Television ratings for WWE Friday Night SmackDown increased slightly with an average of 1.956 million viewers across the two-hour Fox broadcast.
Joshua Gagnon of Wrestling Inc. reported the viewership average. SmackDown received 1.924 million viewers during the first hour and 1.988 million viewers in the second hour, per Show Buzz Daily. The show's 0.5 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic topped all network shows Friday.
Last week's SmackDown broadcast averaged 1.892 million viewers as WWE builds toward SummerSlam 2020, which is scheduled for Aug. 23.
Friday's show concluded with a hostile takeover by Retribution, a rogue group of masked wrestlers who defaced the Performance Center and used a chainsaw to cut the ring ropes.
WWE had teased the stable's impending arrival with various storyline technical difficulties during its shows over the previous week.
Now the key question is whether Retribution will have any staying power after an intriguing debut.
Meanwhile, WWE continued to advance several other feuds and storylines leading up to the SummerSlam pay-per-view, which still doesn't have a definitive host location. It was originally set to take place in Boston before the coronavirus pandemic, and there's an ongoing search for a new venue.
Most of the company's shows, including SmackDown, have originated from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, throughout the pandemic.
The other notable segment from Friday's show featured Bray Wyatt, working as The Fiend, using Alexa Bliss to mess with Braun Strowman. The involvement of Bliss combined with the previously unresolved Sister Abigail storyline has created an interesting, complex dynamic to unfold in the coming weeks.
Two episodes of SmackDown remain before SummerSlam.