Surprise! The Rock's return to SmackDown, the show named for him, after 10 years away resulted in the biggest audience in a very, very long time on Friday night for SyFy. Well, that and Alberto Del Rio's world heavyweight championship victory in a Last Man Standing match against Big Show in the main event.
SmackDown did a 2.2 rating for an average of 3.1 million viewers. That's up from a 1.8 rating and 2.7 million viewers last week.
Rock's return has been big for WWE, as there seems to be more buzz for each show heading into the two biggest events of the year, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. He's advertised for nearly every date over the next couple months and is adding shows seemingly every week. Busy schedule be damned, "The Great One" moves the needle.
It should also be noted that WWE spoiled the result of the Del Rio title win in part because it's been proven that doing so actually helps viewership numbers instead of hurts them. For future reference, that's likely to become standard practice moving forward.
With ratings like this, the company would be silly not to do that.