WWE is fresh off the heels of this year’s Royal Rumble PPV, which officially kicks off the road to WrestleMania 35. Following this year’s Rumble, several main event matches have been set for WrestleMania, including Seth Rollins challenging Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title, and Becky Lynch challenging Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Title.
In the midst of the road to ‘Mania, companies like All Elite Wrestling have launched, talents such as Dean Ambrose and Hideo Itami are on their way out of WWE, and Kenny Omega’s NJPW contact has expired, sending the potential wrestling free agency into an interesting spin.
WWE also launched a new company-wide “shake up” at the end of December, with the intention of reviving what many fans believed to be a stale product, and to combat steadily shrinking television ratings.
Despite the changes made by WWE, coupled with the influx of talents whose statuses are currently up in the air, TV ratings continue to hold steady or decline as the road to WrestleMania continues.
According to ShowBuzz Daily, this week’s episode of WWE Smackdown Live, which featured Daniel Bryan vs Jeff Hardy, averaged 1.841 million viewers, which is not only down from last week’s number, but is a new all-time low for The Blue Brand.
Meanwhile, this week’s episode of WWE Raw, which was headlined by Kurt Angle teaming up with Braun Strowman in a losing effort to Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin, averaged 2.510 million viewers, which is down from last week’s 2.703 million viewership average. This week’s Raw also featured a special appearance by Becky Lynch to kickoff the show.
The WWE TV viewership numbers are likely causing concern for WWE as the company prepares to enter billion dollar deals with NBCUniversal and FOX, which will see Smackdown Live move to Friday nights in October and join FOX Sports’ current sports package.
As noted, WWE is advertising the 2019 Superstar Shakeup will take place the week after WrestleMania, at which time the Raw and Smackdown rosters will receive a new makeover in the form of a roster draft.