Either the notion that December in general and the week before Christmas in particular is a dead zone for wrestling & television is an antiquated one, or WWE has found the formula to circumvent it. Raw saw its numbers go up for the second to last show of 2016, and SmackDown did them one better, rising by almost 300,000 viewers over last week’s 2,361,000.
The 2,637,000 people who tuned in to see James Ellsworth get his shot at World champ AJ Styles in the opening match and Baron Corbin fight Dolph Ziggler with #1 contender status on the line in the main event (neither of which was significantly advertised in advance) made WWE the fifth most watched cable program of Dec. 20, and second in rating share among 18 - 49 year olds. That number, a .88, was also up substantially over Dec. 13.
Next week’s show is packed full of big matches which will have been promoted for at least seven days, and the return of John Cena for his first televised appearance since No Mercy in October. Even in late December, it represents a plausible chance for the blue brand to hit 3 million viewers and/or surpass the Monday night flagship.
For complete results and the live blog for SmackDown this week click here. To read a complete recap & review of all the night’s events click here. For a full playlist of the show click here.