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WWE News: SmackDown viewership up due to Styles vs. Orton main event

Great news for SmackDown Live!

AJ Styles applied the Calf Crusher to Randy Orton last night on Smackdown! Live

What’s the story? 

Last night’s episode of SmackDown Live was loaded with good to great segments last night.  The show was capped off by a really good match between Randy Orton and AJ Styles, which saw Orton win and punch his ticket to the WWE World Championship match versus Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33.  Based on a report from Wrestling Inc, the first-time encounter between The Viper and The Phenomenal One produced great ratings.

In case you didn’t know...

SmackDown Live has been consistently producing really good television since the brand split last July, and that quality has earned them some really good television ratings.  In fact, there have been instances where SmackDown Live has bested Raw in the ratings since the brand split.  

The heart of the matter

This week’s episode of SmackDown Live featured two major firsts in wrestling.  It was the first televised team-up of real-life couple John Cena and Nikki Bella.  More importantly, it was the first time ever that Randy Orton wrestled AJ Styles in a one-on-one match.  

Those big firsts, as well as the fact that the winner of the main event would go on to challenge Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33 for the WWE Championship, led to Smackdown’s rating of 2.738 million viewers.  Last week, SmackDown Live pulled in 2.566 million viewers.  This week’s audience for the blue brand increased by almost 7%.

The show finished at #5 in the cable television ratings for Tuesday night, and it was #1 in the much coveted 18-49 demographic.  Regardless of the big events on the show being advertised ahead of time, the show was still only the third-highest rated episode of Smackdown! Live in 2017.  

The episode after the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (2.817 million) and the episode featuring the battle royal to determine Bray Wyatt’s new opponent for WrestleMania  (2.792 million) both produced slightly higher ratings. 

What’s next? 

SmackDown Live’s next episode will try to retain the momentum the show has in the ratings when it airs on Tuesday, March 14th.

Sportskeeda’s Take

It’s always great news when television ratings are up, but the ratings being up for the show this week was something of a foregone conclusion.  We were surprised when WWE announced that Randy Orton and AJ Styles would clash in the main event, as they had never wrestled before.  That match could have been saved for a big pay-per-view match down the line, but the ratings show that people definitely wanted to see it happen.

It will be interesting to see if the blue brand can keep garnering consistent television ratings in the run up to WrestleMania

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