Highest Smackdown viewership since Christmas 2020 w/ NFL game lead-in. Excepting that, highest since Feb 2020.
Highlights of Cena's match has over 5 million views on YouTube.
— Wrestlenomics (@wrestlenomics) January 3, 2023
According to Wrestlenomics, the final WWE SmackDown episode of last year pulled in an average of 2.629 million viewers (up by 10.6% from last week). More importantly, it was the highest-rated episode of SmackDown in over two years. The last time the WWE had such a large audience was the Christmas Day episode back in 2020, but that had an NFL game in the lead-up to the show. If you take the NFL game out of the equation, the December 30, 2022 episode of SmackDown is the largest audience total for the brand since October 11, 2019. Finally, SmackDown was the seventh-highest-rated show on TV on ESPN in the 18-49 demo when John Cena came back.
Unfortunately, these numbers feel bittersweet knowing this also means that Cena's time in the WWE will be farther and fewer in between going forward.
John Cena's streak of competing in the WWE at least once for the past 20 years is still alive and it will likely continue until he's ready to retire, whenever that happens.
Hopefully, Triple H will book Cena better in the future, especially next year. Cena is expected to have larger roles in Hollywood in the next few years now that he's part of several movie franchises like Fast & Furious and the DC Universe.