Return Of John Cena Powers SmackDown Viewership To A Post-Draft First

John Cena draws.

This has always been understood, but a very special thing happened on Tuesday night, most likely thanks to Cena.

SmackDown beat Raw in the ratings.

Yes, the loaded final show of 2016, which featured John Cena's return plus a triple threat WWE Championship main event, plus two other advertised title matches, drew 2.885 million viewers, according to ShowBuzz Daily.. This is up from last week's 2.637 million viewers.

In comparison, Monday's episode of RAW, which did not feature a returning John Cena (or any advertised title matches), averaged 2.855 million viewers, down from last week's 2.955 million viewers.

Raw 2.855 million.

SmackDown 2.885 million.

For the first time since the brand split, Smackdown bested Raw in viewership. By just 30,000 people, but it still qualifies.

For those that insist that SmackDown has been putting out the higher quality product for several weeks in a row, this is sweet, sweet vindication. It remains to be seen what, if anything, this wrinkle will cause WWE brass to change about either show.

SmackDown was #3 for the night on cable in viewership, and #3 in the 18-49 demographic, behind just college football on ESPN and Curse of Oak Island.

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