A reminder for anybody just discovering this series - every week it takes the temperature of what's hottest immediately after the two big TV shows by counting their views on the official WWE YouTube channel once the following morning has passed, seeing what immediately grabbed people's attention. No surprises on what won this week, but...
1 Braun Strowman attacks Lesnar and Kane with the aid of a grappling hook (Raw) 1.1m views as of ~4pm ET Jan. 8
2 Styles, Orton & Nakamura vs Owens & Zayn (SmackDown) 1.09m views as of ~4pm ET Jan. 9
3 Jason Jordan interrupts Roman Reigns (Raw) 839k
4 Balor Club vs Reigns, Rollins and Jordan (Raw) 794k
5 AJ Styles' promo on his Royal Rumble match (SmackDown) 657k
6 Matt Hardy vs Curt Hawkins (Raw) 519k
7 Nia Jax attacks Asuka (Raw) 471k
8 Mojo Rawley vs Zack Ryder (SmackDown) 469k
9 The Miz returns (Raw) 386k
10 Becky Lynch vs Ruby Riott (SmackDown) 383k
11 Gable & Benjamin request a tag title rematch (SmackDown) 300k
12 Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville (Raw) 284k
13 Bludgeon Brothers vs The Ascension (SmackDown) 278k
14 Enzo Amore vs Cedric Alexander (Raw) 269k
15 Samoa Joe vs Rhyno (Raw) 251k
So the big boys triumph again, and that figure has doubled to 2.2m in the 24 hours since our first check. But a look back at the Raw figures since Survivor Series in this feud reveal it didn't take off at first and only went stellar when a certain Universal Champion intervened:
11/20 Braun vs Kane 894k
11/27 Braun vs Kane 446k
12/4 Braun attacks Elias and is interrupted by Kane on the Titantron 905k
12/11 Braun vs Kane 1.06m
12/18 Brock, Braun and Kane face off 2.3m
12/25 no interaction
1/1 Braun and Kane fight 2m
1/8 Brock, Braun, Kane and some staging 1.1m
That said, look at how close SmackDown's main event was - and then look at the absence of the Shane/Daniel backstage argument segment once again, down at #18 this week on 166k. People are responding to the firepower of the SmackDown main eventers, but unlike where an appearance by Kurt Angle on Raw can elevate anything, months of GM arguments are doing nothing for the actual storyline being told by and around them.
It's difficult to tell so early on whether the formation of his Club around him has really boosted Balor's appeal, but the match has gone ahead of the promo since Tuesday, which bodes well for him/them.
What's more fascinating is that Nia's assault not only rated so well but has gone into fourth place on Raw as of writing time (editor's note: Wednesday late afternoon US ET) - I've commented before that this audience takes mostly to people who beat down Alexa Bliss, and after her very slow start it's unlikely that the same applies to Asuka just yet. But with the signs of their eventual split starting to show again over the last two weeks, is it possible Nia is going to end up getting the best of that side instead, especially given the reaction she got from the TV crowd after no-selling Asuka's entrance? Or is that going to be just one loose thread left dangling as we head towards the Rumble and the possibility (not yet reliably rumored but you never know) of another Historic First Women's Match at Elimination Chamber? Whatever, Sasha and Bayley are already back to the mean level of views they've had in recent months, showing Paige's support of her new charges isn't drawing yet like her actually being involved does.
And talk about a push deflating as soon as you leave the title scene - only one Raw segment (Miz laying down his challenge to Roman) had fewer views than The Bar vs Titus Worldwide.
Over on SmackDown. the Hype Bros split has caught on as if just to reinforce that the actual tag teams still together are struggling. In particular, Rusev still isn't getting the views you'd think he would from his support practically everywhere else with 223k views - though that comments chat/video interest disparity is even more apparent with Breezango, whose Fashion Files as mentioned here before were linked everywhere but never cracked half a million in total. And just look at Becky there picking up the kind of figure only Charlotte usually gets.
But out of everyone it's the cruiserweights who overachieved this week, not just the title match drawing the most views for a match in the division since the Kalisto push was in its early stages, but Gran Metalik vs TJP had 113k views, again the most since early October as far as I can tell. As it's safe to assume Perkins hasn't suddenly developed a great fanbase it does make you wonder why the lucha Cruiserweight Classic standout has never been previously pushed...