Well, for a brief, fleeting moment there, John Cena had some bragging rights over Dwayne Johnson. When Cena hosted SNL for the first time back in December, his episode easily trumped the ratings the last time The Rock hosted the show, back in 2015. But 2015 was a different time, when SNL occupied a different space in the pop culture zeitgeist. The Rock returned to host Saturday’s season 42 (!) finale, and he brought the ratings with him. He brought all of the ratings.
It was, of course, a perfect storm of pop culture coming together in the season finale. The Rock hosted in the wake of The Fate of the Furious and with Baywatch set to drop, right when basically everyone in the world was talking about the possibility of Dwayne Johnson running for President in 2020. And of course, it was the last episode in the first SNL season of the Trump administration. Oh, and Katy Perry was there.
Anyway, the long and short of it wasn’t just big Johnson ratings; the episode actually pulled SNL‘s biggest ratings in six years. The show beat every primetime network show in the coveted 18-49 demographic, and averaged 8.272 million viewers during its 90-minute runtime.
The last SNL season finale to do a bigger number was May 21, 2011, hosted by Justin Timberlake and featuring musical guest Lady Gaga. That episode racked up 9.818 million viewers, but we’re talking 2011 J-Tim and Gaga. Now Dwayne Johnson has yet another feather in his cap. Dude’s running out of cap space for all these damn feathers all over the place.
Only three more years til President Johnson!