PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE Smackdown ratings sunk even lower in this week’s ratings “elevator drop” than Raw did, drawing a 1.38 rating, down from the 1.53 from last week. The 0.15 drop is larger than Raw’s drop from 1.70 to 1.56, a 0.14 drop.
The move of WWE’s top full time male star Roman Reigns moving from Raw to Smackdown did affect the dynamic between Raw and Smackdown in terms of the difference between the two shows. The rolling ten week average for Raw is 1.87 compared to Smackdown’s 1.58. That a difference of 0.29. This week the difference was 0.18. Last week, the first week after Reigns shifted to Smackdown, the gap was 0.17. While it’s just a two week sample size, it could be that Reigns has made roughly a difference of one-tenth of a rating point in the Raw vs. Smackdown viewership gap.
Total Smackdown viewership dipped below two million, to 1.833 million, the lowest viewership since Feb. 2, and the lowest non-holiday viewership for Smackdown ever. It’s a drop of 603,000 viewers compared to a year ago this week.
The headline on TVByTheNumbers sums up the industry take on this week: “Tuesday cable ratings: NBA Playoffs rush forward, ‘WWE Smackdown’ continues to shrink.” In the key 18-49 adult demographic that advertisers covet, the report notes: “USA’s WWE Smackdown fell all the way to seventh place, losing two-tenths of a point to arrive at 0.5.” The Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors NBA playoff game drew more than triple the overall viewership of Smackdown and a 2.4 rating in the core adult demo, nearly five times Smackdown’s core demo rating. The other NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics drew more than double Smackdown’s viewership. Smackdown even drew a smaller adult core demo rating than the NHL playoff game between the Boston Celtics and Columbus Blue Jackets, which drew a 0.6 rating. Smackdown beat the NHL game in overall viewers by 169,000.
This ratings slide for Smackdown isn’t part of a consistent year to year trend. In fact, last year during this ten week stretch Smackdown averaged a 1.84 rating, up from the prior year’s ten-week stretch of 1.83. The rolling ten week average this year is 1.58. That’s a 14 percent drop.
WWE is without Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, and Dean Ambrose compared to March and April’s roster, but otherwise has a healthy full roster of signed talent (other than Jeff Hardy who announced this week he’ll be out for a while with an injury) with “fresh match-ups” after the Superstar Shake-up.
RECOMMENDED: Raw Rating: Sharp alarming drop-off from last week and year-ago numbers, key metrics including perspective on season drop, plus where it ranked vs. NBA playoff