Tuesday’s WWE Smackdown Live telecast on USA Network drew a 1.53 rating, well below the 1.83 average in 2017 before this week, and even below the year-ago number of 1.62 despite being live. The breaking news regarding President Trump has increased the new channel viewership, and NBA and NHL playoffs continue to pull viewers away from WWE.
The ten week rolling average headed into this week was 1.82.
May is well below the monthly average this year:
May (thru three weeks): 1.58
Keller’s Analysis: Even with the competition from Trump news and pro sports playoffs, this is perhaps an indication that fans see Jinder Mahal’s push as a top heel as something less than must-see TV. Randy Orton is the furthest thing from an inspiring babyface either on the mic or in the ring, so making him the centerpiece World Champion might be costing Smackdown enthusiasm among viewers. I think Smackdown would be in better shape had they kept the World Title on A.J. Styles, turned him babyface officially with a memorable big angle, and built the weekly show around heels – including a heel Orton – coming hard and aggressively after his title. This rating is cause for Smackdown to reevaluate what they’re doing, or rush Lana, New Day, and Rusev into the mix to add some depth. Perhaps once Shinsuke Nakamura becomes a bigger part of week-to-week TV shows, that will help too.