WWE News: When NXT Talent Arrived at Smackdown, Viewership Numbers Rise for SD on Fox, Travel Update

Last night’s edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown was a tremendous show that was well-received by WWE fans. It was a show dominated by NXT superstars invading Smackdown and having a strong night that ended with Adam Cole defeating Daniel Bryan to retain the NXT Title in an excellent main event match. I rated the show 9 out of 10, which was my highest for Smackdown this year and based on feedback I’ve seen, most fans loved it as much as I did.

As we covered yesterday in multiple posts, a lot of the main Smackdown talent was still traveling to the US from Saudi Arabia where they were delayed for over 24 hours. There were a couple of flights. The last flight left late last night (that’s Eastern time) and they should be arriving in the US by now with PWInsider reporting it would be late morning or early afternoon. It was not a fun experience for a lot of the WWE superstars, but that’s what happens sometimes in a foreign country when there’s a 13-hour flight to get back home. The company that was flying a chartered WWE plane called Atlas Airlines released a statement saying there was a mechanical failure. Were there other issues getting out of Saudi Arabia? We don’t know that. I’m just happy the WWE superstars and staff will be home after a long trip.

Due to so many wrestlers being unable to make it to Smackdown last night in Buffalo, WWE decided to do a different type of show with NXT superstars showing up to “invade” Smackdown by attacking some of the regulars we see on the blue brand every week. Would this have happened if WWE’s superstars were in Buffalo? Nope. It’s pretty interesting to see how

It was reported by John Pollock of Post Wrestling that the WWE NXT superstars didn’t arrive at the arena in Buffalo until a few minutes before the show.

That’s really cutting it close. The police escort was clearly necessary and I’m not sure how much money it costs WWE to make that happen, but it was a wise move.

The NXT crew is based out of Orlando. I have flown to Detroit to Orlando before and Detroit isn’t that far from Buffalo, so the timing of that flight would be similar and it’s around 3 hours or so. I would have thought that WWE would have got the NXT wrestlers on a plane earlier in the day on Friday, but I guess they didn’t know for sure if the NXT superstars were needed.

As for who came up with most of the booking on Smackdown this week, it was credited to Triple H (Paul Levesque) with Vince McMahon’s approval, of course. Here’s what the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer tweeted about it:

Whether it was mostly Hunter with Vince approval or a mixture of both, they need to keep this dynamic going into Survivor Series where WWE is telling us it’s going to be Raw vs. Smackdown vs. NXT in some way.


* Here is the Smackdown on Fox TV viewership/ratings news courtesy of Showbuzzdaily:

Average: 2.543 million viewers.

Hour 1: 2.605 million viewers.

Hour 2: 2.481 million viewers.

Smackdown also beat all of the other Friday night network shows in the coveted 18-49 age group viewership bracket.

Last week’s Smackdown audience was terrible with 888,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1 due to Fox airing the World Series, which had a huge audience.

Two weeks ago, Smackdown on Fox did 2.442 million viewers, so they increased from that number.

I feel like 2.5 million viewers is going to be about the average for Smackdown on Fox in terms of the live audience and then it’s believed that another 10-15% of the audience watches it other days via DVR recording.

There’s no word yet on what Raw is going to be like on Monday and if we’ll see NXT stars on there as well, but it’s certainly a possibility.