WWE News: SmackDown Live viewership up for first show of 2018
What’s the Story?
This week’s episode of SmackDown Live averaged 2.720 million viewers and was up 64,000 viewers from the last show of 2017.
In Case You Didn’t Know
The biggest matches of this week’s show were The Usos defending the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Gable & Benjamin, Xavier Woods versus Aiden English as part of the United States Championship Tournament, and WWE Champion AJ Styles versus Sami Zayn in a non-title match.
The Heart of the Matter
SmackDown went virtually unopposed on cable with only the NBA games to deal with, unlike Monday Night Raw which had to contend with immensely popular College Football Playoff games.
The Blue Brand’s first show of 2018 was significantly higher than the first episode of 2017 and was up 124,000 viewers from January 3, 2017, edition of SmackDown Live which averaged 2.596 million viewers.
The biggest angle coming out of SmackDown took place in the main event when Zayn defeated Styles due to interference from Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon. Styles requested a handicap match against Zayn & Owens, but Daniel Bryan announced the match for the Royal Rumble and put the WWE Championship on the line.
Monday Night Raw will have to contend with the College Football Championship game which is guaranteed to dominate the ratings.
Raw’s viewership is expected to be lower than 2.865 million viewers they averaged this week. Should the viewership decrease immensely, SmackDown may beat Raw in viewership for the first time since the Wild Card Finals episode that ended 2016.
Unlike Raw, SmackDown Live’s show was much more consistent in quality with their matches and segments. The crowd was also way more into SmackDown than they were Raw despite both shows emanating from the same arena.
Hopefully, SmackDown Live’s quality remains consistent for the rest of the year.