As it turns out, having legends like John Cena return does in fact boost ratings.
According to the Wrestling Observer, The December 30th, 2022 episode of SmackDown drew an average of 2.629 million viewers on Fox. This was the largest audience SmackDown has had since October 11th, 2019, which was the second episode on the Fox channel.
The show saw increases across the board and in all critical demographics. It had an 0.84 rating in the 18-49 demo, which was the highest for the entire 2022 calendar year.
The last SmackDown of 2022 included, among other things:
- A Bray Wyatt promo that ended with Uncle Howdy turning on and attacking Wyatt
- Solo Sikoa defeated Sheamus
- Drew McIntyre returned and attacked both the Bloodline and the Brawling Brutes
- Ronda Rousey retained her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Raquel Gonzalez
- Charlotte returned and squashed Ronda to win the same title
- Gunther weakened Braun Strowman
- Kevin Owens and John Cena defeated Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn when Owens hit a Stunner on Zayn
It is expected that John Cena will appear at WrestleMania although discussions about one particular match were shelved since Vince McMahon departed the company and the topic hasn’t been discussed internally since.
This coming Friday on Smackdown, The Usos will put the WWE Tag Team Titles on the line against Drew McIntyre & Sheamus, who beat the champions in a non-title match prior to Survivor Series.