The WWE SmackDown overnight ratings are in for Friday night, and the show saw a jump in the ratings this week for what was presented as a tribute show to The Undertaker. During the final episode of The Last Ride last Sunday, Taker announced he was retiring from in-ring competition. With WWE experiencing a great amount of turmoil this week due to multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the company, Friday's SmackDown show was restructured to present the tribute.
According to the overnight ratings figures published to Showbuzz Daily, SmackDown drew an average of 2.174 million viewers on Friday night. The first hour drew 2.271 million and the second hour drew 2.076 million. Last week's show drew an average of 2.072 million viewers when final figures were published. Final numbers for this week's show will be out on Monday.
In terms of pure viewership, SmackDown was fifth for the night on network television. WWE trailed Shark Tank, 20/20, Daytime Emmy Awards, and Dateline NBC.
In the coveted 18-49 age group demographic, SmackDown drew a 0.50 demo rating that tied Shark Tank and 20/20 for number one on network television for the night. This would be the fourth straight week that SmackDown drew a 0.50 rating in the 18-49 demo.
Among 18-34 year olds, SmackDown drew 0.30 demo rating. This was first place across network television on Friday evening.
This week's SmackDown broadcast saw all of the SmackDown talent in attendance come out on to the ramp and chant "Thank You Taker" at the start of the show followinrg a highlight package that opened the broadcast. The majority of the first hour of the show then featured a rebroadcast of the Boneyard Match between AJ Styles and Undertaker from this past April's WrestleMania 36 event, which Taker has now said will be his last match. The match was divided up between commercial breaks and comments from WWE stars, past and present, paying tribute to the "Dead Man."
The second hour of the show featured first-run matches, with the main event featuring Jeff Hardy taking on Baron Corbin in a bout set-up after Corbin was criticizing The Undertaker's career backstage.