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WWE News: SmackDown Live ends March with viewership drop

Simon Cotton
ANALYST
News
677   //    29 Mar 2018, 03:57 IST

The Phenomenal One and The King of Strong Style
The Phenomenal One and The King of Strong Style

What’s the story?

With most of SmackDown Live’s matches official for WrestleMania 34, this week’s viewership suffered for from a lack of matches and interesting buildups.

The March 27th edition of SmackDown Live averaged 2.567 million viewers and was down 312,000 viewers from last week’s average of 2.888 million.

In case you didn’t know...

The biggest announcements from SmackDown Live were Rusev being added to the United States Championship match and, Daniel Bryan issuing a challenge to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.

The biggest match on the show saw Shinsuke Nakamura take on Shelton Benjamin for the first time since the G1 Climax 24 in 2014.

The heart of the matter

The last two weeks of SmackDown were the highest viewed episodes of the year thus far, but the trend was broken for this week’s show as the numbers dipped lower than expected.

SmackDown’s viewership during last year’s WrestleMania season in the month of March averaged approximately 2.677 million viewers per episode. Though this week’s show lost 312,000 viewers, the overall average for March 2018 is still greater than March 2017 with approximately 2.706 million fans tuning in per episode.

The announcement from WWE about Bryan being cleared to return to the ring hours before the start of the show was one of the main reasons why SmackDown’s viewership increased.

Bryan returning at WrestleMania was expected once Owens and Zayn began attacking him last week, so the interest wasn’t there in Bryan announcing a match that fans had already anticipated.

Last week’s SmackDown only had one match extra compared to this week’s show but, featured more storyline-focused segments including interactions between AJ Styles and Nakamura, The Usos and The Bludgeon Brothers and the participants in the United States Championship match.

What’s next?

Next week’s SmackDown will be the final show before WrestleMania 34 and the last chance to end the WrestleMania buildup on a high note.

Every match has been announced for SmackDown, so next week’s show will be the finishing touches to the WrestleMania buildup.

Author’s take

The WrestleMania buildup, in general, has been lackluster for a lot of matches and the viewership has been fluctuating as a result.

Fans are expecting great segments and interactions for next week’s show and WWE should be doing their best to make the Go-Home show as great as possible to drive people to the WWE Network.

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Simon Cotton
ANALYST
Multimedia Journalist, Columbia College Chicago Graduate Student, Jackson State University Alumnus Occasional guest on the Social Suplex Podcast Network. https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/social-suplex-podcast-network Catch me on Anchor for some interesting thoughts. https://anchor.fm/simon-cotton
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