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WWE News: SmackDown Live viewership increases with Daniel Bryan's announcement 

Simon Cotton
ANALYST
News
1.54K   //    22 Mar 2018, 03:12 IST

"YES! YES! YES!"

What’s the story?

SmackDown Live got a huge boost in viewership this week after Daniel Bryan was cleared for competition.

The March 20 edition of SmackDown Live averaged 2.888 million viewers and was up 116,000 views from last week’s average of 2.771 million.

In case you didn’t know

Bryan was scheduled to return to television this week, but news broke regarding his in-ring status hours before SmackDown aired.

Bryan began the show with an emotional speech regarding his struggle to get cleared and the fans were elated to hear that the former WWE Champion could fight for the title once again.

The heart of the matter

This week’s SmackDown episode benefitted greatly from the announcement regarding Bryan’s return to the ring and beat last week's number to become the highest viewed episode of the year thus far.

The March 20 edition generated the highest viewership for SmackDown Live since the Superstar Shakeup episode on April 4, 2017, which averaged 3.105 million viewers.

The show featured some great wrestling including Shinsuke Nakamura versus Rusev in a rematch from Fastlane, SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair versus Natalya and Jimmy Uso versus Luke Harper.

The highlight of the show was Bryan’s opening segment as well as his closing segment with Sami Zay and Kevin Owens.

After being fired by Bryan, Zayn and Owens attacked him and ended the beatdown with a powerbomb to the ring apron to close the show.

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With both SmackDown authority figures attacked by Owens and Zayn, many are expecting Bryan to return to the ring at WrestleMania 34 to team with McMahon against the former Ring of Honor wrestlers.

What’s next?

With two more weeks of WWE programming before WrestleMania 34, fans will expect the last matches for New Orleans to be announced before April 8.

Author’s take

WWE put on a great show this week and the fans made sure to tune in. Even if they came just to hear Bryan talk, they stayed for good programming.

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Simon Cotton
ANALYST
Freelance Journalist and Photographer, 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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