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SmackDown viewers rise, rating dips for Roman Reigns’ return on the season premiere

WWE dubbed the Fri., Oct. 13 the season premiere of SmackDown. The episode featured fallout from the previous weekend’s Fastlane PLE, another appearance by John Cena, an announcement from Triple H, and the return of Universal champion Roman Reigns... to start a program with the red-hot LA Knight, no less.

It seemed like a ratings slam dunk, and the numbers were strong as usual for FOX. But SmackDown didn’t report across the board gains. According to Wrestlenomics, overall viewership saw a 4% week-to-week increase, to 2,417,000. Last Friday’s .62 rating among 18-49 year olds was 3% less than what Oct. 6’s Fastlane go home did, though.

College football was airing opposite WWE on ESPN, but the big draw (Stanford’s come from behind win over Coach Prime’s Colorado team) didn’t start until after SmackDown was off the air. SportsTVRatings had that 10:23pm ET kickoff game tops among sports originals last Friday with an audience of more than 3 million and a 1.01 in the demo. There was also NBA pre-season action on; the game airing opposite WWE on TNT (Heat/Spurs) had 561K viewers and did a .17 in 18-49.

While the ratings fluctuation is curious, there’s no cause for alarm here. Roman & company scored SmackDown’s biggest audience in a month, and both numbers were better than the same week last year.

Which you can see in this rundown of the past year’s worth of SmackDown’s numbers:

* Aired on FS1

For complete results and this week’s SmackDown live blog click here. To read a recap & review of the night’s events click here. For video highlights of the show click here.

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