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WWE SmackDown posts best ratings of 2019

Last night's episode of SmackDown on the USA Network averaged 2.393 million viewers, up almost nine percent from last week. This came on a week when Raw was down the night before. 

This was SmackDown's highest audience total for the show since SmackDown 1000 in October. Aside from that special episode, it was the highest since August 21 of last year.

This week's episode was highlighted by Charlotte Flair winning the SmackDown Women's Championship from Asuka in a long, but unannounced match -- along with a tag team gauntlet match featuring The New Day that took up the majority of the second hour. 

It was likely one of these two portions of the show that led to the unusually high number. Given that WWE has done long gauntlet matches two previous times in the last several weeks to little or no ratings movement, it looks to be the Women's title match that made the difference. That's a good sign heading into the Charlotte vs. Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch main event at WrestleMania 35.

SmackDown retained 92 percent of the Raw audience, the highest percentage since the New Year's Day and Christmas Day episodes, which were unusual circumstances with Raw falling on a terrible TV night on both of those weeks. For a regular show, it would be back to November 27, when Vince McMahon made a rare (at the time) appearance on SmackDown and boosted the ratings. 

Year-over-year, SmackDown was only down seven percent, the first time since October 30 that it wasn't down at least 10 percent. As a comparison, Monday's Raw was down 23 percent from this week last year. 

SmackDown finished seventh overall for the night in terms of cable viewers, right around where it usually does. In the 18-49 demo, the show tied Curse of Oak Island with a 0.79 rating to finish first on cable. That mark also topped network programming on ABC and FOX in the same time slot. 

Here's a look at the last 10 weeks of SmackDown ratings and how they compare to Raw's from the same week: