WWE Smackdown on USA Network on Tuesday night drew a 1.73 rating, down from last week’s 1.77. The rolling ten-week average headed into this week was 1.79, so this week’s rating – despite coming two days after the Royal Rumble and the Ronda Rousey acquisition – was the lowest since Dec. 12 last year.
The year-ago rating was 1.72, so this week’s number still beat last year’s by the slimmest of margins. The 2017 average through five weeks was 1.80; the 2018 average through five weeks is 1.76.
Keller’s Analysis: U.S. President Trump’s “State of the Union” address is likely the reason for the drop in rating. Raw was above average this week, and Smackdown was below average, so usually that’s indicative of something on Tuesday that didn’t affect WWE on Monday. Also, Smackdown has just been a mundane show in recent weeks. The confusing Daniel Bryan-Shane McMahon dynamic and thin roster has hurt the show. With Smackdown being talked about as the “B-brand” so much in November, there are probably zero WWE fans who thought Ronda Rousey might appear on Smackdown after she didn’t appear on Raw. WWE didn’t make a deliberate effort to hype on Raw that Charlotte would respond to the Rousey signing on Smackdown this week, so they lost an opportunity to lure a few extra viewers over to the show with the most natural of hooks.