Going against the NBA Draft on ESPN, which averaged 2.6 million viewers, AEW Dynamite had its biggest audience in well over a month. The show averaged 850,000 viewers on Wednesday night on TNT. NXT on the USA Network averaged 638,000 viewers in the same time slot.
This week’s numbers:
AEW’s audience total was the best since September 30th and was up 11.3% from last week. Bigger news was the 18-49 demo number. The show finished 7th on cable with a 0.37 rating, its second highest number of 2020.
NXT was up 0.9% in overall viewers but fell in the key demo. The show finished 56th in the cable charts with a 0.14 rating. That’s down 12.5% from last week and tied for the 2nd lowest number the show has ever done in that demo.
When Dynamite first started, it seemed that the “real world” affected their numbers more than NXT but recent weeks have reversed that trend. The ESPN audience is the biggest sports competition the wrestling shows will face until the NBA and NHL return and AEW obviously did far better. News shows are reverting to normal numbers but the fall TV season has also begun so the regular network competition will be stronger than it’s been for the last several months. AEW managing to increase its ratings with a far from marquee show bodes well for the next few months and particularly with the build to the strongest TV main event the company has ever put on when Jon Moxley defends the AEW World title against Kenny Omega on December 2nd.
The combined audience of of 1.488 million viewers was the highest in November. The combined 18-49 number of .51 also was. It’s notable that it matched the rating for RAW on Monday, which hasn’t happened since the summer.
Speaking of Monday Night RAW, that show averaged 1.779 million viewers on November 16th. That’s up 5.3% from last week. The show featured a World title change with Drew McIntyre beating Randy Orton in the main event to win his 2nd title. That caused the third hour to hold up much better than usual. In fact, the 0.9% first to third hour drop was the third best audience retention in the last 4 years.
The bad news is that the 18-49 number of 0.51 was actually down 3.8% from last week. That was 5th overall on cable for the night.
Friday Night Smackdown on November 13th averaged 2.234 million viewers for FOX. That’s down 3.5% from last week but still one of the better numbers of the pandemic era. The show finished 2nd among the networks with a 0.6 rating, down 14.3% from last week.
Year over year numbers:
AEW Dynamite was down 4.8% in overall viewers from this week last year. The 18-49 demo number was down 5.1%. This was the best showing of all the major wrestling shows for the week.
NXT was down huge as last year at this time the show had several RAW and Smackdown wrestlers appearing on the show. NXT was down 30.4% in overall viewers and 53.3% in the demo.
RAW dropped 16.4% in overall viewers from last year. In the key demo, the show was down 25%.
Smackdown fell only 3.3% in overall viewers and 14.3% in 18-49.
This is something of a sneak peak of a project I’m attempting. I caution that these numbers are very preliminary data and involve some personal judgement on my part, which I’ll get into. In the height of the Monday Night Wars, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter used to publish the ratings winners and losers on a segment by segment basis. These numbers are more useful the longer period of time you look at them.
Eventually I will go back to the beginning of both NXT and Dynamite on cable TV to look at these numbers and also break them down quarterly. Obviously the minute-to=minute numbers that are only available to the networks themselves would provide more accurate information but the more data I have to work with, the closer to accurate these numbers should be. For the purposes of this article, I’m only looking at the month of October 2020. In two weeks, I’ll add at least the third quarter of 2020 (July-September) to this analysis and hopefully more.
These numbers are looking at the overall average for each 15-minute segment as well as the increase or decrease from the previous segment. Many times there are many performers in the same 15 minute segment so for the purposes of this project, I’m looking at what took up the largest portion of that segment or what was the most important part of the segment. If a particular match stretches over 2 segments, I’ll use the average of those two segments but the increase or decrease would be based on the segment immediately preceding the first part.
In each week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer publishes a detailed ratings breakdown of both AEW Dynamite and NXT which includes the overall viewership as well as 18-49 audience totals. I’m only looking at the overall number here. He does the same for RAW and Smackdown and, at some point, I may go back and look at those as well.
For the list below, I’m only including individuals who appeared in more than one segment over the month. In the future, when looking at 3 month periods, I’ll only consider those who were in at least 3 segments.
Top 10 overall average viewers in October 2020:
- Orange Cassidy 875,000
- Cody Rhodes 866,333
- Oney Lorcan 836,000
- Johnny Gargano 813,000
- Kip Sabian/Miro 813,000
- MJF 808,250
- FTR 797,667
- Penta 790,000
- Hangman Page 783,500
- Chris Jericho 778,750
Bottom 10 overall average viewers in October 2020:
- Xi Li 598,500
- Killian Dane/Drake Maverick 611,000
- Shotzi Blackheart 624,000
- Ashante Adonis 651,000
- Dexter Lumis 657,667
- Austin Theory 667,000
- Serena Deeb 690,500
- Jake Atlas 694,000
- Ember Moon 694,500
- Santos Escobar 698,500
Top 10 ratings movers on average in October 2020:
- Chris Jericho +43,000
- MJF +41,750
- Penta +26,500
- Candace LaRae +23,000
- Damien Priest +22,000
- Raquel Gonzalez +16,333
- Rhea Ripley +16,333
- Cody +14,000
- FTR +10,000
- Johnny Gargano +9,500
Bottom 10 ratings movers on average in October 2020:
- Santos Escobar -104,500
- Jake Atlas -101,667
- Ashante Adonis -96,500
- Serena Deeb -86,000
- Hangman Page -73,000
- Oney Lorcan -65,000
- Miro/Kip Sabian -43,000
- Drake Maverick/Killian Dane -41,667
- Private Party -41,500
- Alex Reynolds/John Silver -41,500
- Butcher and Blade -41,500
You’ll notice Oney Lorcan and Miro/Kip Sabian in both the highest segment average but bottom 10 ratings movers. It’s because they had the benefit of strong lead-ins. As more data is available, anomalies like this should disappear but it’s also interesting to see where certain acts are placed on the show. If there’s a new performer you want to showcase, it might be good to place them directly after what should be a big segment in order to potentially showcase them to more people.
I look forward to presenting more of this data in the coming weeks and months and hopefully everyone enjoys looking at it.