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John Cena's return helps WWE SmackDown ratings

With John Cena returning to the brand after a six-month absence, SmackDown saw a ratings increase for the second straight week.

Last night's episode averaged 2.692 million viewers, which was up from 2.613 million the previous week. The show finished sixth for the night in total viewers on cable but topped the 18-49 demo with a stronger-than-usual 0.86 rating, over 20 percent higher than the second-place finisher.

It was also the second straight week that SmackDown was up year-over-year. The last episode of February in 2017 did 2.566 million viewers.

The show was built around a long non-title main event between Cena and WWE Champion AJ Styles where Cena pinned Styles to earn a spot in the main event of the upcoming Fastlane pay-per-view. That match was set up during the opening segment, which also featured Cena.

SmackDown retained over 85 percent of the Raw audience for just the third time this year. Cena's appearance on the show is almost certainly the reason for that, as he promised to be on SmackDown during a promo on Monday night.

Here's a look at SmackDown ratings since the start of the year and how they compare to Raw's numbers: