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WWE News: SmackDown Live beats Raw in viewership for the first time since brand split

The blue brand just gained a huge victory over Raw!

AJ Styles and John Cena have another rematch in store for the Royal Rumble

SmackDown Live beat Monday Night Raw for the first time since the brand split, getting 2.885 Million viewers, up from last week's episode that had 2.637 Million viewers. Raw got 2.855 million viewers, meaning that SmackDown Live beat Raw by 30,000 viewers. It is also the blue brand’s highest viewership number since the brand split.

The highest rating SmackDown got was for the draft, where it beat Raw. However, since the brand split, Raw has consistently defeated SmackDown Live’s viewership numbers despite the latter getting more critical acclaim from the core fan base.

One of the prime factors is that Raw has been branded the “flagship show” for so long that it appeals more to the casual fanbase, who are more bound to tune into Raw than SmackDown Live.

This week’s SmackDown Live was stacked from top to bottom. Perhaps the biggest draw was the return of John Cena for the first time in two and a half months. He kicked off the show, showcasing a new side to his character which came off as brash and cocky.

This was different from his standard babyface character, which he has portrayed for the last 11 years. He announced that the person who won the Triple Threat Championship match later that night would face him at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship.

Another draw for SmackDown Live was the fact that there were three championship matches – A Four Corners Elimination match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, a SmackDown Women’s Championship match, and a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship.

American Alpha was crowned new SmackDown Tag Team Champions on the night. Alexa Bliss retained over Becky Lynch after a mysterious masked character cost Becky the match, and AJ Styles successfully defeated Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE World Championship.

The WWE Championship match garnered a lot of praise among fans. Even Baron Corbin, who had his first match for the World Championship, was praised for his performance and role in the match. AJ winning the bout set up his third match against Cena for the Royal Rumble on January 29th at the Alamodome.

Styles and Cena shook hands after the match to seal the deal.

SmackDown Live was #3 among all cable programs for the night. This is the only drop from last week, where it came second. However, it is a huge victory for the blue brand this week.

John Cena tweeted about SmackDown Live’s victory over Raw

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