SmackDown Ratings, Viewership and Demo (1/6/23): How Big Was the Post Cena Dropoff?

SmackDown ratings impacted as Charlotte Flair Returns to the WWE as SmackDown Women's Champion once more

As everyone likely predicted, SmackDown ratings, viewership and demo numbers dipped this week in the absence of John Cena. The show was headlined by an appearance from Roman Reigns, a championship celebration for Charlotte Flair and a tag championship showdown between the Usos and Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. Those matches weren’t enough for SmackDown to maintain its upward trajectory from last week, a show that featured John Cena’s first match in over a year.

So everyone predicted a dip in the numbers, but just how much of one? Let’s take a deeper dive into the numbers for last week’s SmackDown ratings to see how the blue brand fared without Cena’s star power.

WWE Ratings – SmackDown Rating and Viewership Data for January 6, 2022

As reported by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, last week’s episode of SmackDown had a total of 2,257,000 viewers and a demo rating of 0.53, making it television’s third-best program on Friday night.  AEW Rampage, which continued to see its ratings climb, hit 551,000 viewers to rank as the 30th-best cable original program on the night.

For SmackDown, viewership declined by 372,000, which was the blue brand’s largest week-to-week decline since the December 2nd episode dropped 1,264,000 from the November 25th show. However, overall, SmackDown’s approximately 2.25M viewers was still a respectable number and one of the top-watched episodes of SmackDown since August. According to ITN WWE, January 6th’s SmackDown was the seventh-highest viewed show over the last five months. Inclusive of the entire 2022 calendar, this week’s SmackDown would have ranked as the 11th-highest viewed show out of the 47 WWE ran that year. SmackDown’s first show of the year in 2023 brought in 2.25M, which was just a tick below the 2.27M WWE brought in on the first show of the year in 2022.

Read More: SmackDown Ratings, Viewership and Demo (12/30/22): John Cena Draws Highest Mark in Years

Two major matches/segments, both with championship implications, were promoted in advance of the show. The SmackDown tag team championship match likely brought in some viewers but it could be noted that the show was also the first in which Charlotte Flair, who surprisingly returned on the December 30th show, was promoted as appearing. It wouldn’t be shocking to note that Flair may have been partially responsible for SmackDown’s strong ratings numbers this week. However, SmackDown also featured an appearance by Roman Reigns, something that is always good to pop a strong number for the blue brand.

SmackDown featured a promo segment with the Bloodline, Santos Escobar vs Kofi Kingston, Ricochet vs Top Dolla, Karrion Kross and Scarlett vs Madcap Moss and Emma (the match marked Scarlett and Kross’ first-ever team up in WWE), Charlotte Flair vs Sonya Deville for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and the Usos against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on the SmackDown ratings reports and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.