WWE SmackDown Ratings Increase with Jeff Hardy, Elias Hit-and-Run Angle

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2020

Jeff Hardy makes his way to the ring during the WWE World Cup Quarterfinal match as part of as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on November 2, 2018. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Friday night's episode of WWE SmackDown on Fox saw its viewership increase 5.2 percent compared to last week's show.

According to Showbuzz Daily, SmackDown averaged 2.15 million viewers during its two-hour broadcast, which was up from 2.044 million last week. SmackDown was also tied for second on the night among the 18- to 49-year-old demographic with a 0.55 rating.

SmackDown opened with a shocking angle, as Elias was laid out after an apparent car accident. While Elias was getting loaded into an ambulance, Jeff Hardy was found in the bushes. Officers determined Hardy smelled like alcohol and was responsible for the accident, so he was arrested.

With neither Hardy nor Elias able to compete, AJ Styles was given a bye into the finals of the Intercontinental Championship tournament, and Daniel Bryan accepted the challenge of facing the winner of a 10-man Battle Royal in his semifinal match.

Sheamus won the Battle Royal and then went on to face Bryan in the main event. Sheamus was distracted by a returning Hardy, and Bryan won the match. Hardy attacked Sheamus afterward, and The Celtic Warrior ran off to close the show.

Based on the the manner in which the angle played out, it is likely WWE is moving forward with the storyline that Sheamus framed Hardy and pinned it on his past with alcohol.

Elsewhere on the show, the tension between SmackDown Women's champion Bayley and Sasha Banks continued to play out. Bayley volunteered Banks for a match against Alexa Bliss despite the fact that Sasha wasn't dressed or prepared for it. Even so, The Boss picked up a win.

Also, Shorty G picked up a victory over Cesaro. The match was made after an already eliminated Cesaro went back into the match and eliminated Shorty G from the Battle Royal earlier in the night.

Additionally, Sonya Deville and Lacey Evans fought to a countout, which suggests their rivalry may just be getting started.

Recent rumors were confirmed as well when WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle appeared on SmackDown to announce that NXT's Matt Riddle would soon make the move to the main roster as part of the blue brand.

Next week's SmackDown is shaping up to be stacked, as Bryan and Styles will meet in the finals of the Intercontinental Championship tournament and the team of Bliss and Nikki Cross will defend the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships against Banks and Bayley. 


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