It was a week of holiday disappointment for the WWE Raw ratings this week while Smackdown improved after they had stumbled. There were major matches announced for Raw this week including Braun Strowman battling Big Show in a steel cage main event while Jeff Hardy challenged The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. On Tuesday’s WWE Smackdown, they also had a big time match with Shinsuke Nakamura facing Randy Orton for the first time on television to determine the #1 Contender for the WWE Title.
The ratings for both shows were delayed this week due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, so we’ve put them together this week.
This week’s Raw did 2.932 million viewers according to Showbuzz Daily. Two reasons for that were that Labor Day shows typically go down from the norm and there was an exciting college football game on ESPN that did 5.13 million viewers. With the NFL’s Monday Night Football returning next week through the rest of the year, WWE will go up against football every week and they know it has a big affect on Raw viewership. The last time Raw’s average viewership number was under three million viewers was July 3, which was a night before the July 4th Independence Day Holiday.
Raw’s three-hour breakdown saw hour one lead the way with 3.069 million viewers, hour two was at 2.978 million viewers and the third hour saw a bigger fall down to 2.750 million viewers. Normally hour two leads the way, but with John Cena on during the first 30 minutes it’s no surprise that hour one did well. The show ended at about 17 minutes after the top of the 11pmET hour, so it was one of the longest Raw’s of the year. The usual ending is about ten minutes before that.
Last week’s Raw did 3.30 million viewers while the previous week (the night after SummerSlam) was around 3.4 million viewers, which was the highest viewership for Raw since the Superstar Shake-up episode in mid-April. It’s highly unlikely that they get up to 3.4 million viewers the rest of the year. Last year during NFL season, Raw usually averaged in the range of 2.6 million viewers as a low to about 3.1 million viewers as a high. There’s no reason to think this year might produce a ratings surge.
As for Smackdown, the news is better because they went up to 2.582 million viewers according to Showbuzz Daily. That’s a good number after the disappointing 2.455 million viewers from last week. Advertising a big main event like Orton vs. Nakamura is a big reason for a boost. If you don’t advertise anything specific the casual fan may be less likely to tune in.
I’m interested in what might happen next week because Smackdown could come a lot closer to beating Raw. There are two NFL games on Monday night (starting at 7pmET and then at 10:15pmET), so the end of the first game will be on during Raw while the second game competes with Raw for about an hour. Last year’s Raw that went against week 1 of Monday Night Football did 2.69 million viewers as an average, which is just 100,000 more viewers than what Smackdown did this week.
Next week’s Smackdown has a big time feel as they are calling it #SinCitySmackdown in Las Vegas. WWE has advertised three title matches (US, Tag Team, Women’s) and the television return of Vince McMahon, who hasn’t been on WWE television in a very long time. If Smackdown doesn’t beat Raw next week in terms of viewers they should come very close.