WWE SmackDown Ratings Down Slightly Despite Strowman Return, Royal Rumble Hype

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com.

WWE SmackDown experienced a slight dip in viewership this week despite the fact that it was the go-home show prior to Royal Rumble.

According to Showbuzz Daily, Friday night's SmackDown averaged 2.228 million viewers during its two-hour broadcast on Fox, which was down from last week's 2.282 million in the overnight ratings. SmackDown did finish No. 1 in the 18-49-year-old demographic Friday, however, with a 0.6 rating.

The biggest surprise and news of the night was the return of Braun Strowman, who had been out since November with an injury.

Strowman showed up during a brawl between multiple Superstars who will be competing in the Royal Rumble match and cleaned house, suggesting he will be one of the top contenders in the men's Rumble match on Sunday.

The main event was originally scheduled to be Daniel Bryan against AJ Styles, but Sami Zayn interfered and attacked Bryan. That led to Big E, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura getting involved as well.

A six-man tag team match was made after that, but The Miz and John Morrison interfered, which led to Otis running down to make the save. Then, the match became Miz, Morrison, Cesaro, Zayn and Styles against Bryan, Nakamura, Big E and Otis.

Sheamus then showed up in the middle of the match and joined the babyface team. He later won the match for his team by hitting Zayn with a Brogue Kick for the pin.

An all-out brawl broke out after the bell rang, which is when Strowman surprised the WWE Universe.

Earlier in the show, Bianca Belair and Bayley went one-on-one after Belair beat Bayley in an obstacle course challenge the previous week, only to get attacked by The Role Model.

Belair won the match and called it the biggest victory of her career afterward. Belair also vowed to put the cherry on top of that win by winning the women's Royal Rumble match as well.

SmackDown also featured a heated conversation between universal champion Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens ahead of their Last Man Standing match at the Rumble, and SmackDown women's champion Sasha Banks made her title match against Carmella official for the Royal Rumble after playing mind games with Carmella's sommelier Reginald.

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