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WWE News: SmackDown gets the worst viewership ratings of the year

What is going on with WWE's viewership this week?

News 04 May 2017, 07:24 IST
What caused SmackDown’s viewership to decline?

What’s the Story?

This week’s edition of SmackDown Live joined Monday Night Raw in garnering record low viewership for this week’s programming. Raw averaged 2.87 million viewers while SmackDown averaged 2.3 million viewers. Both shows set a record for the lowest rated show of the year thus far.

In case you didn’t know....

SmackDown’s average viewership began to increase following the brand split’s revival in 2016. SmackDown’s lowest numbers post-brand split were a result of Election Day coverage and saw a massive drop to 1.9 million viewers.

On the other hand, the highest numbers SmackDown generated aside from the Draft episode was the December 28, 2016, show which beat Raw in overall viewership with 2.87 million to 2.85 million. 

Since 2017, SmackDown’s lowest viewership was originally last week’s episode on April 25, 2017 with an average of 2.49 million. Before these past two episodes, SmackDown’s viewership ranged from 2.5 to 3.1 million.

The heart of the matter

This week’s episode of SmackDown primarily featured Jinder Mahal building to his match with Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Backlash and the United States Championship match with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.

Last week’s SmackDown featured a rematch between Baron Corbin and AJ Styles, Breezango becoming the number one contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, Orton beating Erick Rowan in a No DQ match, and Jinder Mahal assaulting Orton and taking the WWE Championship.

What’s Next?

Depending on how the WWE books next week’s episodes of Raw and SmackDown, both shows could potentially see a further decline in their viewership going forward.

Vince McMahon and other WWE officials have stated that they aren’t as invested in ratings and television viewership anymore, so the WWE could ignore these record lows and stay the course.

Author’s take

The fans clearly weren’t willing to stick around to watch SmackDown when faced with the two NBA playoff games this week. As the NBA playoffs progress, the WWE’s ratings are likely to take further hits.

Also, fans have been vocal about their disappointment with the product ever since WrestleMania 33. The fallout of the superstar shakeup has left SmackDown with a void in various divisions. Add those voids to the odd creative choices as of late and it’s no wonder why WWE couldn’t hope to maintain their viewers.

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