The day after the explosive WrestleMania 40 Kickoff press event in Las Vegas, “WWE SmackDown” aired from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to the latest television ratings data shared by Wrestlenomics, that episode drew 2,578,000 in total viewership — the show’s highest rating since August 25, 2023. Overall viewership was also up 4% compared to last week’s episode. Meanwhile, in the all-important 18-49 demographic, last Friday’s broadcast recorded a 0.75. Again, this was the blue brand show’s largest audience in the demo since August 25 last year.
Looking at the quarter-hour breakdown of the show, the most-viewed portion of the broadcast in terms of overall viewership was the opening 15 minutes, which saw WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque address the fallout from the Kickoff. That segment drew 2,800,000. The least-watched portion of the show was between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., drawing 2,450,000. That quarter-hour featured a Bobby Lashley backstage promo, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate against DIY for a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship, and a backstage angle involving Dominik Mysterio, Kevin Owens, and R-Truth.
Overall, Friday’s “SmackDown” focused on qualifying bouts for the upcoming men’s and women’s Elimination Chamber matches at the namesake event in Australia. Drew McIntyre defeated AJ Styles, while Randy Orton overcame Sami Zayn to qualify for the men’s bout, where the winner will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 40. On the women’s side of things, Bianca Belair beat Michin in her qualifying match. The victor of the women’s Chamber clash later this month will face Rhea Ripley for the WWE Women’s World Championship at the two-night event in April. Elsewhere, Dakota Kai helped 2024 women’s Royal Rumble winner Bayley by chasing off Damage CTRL with a steel chair; that portion of the show featured in the second biggest quarter of the evening.