SmackDown Live defeated Monday Night Raw in the ratings for the first time since the brand split during the final week of 2016. SmackDown garnered 2.885 million viewers, up from the previous week’s episode that had 2.637 million viewers. RAW got 2.855 million viewers, giving SmackDown the edge by roughly 30,000 viewers. It was also the blue brand’s highest viewership number since the brand split in July.
Prior to the last week in December, the brand extension draft understandably earned SmackDown its highest rating of the year. However, since the brand split, RAW had consistently defeated SmackDown Live’s viewership numbers despite the Tuesday night show getting more positive acclaim than its Monday night contemporary. RAW is the flagship show after all, attracting a more casual fan base.
What put SmackDown over the top in their final show of 2016 was undoubtedly the advertised stacked lineup. The show featured three championship matches and the return of John Cena. Cena would open the night by challenging the winner of the main event, a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. Of course, AJ Styles retained, setting up the marquee match with Cena at the Royal Rumble.
The SmackDown writers and announcers touted the victory over RAW as one of their biggest accomplishments since the brand split. And even RAW worked it into their show which flowed into the developing storyline between Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley. However, in the two shows since, RAW has regained its ratings edge over SmackDown if such things are being tracked closely in Stamford.
So the SmackDown writers are efforting another can’t-miss episode for tonight. Of the three main storylines set to air on Tuesday, only one of them received a week’s worth of televised advertising. Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch will make history by becoming the first women to compete in a steel-cage match, as the SmackDown Women’s Championship is on the line.
It wasn’t announced on tv, but the WWE website got the ball rolling and the Internet talking when they announced that Jerry “The King” Lawler would be returning for a special appearance. The King will be reviving his famous King’s Court Segment, a talk show produced in the same vein as The Highlight Reel, MizTV, and others. And as it turns out, Lawler’s guest will be Dolph Ziggler, who recently turned heel.
But perhaps the biggest blockbuster of the evening will be as a result of Shane McMahon’s segment that will kick off SmackDown, as detailed in a report from Daily Wrestling News. Here is the announcement released by the WWE.
“WWE.com has learned that Commissioner Shane McMahon will open SmackDown LIVE this week with some very big news. Under the leadership of Shane-O-Mac and General Manager Daniel Bryan, Team Blue has simply thrived. Although we are not sure what he has to say, the announcement will no doubt take SmackDown LIVE to the next level. Is it possible that the man in charge has something up his sleeve for the Royal Rumble? Which Superstar, or Superstars, will the big news concern? Tune in tonight at 8/7 C on USA Network to find out.”
We’re monitoring the situation and will update everyone should the news happen to leak. And though it appears as if Shane will be talking about the Royal Rumble, he went on the record last week to decline any opportunity to actually compete in the Royal Rumble match itself. There are, however, many spots still open in which any number of SmackDown stars could fill them.
WWE is also teasing dissension within the Wyatt Family, citing internal turmoil between Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, and Luke Harper. The trio lost their SmackDown Tag Team Championships during the aforementioned episode that beat RAW in the ratings and then failed to regain them in a rematch last week. Stay tuned to the Inquisitr for live updates during the show and complete recap and reactions late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
[Featured Image by WWE]