AJ Styles was traded to Friday Night SmackDown.
Credit: WWE on FOX
WWE Friday Night SmackDown featured the return of AJ Styles to the Blue Brand as the former two-time WWE champion was traded from Raw “for a future pick.” Styles won his first-round match against Shinsuke Nakamura to advance in the Intercontinental Championship tournament.
WWE also announced a two-on-one match for the Universal Championship at Backlash pitting Miz and Morrison against quietly surging champion Braun Strowman.
Last week’s broadcast of Friday Night SmackDown garnered 2.042 million viewers, essentially flat with the week prior.
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Viewership—Last Five Weeks
- May 15, 2020—2.042 million viewers
- May 8, 2020—2.025 million viewers
- May 1, 2020—1.885 million viewers
- April 24, 2020—2.005 million viewers
- April 17, 2020—2.187 million viewers
From the Forbes WWE Vault
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Key Competition
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mainstream News Coverage
WWE Total YouTube Viewership for WWE Friday Night SmackDown
8,021,391 views (Up from 4,481,372 )
- Most-Viewed: Charlotte Flair Stirs the Pot with Sasha Banks and Bayley (1,058,942 views)
- Least-Viewed: The Forgotten Sons Fighting for Respect (112,634 views)
- Median Viewership: 437,021
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Results: Friday, May 22, 2020
Opening Segment Featuring “The Dirt Sheet” and Braun Strowman
It feels like The Miz and John Morrison have been in “call out a top star and pay for it dearly” role throughout this whole pandemic.
The parody sock puppets looked even creepier than the ones in the actual Firefly Fun House
Braun Strowman def. The Miz
The Miz was barely a step above Denzel Dejournette in this one. Which, on that note, can we please get this man a verified Twitter account?
The longer Braun Strowman holds this Universal Championship, the more intrigued I am to see him pushed as a dominant monster for longer than a transitional reign.
AJ Styles def. Shinsuke Nakamura—Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Match
It wasn’t too long ago that WWE sabotaged this pairing at WrestleMania by telling anybody who would listen it was a Dream Match. It wasn’t. Two years later, WWE still hasn’t learned its lesson as it’s doing a similar overhyped gimmick with Randy Orton and Edge.
AJ Styles was traded to SmackDown, which in WWE means he’ll be competing on Friday nights until we need him back on Raw in a couple weeks.
I sure hope WWE didn’t bring in Styles hoping for a ratings boost on SmackDown.
Bayley def. Charlotte Flair
Watching Charlotte Flair compete across all three WWE brands without going to an outside promotion to compete tells me pro wrestling isn’t thinking outside the box enough.
Charlotte Flair and Bayley have tremendous chemistry. No matter how long they go without competing against one another, they always pick up right where they left off.
WWE can’t seem to decide whether or not Charlotte Flair is a heel, but #WhenFansComeBack I feel like all this exposure of Charlotte Flair will lead to her being a massive heel.
Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville def. Otis and Mandy Rose
The fact that this match is happening on free TV without a crowd feels like is such a waste.
Mandy Rose’s denim outfit alone raised her chemistry with Otis by at least 20%.
Otis can’t expect to win all of his matches just because he has Money in the Bank. In fact, he can’t expect to win any of his matches as long as he has Money in the Bank, that’s just how WWE does things with that briefcase.
Jeff Hardy def. Sheamus—Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Match
Hardy vs. Sheamus; Otis-Mandy vs. Dolph-Sonya; Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair and AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura all on an empty-arena show nobody will remember next week. This entire show feels like Michael Jordan’s run with the Wizards.