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New era of SmackDown kicks off with ratings drop; stays well ahead of pre-draft numbers

The first episode of SmackDown in the post-draft era failed to reach the viewership heights of last week’s draft edition, but was still well ahead of what the taped show had been doing on Thursdays.

The launch of the Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan led new era of SmackDown was watched by 2.73 million people on Tuesday night. That is down from the 3.17 million that watched last week's draft, but ahead of the 2.06 million who watched the last taped edition of the show.

After SmackDown had beaten Raw in viewership last week, Raw once again regained the lead as it was watched by 3.33 million people on Monday night.

The roster split came about in part to increase both the profile and viewership for SmackDown, and Tuesday’s rating should represent a modest success on that front. WWE has attempted to give both brands their own feel, and it will be interesting to see if that is shown in sustained ratings success.