SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network drew a live + same night DVR rating of 1.62, which is down from last week’s 1.64. Viewership was up a notch from 2.33 million to 2.35 million (which means a few more people watched but for less time on average, thus the lower rating).
The rating a year ago the same week was 1.57.
The May average for Smackdown ended up at 1.60. The 2017 average is now 1.80. The 2016 average through the end of May last year was 1.72, so Smackdown is still above last year’s average, which they should be (considering they are live now and have exclusive use of 40 percent of the roster).
Keller’s Analysis: So what about “The Jinder Mahal Effect.” In the last six weeks, since the WrestleMania bump and Superstar Shake-up buzz ended, and starting with the show after Jinder won the no. 1 contendership, Smackdown has averaged 1 .62 rating. Last year during the same five week stretch, Smackdown averaged a 1.62 rating. What that means is, Smackdown has dropped down to 2016 levels. Before Jinder Mahal won the Fatal Five-way, Smackdown in 2017 had been outdrawing Smackdown in 2016 by a 1.86 to 1.76 margin. So the best indicator, as imperfect and indecisive as it is, points toward a loss in viewership in the best comparison we can make. Smackdown had been doing better in 2017 live on Tuesdays post roster-split than it did in 2016 during the same stretch until Jinder’s push. Now, this also roughly coincides with Mauro Ranallo being gone, the additions of Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, and Kevin Owens, and the subtraction of John Cena, Miz, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, and Alexa Bliss. But the most decisive change coincides with the push of Jinder.