WWE’s special Smackdown 1000 episode drew a 1.72 rating among live and same-night-DVR viewers on USA Network, according to our source in the TV industry with access to detailed Nielsen Ratings. That is a leap from the 1.53 last week and the ten week rolling average headed into this week of 1.60. Total viewership was 2.545 million, up from 2.135 million, a 410,000 increase.
The rating, while good compared to recent weeks (it hasn’t drawn a rating above 1.70 since Aug. 21), it was actually below the 2017 average up to this point a year ago, which was 1.74 and only slightly above the 1.68 average this year. Two years ago, a regular edition of Smackdown drew a 1.71 rating; one year ago a regular Smackdown drew a 1.62 rating.
That said, although WWE brought back some big names including Batista, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Ric Flair, and some past G.M.s such as Teddy Long, Vickie Guerrero, and John Laurinitis, along with the McMahon clan of Stephanie, Shane, and Vince McMahon himself, they faced stiff competition. It was opening night for the NBA, which topped cable ratings for the night, and they were also topped by Major League Baseball playoffs which went head-to-head with Smackdown.
In the key adult 18-49 demographic, according to TV By The Numbers, Smackdown finished no. 5 overall on the night among cable shows with a 0.9 rating, below two NBA games which drew 1.4 and 1.2 rating in that demo and also two MLB games which drew 1.2 and 1.1 ratings in that demo. Nothing else on cable came close, with the next closest rated show drawing a 0.5 in the 18-49 adult demo.
Among total viewers, the MLB games skewed older and thus had the top audience of the night overall with 4.8 million viewers for the Houston Astros-Boston Red Sox game. The NBA’s early game drew 2.9 million.