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Title match, Vince McMahon appearance boost WWE SmackDown overnight ratings

The show averaged 2.272 million viewers in the fast nationals.

Friday night's WWE SmackDown averaged 2.272 million viewers in the fast national ratings. That's up 26.1 percent from the overnight number of 1.802 million for the previous week. 

The previous week's SmackDown ended up with a final average of 1.914 million viewers, so a similar increase would put this show in the 2.4-2.5 million range when final numbers are released on Monday. 

Last night's show averaged a fast national viewership of 2.186 million viewers in the first hour and 2.362 million in the second.

It's the highest overnight number for SmackDown since January 21, 2021. 

The show did a 0.55 fast national rating in the 18-49 demo, which led network television. That's up 37.5 percent from the prior week's 0.4 overnight number.

This is SmackDown's best overnight rating in the key demo since May 7, 2021

SmackDown featured Roman Reigns' first televised title defense as Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, along with a much-publicized appearance by Vince McMahon in the show's opening segment. It was announced earlier in the day that McMahon was voluntarily stepping away from his CEO and chairman positions until the WWE Board of Directors' misconduct investigation is completed.