WWE has been trying to shake up its product on television in order to bring ratings back up, but their apparent strategy for SmackDown Live this week didn't exactly go as planned.
Hall of Famer Goldberg made his first ever appearance on SmackDown, where he discussed his upcoming bout with The Undertaker at Super ShowDown this Friday. The latter showed up at the very end, staring down Goldberg ahead of their match in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
But that wasn't enough to help SmackDown's ratings for the week. According to Showbuzz Daily (h/t Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com), SmackDown drew in just 2.016 million last night - compared to 2.072 million from last week.
Bringing back the two wrestling legends obviously didn't do enough, even though WWE had announced last week that Goldberg was going to return at SmackDown. The good news is that Raw's ratings improved this week (2.405 million compared to 2.19 million last week, as Middleton noted).
And despite ratings that consistently reached under two million viewers in the month of May, last week's episode (2.072 million) as the best draw for SmackDown Live since mid-April. That said, SmackDown's TV ratings in 2019 are well below the average of 2.352 million from last year, via Middleton.
Vince McMahon has tried a handful of different ideas over the past couple of months in order to fix WWE's ratings problem. He introduced the "wild card rule" which allows four Raw and four SmackDown superstars to appear on the opposite brand each week. He's also relied more on the appearances of big-named veterans like Goldberg, Undertaker, Triple H and Brock Lesnar to fix the problem. So far, it hasn't exactly gone as planned - but he still has time to figure it out before Fox takes over the SmackDown broadcasts in the fall.
What This Means
With both the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals nearing their conclusions, WWE should see its ratings go up over the summer, with little sports action to follow. Bringing on more veteran talents to come on Raw and SmackDown should help WWE as well. It'll be interesting to see what other plans the McMahons come up with as they try to bring ratings back up.