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SmackDown falls back below Raw after last week's ratings win

After beating Raw in the ratings last week, SmackDown fell back down to normal levels for the first episode of 2017.

Tuesday night's show on the USA Network averagedĀ 2.596 million viewers, down nine percentĀ from last week when John Cena's return and three title matches helped beat Raw for the first time since the brand split.

This was the lowest audience number for the show since December 13th, but it was still above the 2.492 million viewers the show has been averaging since moving to Tuesday night.

There was stronger than usual competition from cable, as SmackDown was 10th on the night in total viewers and 3rd in the 18-49 demo with a 0.88 rating. The broadcast networks were also back to original programming after airing repeats the last few weeks during the holiday season.

SmackDown returned to retaining about 85 percent of the week's Raw audience, which the show has been averaging since the WWE draft last summer.

Here's a chart of the last 15 weeks of SmackDown ratings as compared to Raw. The average number at the bottom of the chart is the number since the brand split.