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AEW and WWE Ratings Wrap-Up: Is Roman Reigns A TV Draw?

For the seven day period ending on Wednesday October 14, all 4 nationally televised shows showed an increase in overall viewership over the previous week.

This week’s numbers in detail:

  • This week’s installment of the Wednesday Night War saw AEW Dynamite on TNT come out on top. Dynamite averaged 826,000 viewers and a 0.30 rating in the 18-49 demo. The show ranked 15th on cable in that category. That was up 9.7% in viewers from the previous week but down 3.1% in the demo.
  • Over on the USA Network, NXT averaged 651,000 viewers and a 0.17 rating in 18-49. That was an increase of 1.9% in total viewers and 6.3% in the demo over last week’s numbers. They ranked 51st on cable in the 18-49 demo.
  • The total Wednesday night wrestling viewership was 1.477 million, up 6.1% from last week. The combined 18-49 demo number was identical to the previous week at 0.48.
  • Monday Night RAW on October 12th averaged 1.854 million viewers on the USA Network, up 10% from the week before. The show averaged a 0.57 in the 18-49 demo, fifth on cable for the night. It was up 9.6% from the previous Monday. This was the conclusion of the annual draft but the increase was likely due to 2 NFL games the previous week.
  • FOX’s Friday Night Smackdown on October 9th averaged 2.178 million viewers, up 1.1% for Night 1 of the 2020 Draft. In the 18-49 demo, the show averaged the same 0.6 rating it had for the previous 2 weeks which topped everything on network television with the exception of Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Year over year numbers:

With Smackdown on FOX, AEW on TNT and NXT on USA all over a year into their current runs, we can now look at the year over year trends. This won’t be a completely fair comparison at first due to the fact that all 3 shows started off well above the levels they would eventually settle in at but this will get more relevant as the weeks go on.

  • This week, AEW Dynamite was down 31.8% in the 18-49 demo and 18.5% in total viewers.
  • NXT was down 15% in 18-49 and 8.6% in total viewers.
  • Total Wednesday night viewership was down 14.4% and the combined 18-49 number was down 26.6%
  • RAW was down 23% in 18-49 and 18.6% in total viewers while Smackdown was down 40% in the demo and 24.3% in total viewers.

Weekly ratings extra:

In this section, I will look at something different from the weekly numbers. I’ll have monthly and quarterly averages at times, compared to previous years, for instance.

For this week, I want to look at the effect of the Roman Reigns return on Smackdown ratings in specific and possibly even WWE as a whole.

Reigns returned at SummerSlam on August 23rd. There have been 8 episodes of Smackdown since that date. The shows since his return have averaged 2.173 million viewers and a 0.59 rating in the 18-49 demo. The previous 8 episodes without Reigns averaged 1.943 million viewers and a 0.50 rating. That’s an 11.8% increase in overall viewers and an 18% increase in the demo.

Now some of that increase would also be due to the fact that WWE debuted the ThunderDome on the Smackdown before SummerSlam. This made the show much more visually appealing and RAW’s numbers increased over that time as well. But by how much?

In the same time period, RAW averaged 1.663 million viewers in the 8 weeks prior to the debut of the ThunderDome and a 0.48 rating in 18-49. Since then, the show has averaged 1.795 million viewers and a 0.55 rating in the demo. That’s a 7.9% increase in viewers and 14.6% increase in the demo.


So it’s not a huge difference but I think it’s significant. There’s also the possibility that casual fans might be tuning in to RAW the night after a PPV, especially SummerSlam, expecting to see Reigns, not realizing he’s Smackdown exclusive.

It’s clear the recent uptick in WWE main roster ratings is mainly due to the ThunderDome.  Especially when considering that football season has started and that’s when the ratings usually drop. The NFL going against RAW might also have something to do with why their numbers aren’t up as much. Really, though, that’s only been the last 5 of the 8 weeks and Smackdown has also faced tough competition from the NBA on certain weeks. There have also been coverage of big news items going against Smackdown at times.

Follow me at https://twitter.com/PaulAceFontaine or find me posting in the Fight Game Podcast Facebook group.

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