In what has to be disappointing news for WWE considering everything they had planned for the final edition of WWE Smackdown Live before SummerSlam this Sunday, the ratings came in at just 2.53 million, according to Cageside Seats. That represents the lowest viewership for an episode of Smackdown since July 11th. More specifically, roughly 50,00 less viewers tuned in this week compared to last week’s episode that featured a ‘grudge match’ between Randy Orton and WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal.
If you’re WWE, you could argue that recent Smackdown main events, most notably the Chris Jericho vs. A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens United States Championship triple threat match, and the heavily-promoted “dream match” between John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura, represent a ratings spike, and that this week’s slight fall is more of a return to the norm, rather than an alarming dropoff.
On the other hand, some really important things happened on Smackdown this week! A ratings decline, no matter how insignificant, isn’t ideal. We’re talking about the WWE SummerSlam ‘go-home’ show here. WWE has a gigantic pay-per-view, errrr, WWE Network Event to sell the Universe on, and if the ratings are any indication, fan excitement heading into SummerSlam could certainly be higher.
The core principal behind Money In The Bank is the idea that the WWE Championship could change hands at any moment, so while I’m hesitant to fault WWE for not promoting or hinting towards a potential Money In The Bank cash-in, Baron Corbin cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on Smackdown this week. John Cena was in a previously-promoted main event against WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. Things happened, even if WWE saved said things for the final few minutes of the show, and the ratings still went in the wrong direction.
For more context, WWE Smackdown’s go-home show leading up to Battleground drew 2.54 million viewers, which is not only higher than the rating for the go-home show, but also represented a ratings increase over the previous episode of Smackdown. One would assume, or maybe the better word is hope, that fan excitement heading into a major event like SummerSlam would surpass fan excitement heading into a B-tier event like Battleground, but that just isn’t the case here.
So if you’re one of the many who didn’t watch Smackdown this week, I implore you to at least catch up on Fashion Peaks. It’s always worth your time.