000 strong. Top 5 loudest crowd reaction of my career (which I was like “holy s***” when I walked out ) I’m so grateful and humbled by this. I never take it for granted and “coming home” will always be sacred to me. Thank you my guy PatMac, the talented Austin Theory, @wwe family backstage, Team Rock behind the scenes - everyone who joined us to go ALL IN. But most importantly, thank you with all my love, gratitude and respect, to THE PEOPLE. Our connection is real. Electrifying. ~ people’s champ

WWE is yet to announce a follow-up appearance from The Rock.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.