WWE News: SmackDown Live ends 2017 with viewership increase

Not a bad way to end the year
Not a bad way to end the year

What’s the story?

The last WWE SmackDown Live episode of 2017 averaged 2.656 million viewers and was up 78,000 viewers from last week’s average of 2.578 million.

In case you didn’t know...

The first hour of SmackDown was commercial-free on USA Network and featured The New Day versus Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable and Rusev & Aiden English to determine the No.1 Contender for The Usos’ SmackDown Tag Team Championships. The main event featured Kevin Owens and WWE Champion AJ Styles competing in a non-title match.

The heart of the matter

Though the December 26th edition of SmackDown Live was up from the previous week, it was down significantly from last year’s Wild Card Finals episode that averaged 2.885 million viewers and beat Raw in the ratings for the first time since the Brand Split’s revival.

However, the Wild Card Finals had the distinction of featuring the return of John Cena and two championships matches. The first title match was a Fatal 4way between The Usos, American Alpha, The Wyatt Family, and Heath Slater & Rhyno for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships while the main event featured The Phenomenal One defending his WWE Championship against Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler.

The December 26th edition of SmackDown Live also had one of the highest viewership averages all year with only 11 shows having superior viewership – most of which were during WrestleMania season.

What’s next?

Next week’s SmackDown Live episode will air on January 2, 2018, and will emanate from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

The SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between The Usos and Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable is the only match currently announced for next week, but more will be revealed prior to Tuesday.

Author’s Take

SmackDown’s viewership in 2017 was a far cry from some of the heights they reached in 2016, but they ended the year strong and that’s all that matters.