TV Ratings: John Cena leads SmackDown to top finish, AEW Rampage grows 18-34 audience

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Friday Night SmackDown was promoted around John Cena’s return as the show performed to its second-largest audience in nearly two months.

The September 1 episode of SmackDown from Hershey averaged 2,443,000 viewers and 848,000 viewers (0.65) in the 18-49 demographic on Fox, per Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics & Spoiler TV.

It was SmackDown’s second largest audience since July 7 behind last week’s tribute show for Windham Rotunda (“Bray Wyatt”) and Terry Funk.

SmackDown was the top program on television on Friday and aired college football games on ESPN & FS1 as well as U.S Open Tennis on ESPN2.

The show fell by 5% in viewership and 15% in the 18-49 demographic from last week’s large audience. In the demo, male viewership saw a large decrease from 675,000 to 523,000 or 23%.

Adults 18-34 dropped by 28% this week from 408,000 to 292,000 including males decreasing by 36% from last week’s audience.

Adults 35-49 posted a 9% decrease, although women held up more than other categories by only falling 2% from last week.

According to Wrestlenomics, the most-watched segment in overall viewership was the opening segment with John Cena at 2,616,000 viewers. In 18-49, the top performing quarter was from 9 – 9:15 p.m. ET for The Miz and LA Knight’s in-ring segment at 941,000 viewers.

In Canada, SmackDown averaged 245,200 viewers and 98,900 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360, which were increases of 15% and 29% respectively from the previous week. SmackDown ranked third among sports programming on Friday and was second in the demo behind the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Colorado Rockies. In the 25-54 demo, SmackDown was #8 among all programming in Canada on Friday.

WWE Main Event on Sportsnet 360 immediately after SmackDown averaged 78,600 viewers and 19,300 in the 25-54 demographic and ranked #8 among sports programs that day.

AEW Rampage from Friday night attracted an audience of 372,000 viewers and 145,000 (0.11) in the 18-49 demographic – figures that represented an increase of 7% and 4% respectively from the previous week.

Rampage ranked #17 among cable originals on Friday, which were led by ESPN’s coverage of the Louisville vs. Georgia Tech college football game that had 1,648,000 viewers and 0.46 in the demo.

Adults 18-34 saw sizable growth with the demo increasing from 34,000 to 49,000 viewers this week.

Adults 35-49 declined by 9% with 96,000 viewers.

Wrestlenomics reports that the peak quarter was the first fifteen minutes of the show for the Tag Team Battle Royal with 418,000 viewers and 159,000 in the demo.

Dark Order’s John Silver & Alex Reynolds won the battle royal to earn an ROH Tag Team Championship match against MJF & Adam Cole at All Out on Sunday. Rampage was headlined by Skye Blue & Willow Nightingale against Anna Jay & Taya Valkyrie.