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WWE SmackDown beats Raw in ratings during Christmas week

As expected, Tuesday's Christmas night edition of SmackDown did the show's lowest ratings since the 2016 brand split. The episode averaged 1.901 million viewers, just under the 1.921 million SmackDown did on election night in 2016. 

Despite the record low, SmackDown beat the Christmas Eve Raw by eight percent, one of the very few times that SmackDown has had higher ratings in the same week. Tuesday's show did feature two matches that had been heavily pushed for weeks, with Samoa Joe facing Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura defending -- and ultimately losing -- the United States title against Rusev.

With all of the cable news shows being way down, SmackDown finished fifth in total viewers for the day on cable, a little higher than usual. SmackDown was also fifth in the 18-49 demo with a 0.61 rating, trailing NBA games on ESPN and basketball-related programming. 

Next week's ratings will be interesting with SmackDown airing on New Year's Day, but they are promoting the return of John Cena to the show, who traditionally has spiked ratings when coming back after a long absence. With Raw airing on New Year's Eve, an even worse night, it's quite likely that SmackDown will beat Raw two weeks in a row for the first time.