Big news this week as NXT beat AEW in overall viewers for the first time since June. AEW, however, still leads in the all important 18-49 demo.
This week’s numbers:
NXT on the USA Network on Wednesday October 28th averaged 876,000 viewers which was up 18.6% from last week. In the 18-49 demo, the show finished 21st on cable with a 0.25 rating. That’s up 36% from last week.
The audience total was the highest for the show since November of 2019. The 18-49 number was the highest on a night where both shows were airing head-to-head since December 18th of last year.
On TNT, AEW Dynamite averaged 781,000 viewers. That’s up 3.7% from last week. The show finished 12th on cable with a 0.32 rating in 18-49, up 6.7% from last week.
The combined Wednesday wrestling audience was 1.657 million, up 18.6% from last week. It’s the highest combined Wednesday audience since February 19th. The combined 18-49 rating of 0.57 was the highest since March 4th.
It’s obvious that Halloween Havoc was a big hit with viewers, particularly young men. NXT scored a rare win with males 12-34. The show averaged a 0.20 rating as compared to 0.14 for Dynamite.
On Monday October 26th, Monday Night RAW averaged 1.731 million viewers. That’s down 2.5% from last week. In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.51, down 10.5% from last week. It’s notable that the combined Wednesday number was much higher than Monday. In July and August, prior to the Wednesday shows airing on different nights for several weeks, there was a stretch where Wednesday was beating Monday in that demo almost every week. This is the first time since August 12th that’s happened.
Friday Night Smackdown on October 23rd aired on FS1 for the week with FOX airing the World Series. The show averaged 881,000 viewers and a 0.25 rating in 18-49. It’s very notable that those are almost the exact same numbers that NXT did last night. But the Friday show did not have wrestling competition head to head.
Year over year numbers:
NXT this week was up huge compared to last year this week, a rare accomplishment in wrestling if not television in general. The show was up 51% in total viewers and 38.9% in 18-49.
AEW was almost even with last year. The show was up 2.9% in total viewers but down 3.0% in 18-49.
The combined audience was up 11.8% from last year and the 18-49 audience was up 23.8%. It’s safe to assume that Halloween Havoc will be an annual thing considering the success that show had this week.
Monday Night RAW was down 18.9% in total viewers year-over-year. The show was also down 29.2% in 18-49.
Friday Night Smackdown also aired on FS 1 this week last year and the numbers were very similar. The show was down 0.8% in total viewers and 7.4% in 18-49.
In this section, I’ll look at the combined average for all 4 shows for the 4 weeks ending on October 28th as compared to October 2019 to get a better picture of how all the shows are doing with more data. This helps to remove week-to-week aberrations.
AEW Dynamite on TNT averaged 778,000 viewers this month. That’s down 24.6% from 2019 when the show averaged 1.033 million. That was also the first month for the show on TV, which will likely not look the same in subsequent months. It’s the same for NXT and Smackdown but RAW has no excuse. In 18-49, Dynamite averaged 0.31 this month, down 34.9 from last year when the show did a 0.47 average.
NXT on the USA network averaged 703,000 viewers this month, down 4.3% from last year where it averaged 734,000. This number looks a lot better with the strong rating this week. In 18-49, the the show averaged a .019 rating, down 18.1% from the 0.23 the show averaged in October 2019.
Monday Night RAW on USA averaged 1.762 million viewers this past month. That’s down 24.4% from last year when the show averaged 2.331 million in October. In 18-49, the show was down 31.1%, averaging 0.51 as compared to 0.77 last year.
Smackdown on FOX (and FS 1 week both years) averaged 1.835 million viewers in October, down 27.1% from last year when it averaged 2.518 million. In 18-49, the show averaged 0.51, down 39.2% from October 2019 when the show averaged a 0.84.
For whatever reason, it’s clear that AEW and NXT on Wednesday night are holding up far better than the more established RAW and Smackdown shows. My opinion is that competition is making the Wednesday shows put on great shows every week. Friday and Monday come off very stale, although as we saw last week, Smackdown seems to be showing a bit of a ratings climb with the Roman Reigns heel turn. November’s numbers might show that a little better as this month was being compared to the first month on FOX where the show did really big ratings the first two weeks.