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Tuesday’s (May 2) episode of WWE Smackdown drew a 1.62 rating, down from the 1.71 and 1.72 ratings of the previous two weeks, and way below the Superstar Shake-up edition three weeks ago that drew a 2.14 rating (2.300 million viewers).
The 1.62 is well below the April average of 1.90 and March average of 1.83. The 2017 average headed into this week was 1.85, compared to 1.78 through this week last year. The rolling-ten week average headed into this week was 1.83.
The rating one year ago was 1.65, so this is a rare instance since the roster split last summer of a Smackdown rating falling below the rating from a year earlier, despite being live on Tuesday nights with exclusive use of 40 percent of the roster. That’s happened now only four times this year.
Keller’s Analysis: Part of this is seasonal, after higher interested in WrestleMania season, which was extended due to curiosity over the Superstar Shake-up. Another part of this might be that WWE spends the first three or four months of the year pushing wrestlers for big matches at WrestleMania that suddenly disappear afterward. So it’s more difficult to sell viewers on these wrestlers being the big stars when they either were in undercard or Kick-off show matches, or they’re new to the roster and haven’t built up a following yet. The WrestleMania season peak might be as high without the novelty of returning legacy stars for a short time, but the price they pay could last the next eight months as WWE tries to build their weekly shows around wrestlers who fans are conditioned to believe aren’t really a big enough deal to headline the biggest show of the year.