Despite finding a temporary home elsewhere, WWE Friday Night Smackdown posted a substantial number this week. With the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup opener earning top billing on over-the-air Fox, Smackdown landed on FS1 this week. WWE fans needed to find a different channel this week, but Smackdown wasn’t significantly deterred, given the situation.
According to the Sports TV Ratings Twitter, Smackdown on FS1’s preliminary numbers were strong. The show averaged 1.182 million viewers, according to the page.
am told in the preliminary fast nationals WWE Smackdown on FS1 (due to World Cup) averaged 1.182million viewers on FS1.
That's up 31% vs. last FS1 episode. 448K for adults 18-49, up 37% vs. last FS1 episode
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) July 22, 2023
This large audience likely helped to set a feat. It’s teed up to be the biggest FS1 audience since the move in 2019. Brandon Thurston, who heads Wrestlenomics (a Patreon focusing on wrestling television ratings), pointed out that fast nationals often make adjustments, and they usually go higher.
Smackdown previously on FS1:
12/31/21 (NYE): 378k
Likely Smackdown's best ever on FS1. Fast affiliates/nationals usually adjust slightly higher, at least for wrestling. Finals on Mon. https://t.co/V1IQpfu8Zz
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) July 22, 2023
Smackdown on FS1 has only hit over 1 million viewers three times now. The previous two times happened in 2020 and 2021. Smackdown scored 1.033 million viewers on December 18, 2020, a show headlined by Bayley and future mega-star Bianca Belair. Then they scored 1.032 million viewers on October 27, 2021, a show that featured The Usos vs. The New Day.
Smackdown emanated from the historic Madison Square Garden in New York City two weeks ago. MSG, often dubbed WWE’s “home,” was the site for a historical episode from a TV ratings perspective. The show earned such a high rating that it was the most-watched show on network television by the P18-49 demographic. They scored 0.76 in the demographic, a monster number for a show that peaked at over 3 million viewers.
Last week’s show didn’t suffer much in the ratings without WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns on Smackdown. The show, which focused heavily on women superstars, did quite well. That WWE put Reigns on FS1 was no doubt a strategic move to get people to the broadcast. It seems that based on the Smackdown ratings, the move WWE pulled off paid off.
They are red-hot in the ratings right now on every network they have available to them. It’s quite the time to do that, too, since WWE media rights are up for grabs.