SmackDown Ratings Rise As WWE Pays Tribute To Bray Wyatt & Terry Funk

Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt tribute on WWE SmackDown

Fans tuned in to watch WWE pay respects to both Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt, earning SmackDown its highest ratings since 2020.

On August 24th, the wresting world was rocked to learn that Bray Wyatt, who’d been absent from WWE television since February, had tragically passed away at the age of 36. It was later reported that Wyatt had been dealing with heart-related complications after a serious bout of COVID-19 and that while he was believed to be on the mend, he suffered a heart attack in his home and was unable to be revived.

Just one day earlier, fans had begun mourning the death of hardcore icon and WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk, who passed away at the age of 79.

With news of both men’s deaths, original plans for the August 25th episode of SmackDown were largely scrapped, and many stars flew in last-minute to take part in the tribute episode. Cody Rhodes and Braun Strowman were among the Raw stars brought in, with Cody paying an emotional tribute to Funk on the broadcast. The opening moments of the show featured a ten bell salute, and tributes were played to both men throughout the night.

What Were SmackDown’s Ratings On August 25th?

According to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, the tribute episode drew an average total viewership of 2,647,000 viewers with a 0.78 rating in the 18-40 year old demographic. This is a 26% increase in total viewership from the previous week’s 2,094,000 viewers and a 41% increase over the previous week’s 0.55 rating in the key demographic. Thurston reports that this is SmackDown’s highest total viewership and key demo rating since December 25, 2020.

The main event of SmackDown saw LA Knight defeat The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor. After the bout, the lights in the arena went out and a lantern appeared in the ring, allowing fans to say goodbye to Wyatt one more time as they lit up the arena with their phones to create a sea of fireflies.