SmackDown beat Monday Night Raw in the ratings on Tuesday evening for the first time in over a decade.
According to The Wrap, on Tuesday night, SmackDown brought in 3.17 million viewers, an increase of 1 percent from the previous evening’s Monday Night Raw. The last time SmackDown was the higher-rated of the two shows appears to have been July 2005, as observed on Reddit.
This week’s SmackDown also received the best rating in the 18-49 demographic since December 2010. Its viewership was up 53 percent from last Thursday’s pre-taped episode.
According to 411Mania, SmackDown was also the #1 original cable show on Tuesday night, coming out ahead of OWN’s The Haves & the Have Nots. The latter program brought in 2.7 million viewers, TV by the Numbers reports.
This is great news for the WWE, as the company has been hoping to bring more viewers to SmackDown this year. The show has recently been seen as insignificant compared to Monday Night Raw, with many fans feeling as if nothing too important happens on SmackDown and that it can be skipped.
But after the draft, John Cena, Dean Ambrose and A.J. Styles are all exclusive to SmackDown, and so fans will have to tune in every Tuesday night to get their fix of these performers. Considering John Cena is perhaps the most famous name within the WWE right now, making him the new face of SmackDown is an incredibly wise move on the company’s part.
What remains to be seen is if the ratings will remain this high as the weeks progress. It’s inevitable that there will be a dropoff for next Tuesday’s episode, as July 19th’s SmackDown was a special event that had been promoted all month. Hopefully, though, the dropoff won’t be too significant, and many viewers will add SmackDown into their regular rotation of shows after having previously ignored it.
It should also help that SmackDown is now broadcast live just like Raw; previously, because the show was pre-taped, fans could simply read all the spoilers online days ahead of time, making them less inclined to tune in. Ratings have been slipping in the WWE in general recently, even on Monday Night Raw. July 4th’s episode of the show brought in the lowest viewership since 1996.
While Cena, Ambrose and A.J. Styles have gone to SmackDown, moving to Monday Night Raw will be Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, Sasha Banks, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and more. Read our full breakdown of the entire new roster below: