Jade Cargill Credit: WWE.com

Last week’s episode of WWE Friday Night Smackdown continued the run towards King and Queen of the Ring this Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Smackdown drew an uptick in ratings and viewership, averaging 2.186 million viewers. On a busy, action-packed show, a new star emerged this week to help peak viewership: Jade Cargill.

During Friday’s busy show, Cargill wrestled veteran Nia Jax in a true clash of titans. Jax won the dramatic encounter by disqualification after baiting Cargill after she found her daughter at ringside, but the ‘winnings’ come from what this segment gathered. Cargill vs. Jax drew the peak viewership of the entire 2-hour broadcast.

According to Wrestlenomics, the 9-9:15 p.m. quarter drew a whopping 2,366,000 viewers. That’s as per the Wrestlenomics Patreon’s quarter-hour data.

The quarter-hour also scored a P18-49 demographic rating of 0.64, with 842,000 viewers in that demographic tuning in. That also peaked the show on a very active Smackdown.

Cargill, 31, has led a fascinating wrestling career so far. She debuted for the competing All Elite Wrestling four years ago and worked there until late Summer 2023. She had her opportunities, though sometimes they came few and far between.

While Cargill was a champion in AEW, the steak didn’t match the sizzle for many reasons. Some are probably easier to decipher than others. But whatever wasn’t working in AEW has thus far not been a WWE issue.

The company signed her to a mega-deal this past Fall. They trotted out the red carpet for her and then some, showing off a level of recruiting only often seen in college sports, certainly not in pro wrestling. She was dormant for a while but finally surfaced again at this year’s Royal Rumble.

And months later, Cargill participated in a huge attraction match at WrestleMania XL. The talented Cargill teamed with multi-time champion Naomi and Bianca Belair, one of the biggest stars in the entire pro wrestling industry. The trio won in grand style over the popular Damage CTRL faction.

WWE likely viewed, or views Cargill as an attraction. They probably hoped that she’d someday become a draw. What they probably didn’t realize was it would happen so soon! There’s an opportunity currently to claim a spot on the show.

That’s because the show is absent its biggest star, Roman Reigns, who’s on hiatus until further notice. Without Reigns, his Bloodline faction is still frequently charting high with their segments. The next phase of that angle hasn’t impacted viewership. Cody Rhodes, Logan Paul, Bayley, and Belair are the other four on the show currently who you could probably consider as the show’s biggest draws and interest points.

If we add Cargill to that mix? Well that probably doesn’t hurt things as much as it accelerates them along. Peaking once could just be happenstance. If it happens again, then we’ll say, “coincidence.” A third time, though…

[Data cited by Wrestlenomics Patreon]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022