Star Trek: When The Rock Fought Seven of Nine
In the world of sports entertainment, WWE ratings were at a constant high in 2000 as Monday Night Raw overtook WCW Monday Nitro’s throne as the number one wrestling show in the nation. Much of WWE’s success at the time, smack dab in the middle of the historic Attitude Era, can be attributed to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the self-proclaimed "most electrifying man in all sports entertainment."
Outside of Stone Cold Steve Austin, no WWE Superstar at the time became a household name quite like The Rock. He was charming, handsome, built like a Mack Truck and had all the qualities a Hollywood action star needed to succeed. His jump to mainstream media and worldwide notoriety was nothing short of inevitable.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
The Great One’s brief appearance on Star Trek: Voyager, seen in Season 6, Episode 15, “Tsunkatse,” wasn’t Dwayne Johnson’s first foray in film and television. The previous year he appeared alongside Ken Shamrock and The Hardy Boyz on a Season 1 episode of That '70s Show, playing his real-life father Rocky Johnson. The Voyager appearance was, however, The Rock's next step towards making the jump to movies, appearing the following summer as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns.
Star Trek: Voyager was a consistently enjoyable series for Trekkies and everyday, regular TV viewers alike. It wasn’t quite The Original Series, nor was it The Next Generation, but it wasn’t a Deep Space Nine either. The introduction of Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine at the beginning of Season 4 is considered one of the show’s highlights. Seven became an instant favorite, one that the CBS All Access hit of 2020, Star Trek: Picard, was more than happy to bring back to the delight of fans everywhere.
The great thing about Seven, a human struggling to rediscover herself after being assimilated by the nefarious Borg, was her constant struggle to regain her humanity. “Tsunkatse” was a Seven of Nine episode focused on that theme. After she and Tuvok are taken prisoner by a sadistic, inter-planet fighting promoter named Penk, Seven is forced into competing when Tuvok’s life is on the line. Her first opponent, The Champion, was a Pendari, a race known for bad tempers and superior strength. Enter The Rock!
One has to wonder how big of a wrestling fan director Michael Vejar was. He knew what every sports entertainment enthusiast would be looking for. When The Champion entered the arena, his rabid fans cheering him on, Johnson nearly spikes the camera to give the audience a make-up infused People’s Eyebrow. It’s a wonder he didn’t grab a mic and ask if they could “smell what The Champion is cookin’?”
The fight itself is brief, much like Johnson’s cameo, but it’s well-choreographed. Seven gets her licks in, but in the end, her hesitation to deliver a knockout blow gives Rocky all the opportunity he needs. He jabs her back and, yes fans, delivers a thunderous Rock Bottom for the win! One could almost hear Good ol’ J.R. calling the action in their heads. Much like his WWE counterpart, The Champion basks in the glow of his fans as they chant “Tsunkat! Tsunkat!” in honor of his victory.
And that was that. A short but memorable appearance by the People’s Champ at the near-height of his meteoric rise in the WWE. The episode continued without him, with Seven being put into a literal deathmatch and trained by a Hirogen called Hunter. In order for her to survive, Seven would need to check her humanity at the door. She must kill her opponent! The big twist later on, one that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud, was that Seven’s opponent was none other than the Hunter himself.
The back-and-forth battle between the two ended with Seven of Nine atop the Hunter, ready to deliver the killing blow. It was a choice she didn’t have to make, however, as the Voyager crew successfully locked onto their coordinates and beamed two aboard. Later on, when Seven is still recovering from their ordeal and speaking with Tuvok, he asks her if she would have killed him. Seven’s response: “I don’t know.”