WWE had to book SmackDown on the fly this week due to the chaos surrounding getting their stars back from Saudi Arabia.
What resulted was one of the most memorable editions of SmackDown in perhaps years. The brand was invaded by WWE NXT and we were treated to some great matches, notably Adam Cole vs. Daniel Bryan in the main event and Tommaso Ciampa taking on The Miz. Rhea Rhipley and Tegan Nox also debuted in memorable fashion, as did Shayna Baszler, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle.
The show ended up working out well for WWE, as SmackDown saw their ratings rise this week far above the abysmal number they drew last week after being forced to move networks to FS1 due to the World Series.
This week's SmackDown drew an average audience of 2.543 million viewers according to Showbuzz Daily. The show drew a 0.8 rating among adults ages 18-49, the most coveted age group demographic, which ranked number one on network television for the night. Additionally, SmackDown drew a 0.6 rating among 18-34 year olds, also number one for the night on network television within that demographic.
This is great news for WWE, as last week's SmackDown on FS1 drew just 888,000 viewers. Granted the show was moved to a different network and faced stiff competition, but the channel change was advertised numerous times by WWE and FOX themselves. Last week's number was far below anyone's expectations, which were already low given the channel change.
However, the best comparison for this week's number would probably be the last time the show aired on FOX, which was two weeks ago. That show drew 2.441 million viewers and a 0.7 rating among 18-49 year olds, so this week's show was up versus two weeks ago as well. Great news all around.
WWE is now riding some real excitement following one of their best television broadcasts of the year and should continue trying to capitalize on that momentum with NXT set to invade Survivor Series in three weeks to take on RAW and SmackDown. The ratings victory on Friday night should prompt WWE to continue on with more NXT invasions of RAW and SmackDown, as well as possibly some red brand and blue brand stars making some surprise appearances of their own during Wednesday night's NXT on the USA Network.
What did you think of last night's edition of WWE SmackDown? Let us know in the comments section below or give me a follow on Twitter for all things WWE @ryandroste.