The numbers are in!
WWE SmackDown once again had a great showing on Friday night. They put out a quality show, and the ratings definitely showed it this week.
The Blue Brand drew 3,131,000 viewers on Friday night.
The official rating is rounded to a 2.2 number, up from last week's 1.8 rating.
As you can see, the number rose just about 20 percent. That is excellent news for everybody involved with SmackDown right now. While the Raw number is delayed until tomorrow (holiday), a lot of folks may be celebrating over this.
That begs the question: Why did so many viewers tune in for SmackDown this week? Here are my thoughts on the issue:
1. SmackDown has been better than Raw for the last few months. Yes, it is just my opinion. Others may think differently, but both shows are great to start 2012. However, the Blue Brand has been the better program more often than not.
Perhaps fans are finally starting to sit down and enjoy SmackDown on a regular basis. Maybe the "buzz" is finally winning people over to give the Friday night wrestling show a chance. All too often SmackDown is not treated with the same amount of respect as Raw.
2. Daniel Bryan's character is intriguing. I am not his biggest fan, but I enjoy his work. His promos definitely need improving, but he is one of the more interesting characters on WWE TV right now. Nobody can deny that.
Something is going on with him and Big Show. You add in AJ, and fans are really wanting to see this all play out each week. I have said it for almost two months, but a heel turn has to be coming here...
3. World title matches usually help. Not always. However, most of the time big matches lead to larger audiences. SmackDown has been giving away some huge main events as of late, so it is nice to see more WWE fans watching.
Maybe it is the Big Show chasing the title. Does Mark Henry's change of character play a role here? Or is Daniel Bryan starting to click with fans as a heel? Either way, the main-event scene is seeing some major movement on the Blue Brand.
4. Finally, there are other little notes to mention. The holidays are all but over. I usually don't put too much stock into that, but it could play a small part. A lot of the big football games are now only on the weekends, so the competition is slowing fading.
Again, I think a lot of factors helped the number out last Friday night. The show is simply entertaining. The main-event performers are all very interesting right now, so tuning in to see what happens next is a priority. Also, giving away big matches usually does help.
In conclusion, I just want to point out how well a WWE show can do without all the little "must-haves" fans always mention. Here are the usual suspects:
SmackDown should go live! Well, it doesn't really matter much. This taped show did better than the live SmackDown shows last year. Going live on Tuesday (or Friday) has proven to not move the needle one bit.
The same can be said about spoilers. Everybody knew about the big ending with AJ. What happened? People tuned in to see it.
Give viewers a reason to watch, and they will! It is as simple as that.
Finally, how many big names does Raw have? Now, how many big names does SmackDown have? Again, big names help, but big storylines also help. Ask TNA how big names can increase ratings (same number for three years). Talent can help, but having excellent shows is what matters.
Just quality shows week in and week out. Keep up the great work, WWE. We will see how well the Raw rating did tomorrow...
Reminder: I am now on Twitter @JustinWatry! Thanks for following.