Smackdown Rating: Did ratings surge for Vince McMahon headbutt last week lead to a sustained increase this week? (w/Keller’s Analysis)


PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

(Search “wade keller” to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)

The ratings power of Vince McMahon became more evident with this week’s Smackdown Live rating on USA Network. Counting live and same-night-DVR viewership, the rating this week dropped back down to 1.73, below the 1.74 two weeks ago, and losing entirely the bump they got last week for the advertised Vince McMahon appearance of 1.93.

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Last week’s rating was the highest since Apr. 11, which drew a 2.14. This week’s 1.73 is above the year-ago rating of 1.70, but below the 2017 average of 1.76 and the ten week rolling average of 1.76. This year Smackdown is averaging a slightly higher rating than last year through this week – 1.76 compared to 1.73.

Total viewership was 2.510 million.

Keller’s Analysis: It’s unfortunate for WWE that a big angle one week didn’t lead to sustained interest the next week. The brand, for better or for worse, is identified with a World Champion in Jinder Mahal who didn’t have equity built up with viewers before his title victory, and his performances so far have been one-dimensional and predictable and in-ring performances below other standouts fans respect more. That has hurt Smackdown, I believe. The show just hasn’t been as good since mid-April as it was earlier in the year and late last year after the roster split. With the loss of John Cena to Raw, it sent another message to viewers that Smackdown is the B-brand. As happened with the last roster split, Vince McMahon’s priority lies with Raw, and no matter what lip service he pays otherwise, it’s apparent to viewers.

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