This past week's episode of SmackDown Live garnered the lowest viewership so far for 2017 totaling 2.072 million viewers which is down from the previous weeks episode which had totaled 2.349 million viewers. Considering the SmackDown episode this week was the "go-home" show prior to the SmackDown exclusive PPV Money In The Bank, this demonstrates that WWE fans are not very impressed with the current product.
To give some perspective, Smackdown ranked #11 in viewership on television that night (June 13th), and it ranked below Lead with Jake Tapper, Rachel Maddow, Situation Room, CNN News Room, Last Word, Hannity, Tucker Carlson, The Five, Your World and finally, the Jeff Sessions hearing on Fox News. The company's flagship show Monday Night Raw the night prior (June 12th) drew 2.542 million viewers which is down from the previous week's Raw viewership of 2.994 million viewers - once again, much like SmackDown, all time lows for 2017.
Although Jinder Mahal has not affected SmackDown's ratings too significantly since being crowned the WWE Champion on May 21st at the Backlash PPV, the recent viewership numbers are beginning to prove the theory that Mahal will not be a drawing champion.
For the first two episodes of SmackDown following Jinder's title win, the shows averaged 2.3 million viewers which were slightly below average. However, it seems as though the WWE Universe have gotten over the "newness" of Jinder being the company's top title holder, and the ratings are starting to slip as fans now have to accept Mahal as "the guy" for the time being.
WWE's end goal with presenting Jinder Mahal as the company's flagship champion is to expand their presence in India, a tactic that may prove to be fruitful over time. Though in America, Jinder Mahal is far from being regarded as a legitimate candidate for being a WWE Champion, and his booking prior to winning the gold was that of a lowcarder - not a main eventer.
Only time will tell if the viewership for SmackDown Live will improve with Mahal at the helm, but up to this point, things are not looking very good. That being said, John Cena is currently scheduled to make his WWE return early next month, so we can definitely expect to see a ratings spike following his imminent return to the Blue Brand.