WWE SmackDown Ratings Down Despite Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Chamber PPV Hype
WWE SmackDown experienced a significant drop in viewership on Friday night despite the advertised return of Seth Rollins.
According to Showbuzz Daily, SmackDown averaged 1.883 million viewers in the overnight ratings for its two-hour show on Fox. That was down from last week’s 2.126 million. SmackDown also did a 0.5 rating in the 18-49-year-old demographic, which was tied for No. 3 on the night.
SmackDown saw Rollins make his first appearance on the show since November, and it also featured a significant amount of buildup for the upcoming Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
Rollins returned two weeks ago in the men’s Royal Rumble match, but Friday marked the first time he had spoken in nearly three months.
The two-time WWE champion mentioned the fact that he and Becky Lynch recently had their first child together and seemed to be teasing a possible face turn, but he went back to his old ways by saying he was the leader of SmackDown and would take them to new heights.
The wrestlers surrounding the ring all walked out during Rollins’ speech except for Cesaro. Rollins initially thought Cesaro was on his side, but Cesaro walked away as well before Rollins attacked him in a rage.
The biggest through-line during the show was the establishment of an Elimination Chamber match for the February 21 namesake pay-per-view. WWE official Adam Pearce originally announced that Roman Reigns would have to defend his Universal Championship inside the Chamber, but Reigns refused.
Reigns said he would defend his title at Elimination Chamber, but it would be against the winner of a Chamber match to determine the No. 1 contender.
Pearce agreed and immediately placed Kevin Owens and Jey Uso in the match. He and Sonya Deville also set up two qualifying matches.
Sami Zayn and King Corbin beat Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio in the first qualifying match. Then, in the main event, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to punch their ticket to Elimination Chamber.
The show ended in chaos, as all six Elimination Chamber competitors duked it out, but it was KO who stood tall after hitting everyone with Stunners.
Also on SmackDown, Bayley beat Liv Morgan, The Street Profits defeated Otis and Chad Gable, and intercontinental champion Big E beat Shinsuke Nakamura by disqualification when Apollo Crews attacked the champion.