The ratings are in for this past Friday night's (Jan. 6, 2012) episode of WWE Smackdown and the start to the new year was a dismal one, much worse than many were expecting.
PWTorch has the dreary numbers:
WWE Smackdown on Friday, January 6 scored a 1.80 rating, down more than one-tenth of a rating (six percent) from the previous week and down three-tenths of a rating (19 percent) from a 2.21 rating at the beginning of December. It was the lowest rating since mid-September.
Smackdown averaged 2.58 million viewers, down nine percent from the final Smackdown of 2012 and well-below the fall season range. It was the fewest Smackdown viewers for a non-replay episode since August 5 prior to the first live Tuesday special.
Two title matches were advertised for the show beforehand -- Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T for the Intercontinental championship and Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show for the world heavyweight championship -- so this significantly low number is somewhat concerning.
And Mark Henry fans can rejoice, at least somewhat.
That's because ratings went up while he was dominating as the monster heel champion who was put over clean by Randy Orton. Now, both guys are injured, the latter of which isn't even appearing on TV. Henry's appearances have only served to kill his heat, as he's hobbled with his groin injury and when he does work matches, they're so blatantly booked to protect him, it's impossible to get emotionally invested.
The death knell for pro wrestling.
Daniel Bryan was given the world title over Big Show with the thought that he would draw better with it but he's been buried so spectacularly on commentary every week by Michael Cole that no one is taking him seriously as champion. It might work in his favor in some ways now that he's turning heel but as it stands now, any fan of WWE who didn't follow Bryan's run on the independent circuit (or, almost all of them) has no reason to find him credible.
Yet another reason to hate Michael Cole.
One week's worth of ratings is no reason to hit the panic button, of course, although we've seen Vince McMahon do so before. But it is noteworthy simply because it may foretell the future of Bryan's title reign and how short it may end up being.
Orton can't get back soon enough.