SmackDown Ratings, Viewership and Demo (9/23/22): Is WWE Knocking on the Door of 3M Viewers?

Roman Reigns Returns to SmackDown ratings

WWE ratings for last week’s SmackDown saw the blue brand hit a number that no WWE programming has touched since December, 2020 as SmackDown eclipsed 2,500,000 viewers in nearly two years. It is worth offering a caveat there though as that Christmas night show benefited from an NFL lead-in, evidenced by the fact that the 12/25/20 SmackDown opened with an hour one mark of 4,097,000 viewers and a steep decline of just 2,574,000 viewers for hour two. But this week’s SmackDown had no such lead-in. Taking that into account, excluding the Christmas NFL-led show, the last time SmackDown topped 2.5M viewers was over two years ago for the first empty arena show on March 20, 2020. SmackDown appears to be on an upward trajectory of late, so much so that it’s worth considering, could the blue brand top three million in the coming weeks/months? Let’s take a deeper dive into the numbers for last week’s SmackDown.

WWE Ratings – SmackDown Rating and Viewership Data for September 23, 2022

As reported by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, last week’s episode of SmackDown had an impressive total of 2,535,000 viewers and a demo rating of 0.63, making it television’s top program on Friday night.¬†According to ITN WWE, this number marks SmackDown’s highest viewership since December 25, 2020, which as noted above, occurred under unique circumstances. It is just the third time since March 20th’s first empty arena show, that SmackDown (and all WWE programming in general), have topped 2.5M viewers for a single show. SmackDown picked up over 300,000 viewers from the week prior, which was a show that featured an NXT North American Championship match, #1 contendership bout for the tag titles, and an appearance by Logan Paul.

While not the NFL competition that Raw faces every week, SmackDown has been facing off against NCAAF competition since the first week of September. Though, it hasn’t exactly manifested itself in the ratings. In fact, since the start of the college football season, SmackDown has actually seen its ratings rise, having topped 2M viewers for each of the four weeks of September.

SmackDown’s week-to-week increase of 323,000 viewers was the blue brand’s single largest such increase since the October 29-November 5th episodes saw an uptick of 1,061,000 viewers. The drastic increase in viewers this week was likely due to the card, which featured some big announcements worthy of making people tune in. For starters, there was a championship match between the Usos and the Brawling Brutes for the WWE tag team titles. There had been teases leading up to the show that made people reasonably suspect Bray Wyatt may have been showing up. Oh, and WWE had announced that Roman Reigns would be making his grand return to the blue brand where he was last seen prior to¬†Clash at the Castle.¬†That return opened the show, though it was hour two, featuring a match between Otis and Braun Strowman, that led slightly on the night.

SmackDown is gearing up for its season premiere on October 7th, and while not much has been announced, the blue brand is already promoting a rematch of Gunther vs Sheamus for the show. This match was largely considered to be the best match from Clash at the Castle, even garnering a show-high five stars from Dave Meltzer. Needless to say, fans should be excited to tune in for round two, thus begging the question, could October’s season premiere be the first time WWE has topped three million in nearly two years? It is not a guarantee as WWE tends to gain and lose viewers on somewhat of a whim, but if they build to a strong card behind the headliner of this rematch, it would not be surprising to see the blue brand continue its ratings ascension of late.

WWE Ratings Reports

Raw Ratings, September 19th

SmackDown Ratings, September 16th

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