For the last time before Christmas - I will have a look at the ratings for next week, but as nobody is surely expecting much I'm preparing something else for then - the segments uploaded to the official WWE YouTube channel in order of how many views they had late the following afternoon:
1 Brock Lesnar, Kane and Braun Strowman face off (Raw) 2.3m views as of ~4pm Dec. 18
2 Stephanie McMahon announces the Women's Royal Rumble (Raw) 821k
3 Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon discuss the end of the Clash of Champions match (SmackDown) 728k views as of ~4pm Dec. 19
4 AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton vs Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Jinder Mahal (SmackDown) 682k
5 Dolph Ziggler's US title celebration (SmackDown) 539k
6 Seth Rollins vs Jason Jordan (Raw) 528k
7 Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Jason Jordan vs The Bar & Samoa Joe (Raw) 520k
8 Finn Balor & Hideo Itami vs Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas (Raw) 488k
9 Enzo Amore and Nia Jax continue to flirt backstage (Raw) 392k
10= Elias is interrupted by Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James (Raw) 383k
10= Woken Matt Hardy plays chess with Napoleon Bonaparte the goldfish (Raw) 383k
12 Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn meet Daniel Bryan backstage (SmackDown) 333k
13 The New Day vs Rusev & Aiden English (SmackDown) 324k
14 Absolution vs Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James (Raw) 323k
15 Finn Balor vs the Miztourage (Raw) 302k
The gap between the second and third hour increases in the week they appear in the first hour after two main events, the face-off with Brock gets the best next day views since the Shield's reformation (which itself was the best in some time)...
Guys, whatever you think of it and whether as we might suspect this was a way to kill time before the inevitable, this Braun Strowman vs Kane feud is over as hell. This kind of response, which was comfortably over three million total views 24 hours later, is really YouTube appeal lightning in a bottle - Brock the special attraction, Braun who despite dipping of late has been responsible for most of the biggest view counts from this year's TV, and a big Attitude Era star for the casuals, who tend to favor prime beef regardless. And there's still five Raws before we get there.
The actual main event announcement did well too as Stephanie in all her forms tends to do, although it's worth noting that both then and now the figure is still below that of the Absolution vs the locker room showdown of last week, people may be anticipating what was going to result from that group effort.
What we can also track from these results is the slow death of Absolution's Tuesday night cousins the Riott Squad, this week's tag match down in 18th place (214k views), not just behind the normal level just for Charlotte but lower than a non-televised, and as far as I can tell little advertised, clip of Goldust and Asuka shilling the Mixed Match Challenge that was uploaded just before Raw. In an interesting sideline the Elias segment is now over 600k, racing past the Balor/Itami match. Maybe people thought from the thumbnail that the women would attack him.
Talking of underachievers, yet again despite doing well alongside The Bar and Seth, the Joe vs Dean feud is weirdly underperforming. The backstage attack that was by any definition a major story development being watched by just 224k people, still not past the 300,000 mark a day later. Should the worst have happened with Ambrose (editor's note: not sure what signor was thinking "the worst" would be when he wrote this earlier this week, but it's not good - more here), a feud WWE are clearly high on despite this apparent lack of interest, we're going to have to track Joe to see if it's just something here that isn't clicking or if the Destroyer himself isn't catching on for whatever reason -whether it's because he's seen too much as a smark favorite or that a secondary heel isn't enough of a pull.
Over on SmackDown, the cosmic ballet between Owens & Zayn and the authority figures goes on, and still the backstage segments no matter who's involved lag behind in a way the in-ring showdowns don't. The rest of the show continues to be much of a muchness, apart from that Rusev Day still hasn't won over video viewers in the way it has with live crowds and online communities. Their backstage meeting with New Day being behind the lowest ranking Raw segment (the cruiserweight #1 contender match, obviously).
At least they're in the chart, unlike the Usos, who barely get over 200k and miss out (19th) yet again - given their views underachieved in the electric New Day feud, they're another seeming example of a team that are over everywhere except on YouTube. The one thing SmackDown creative is doing undoubtedly well on isn't taking off.