Bray Wyatt & Terry Funk Tributes Draw Big For WWE Smackdown

This past week, the pro wrestling world lost two legends as WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk and former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt passed away. Both men, in their own way, left an indelible mark on the industry, and wrestlers from WWE, AEW, and beyond have taken to social media to share their memories and condolences. For its part, WWE did its best to pay tribute to each man this past Friday night on Smackdown, with a show opening tribute to both that ended with a rocking chair solemnly sitting empty.

Wrestlenomics reports that this week’s episode of WWE Friday Night Smackdown drew an average of 2,674,000 viewers, with about 1,022,000 of those in the coveted P18-49 demographic. This is a 26% increase in overall viewership from the week before and a 41% increase in the P18-29 demo. This past Friday’s episode was the most watched overall since the December 25, 2020 installment, which benefitted from an NFL game lead-in. If you exclude that episode, the next most-watched episode came on February 28, 2020.

The report also noted this week’s Smackdown only saw 1% of its usual availability affected due to NFL pre-season games preempting its airing. This is in contrast to last week’s episode, which saw 6% of its usual audience affected due to NFL pre-season games.

The first quarter-hour of the show, featuring all available WWE talents and crew at the top of the ramp paying tribute to Wyatt and Funk, drew the most viewers of any quarter-hour, bringing in an average of 2,893,000 viewers. The audience dipped a bit until the fourth quarter-hour when Cody Rhodes appeared to talk about both men and introduce the Terry Funk Hardcore Tag Team Match between The Streets Profits and Brawling Brutes. The show then shed viewers each following quarter-hour, ending with an average overall audience of 2,510,000 viewers.