WWE ‘Friday Night SmackDown’ Scores Solid Ratings With John Cena’s Return

by Joe Rutland

With his patented “five-knuckle shuffle” on board, John Cena returned to WWE “Friday Night SmackDown” and helped its ratings.

Now the FOX weekly broadcast had stiff competition with NBC’s re-broadcast of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ Opening Ceremony.

According to an article from Deadline, continued call-outs of Cena and WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns kept fans glued to the TV. “SmackDown” happened to be a split show with some of the action taking place at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami.

Reigns heard Cena’s challenge for his title at SummerSlam, but “The Head of the Table” [as Reigns is known sometimes] did not give an answer. Instead, Cena, who opened up the show, was confronted by Reigns’ Special Counsel, Paul Heyman.

All Heyman did was tell Cena that he would have to wait for a response from the Universal Champion. And Heyman himself, one never to let a moment go without his input, even managed to chirp Cena’s theme music as he headed back to the backstage area.

WWE Show Pulled Two Million Viewers Against Olympics Opening Ceremony

Other matches saw WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair retain her title with a win over Carmella. Toni Storm debuted on “SmackDown” and scored a quick victory over Zelina Vega. Jimmy Uso, one-half of the SmackDown Tag Team champions with his brother Jey, defeated Dominick Mysterio in one-on-one action. Edge and Seth Rollins exchanged not-so-happy pleasantries in the ring, too.

In the end, Reigns came out and said Cena didn’t deserve a title shot. Reigns claimed Cena was just going to use the match to help promote his movies. But Finn Balor confronted Reigns and Heyman in the ring at Rolling Loud. Balor put down a challenge himself and this was one that Reigns accepted.

Ratings numbers indicate the WWE show had 2 million viewers yet a 0.5 demo number.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony had 10.44 million viewers and a 2.3 demo number. That, though, was down from the 2015 Olympics in Rio.

But we’re talking “SmackDown” here amongst us Outsiders. For your viewing pleasure, here are the Top 10 moments from Friday night’s show.

The CW, CBS Provided Some Counterprogramming To WWE, Olympics

What about other Friday night TV programming?

Well, there’s The CW. They carried the season finale of “Charmed” and it drew 680,000 viewers with an 0.1 demo rating. “Dynasty” had 500,000 viewers and a 0.1 demo rating. Both numbers represent boosts in the shows’ viewership, according to TVLine.

CBS’s effort at counterprogramming included “Secret Celebrity Renovation” and “Love Island.”

“Secret Celebrity Renovation” saw 2.1 million viewers watch it as its demo rating dipped by 0.2. “Love Island” had 1.4 million viewers but held steady in its demo at 0.3.

Anyway, WWE can claim some measure of victory against some stiff competition.