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WWE SmackDown posts big ratings for Daniel Bryan's return

Coming off all of the buzz surrounding yesterday afternoon's announcement that Daniel Bryan has been cleared for an in-ring return by WWE, SmackDown posted its best rating in almost a year and the third biggest number since moving to its live format on Tuesday nights.

The show averaged 2.888 million viewers, a four percent increase over last week and 12 percent higher than two weeks ago.

The only shows to beat this number were the Superstar Shakeup episode from April 11th of last year and the initial draft special in July 2016.

SmackDown was fifth for the night on cable but first in the 18-49 demo with a 0.99 rating. The rating was down from last Tuesday, which means that there were more viewers per home watching this week than usual.

The episode retained 87 percent of the Raw audience from the night before, a level they usually only achieve during football season when Raw is up against the NFL.

SmackDown was also up nine percent from the same week last year, the third time in the last four weeks the show was up year-over-year.

Here's a look at SmackDown viewership so far in 2018 as compared to Raw's from the same week.