Generally speaking, WWE Smackdown viewership has been one of the more stable figures we track week-to-week, hovering right around an average of 1.9 million viewers for the past 11 weeks.
In another bit of good news for the company following Monday Night Raw’s return to the #1 spot on cable this week, the Tuesday, July 16th edition of WWE Smackdown shot way up. In the wake of Extreme Rules, this week’s show was watched by an estimated 2.12 million viewers, up an impressive 14.6% from the week before.
It was the most watched episode since April 16th, vaulting WWE back into the #1 spot on cable television for the second night in a row, scoring a 0.7 in adults 18-49 over last week’s 0.5.
There are likely several reasons for the somewhat unexpected jump in the blue brand’s numbers this week. The first, and probably most important factor is the lack of major network and cable competition on both Monday and Tuesday this week. There was also likely some interest garnered coming out of Extreme Rules.
While it was reported that Eric Bischoff was still in the process of moving in, and actually began his first job as the Executive Director of WWE Smackdown on Wednesday, many believed this would also be his first night behind the helm in a creative capacity. Next week is a more accurate timeline, although it’s worth noting that the transition for both Bischoff and Paul Heyman is going to be a slow, comprehensive one taking place over a period of months, not an overnight aesthetic change.
One other potential factor is that WWE was blatantly advertising a “career-altering announcement” from Daniel Bryan, who has a history of major career-altering announcements in the past. While it was ultimately just a part of his ongoing story and they didn’t even make any kind of announcement at all, Bryan’s popularity in instances like this can’t be overlooked.