The Rock Electrifies WWE Friday Night Smackdown Viewership

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returned to WWE this past Friday night and did what he does best: lay the smackdown on Smackdown. Alongside his friend and fellow larger-than-life WWE personality, Pat McAfee, The Rock kicked off the show going toe-to-toe on the microphone with young, braggadocious star Austin Theory. Following a failed blindside on the eventual WWE Hall of Famer, Theory was dropped with a spinebuster by The Rock and eventually hit by a pair of People’s Elbows, one from The Rock and another from McAfee.

It would seem the buzz around The Rock, possibly popping up on the show and subsequently doing so, paid off big in the viewership department. SportsTVRatings reports that WWE Friday Night Smackdown drew an average of 2,569,000 viewers, with a .70 rating in the P18 – 49 demographic. Wrestlenomics has confirmed that a .70 rating translates to about 918,000 fans in the coveted key demo. WWE Friday Night Smackdown was the number one show on cable for Friday.

It is worth noting that this week’s episode did not only feature The Rock opening the show but John Cena closing it as well. Overall, it was a loaded program, in general, and it saw a 23% increase in overall viewership and a 33% increase in key demo viewership from the week before.

Smackdown’s highest quarter-hour was unsurprisingly the first, featuring The Rock, McAfee, and Theory’s promo segment. It drew an average of 2,803,000 viewers, with about 1,026,000 of those in the P18 – 49 demo. Cena’s show ending segment with Grayson Waller, The Bloodline, and AJ Styles delivered an average of 2,532,000 viewers, with about 929,000 in the P18 – 49 demo.

On the social media side of things, WWE is touting that The Rock’s return on WWE Friday Night Smackdown has been viewed more than 103 million times on social media and counting.