With the US Election results still undecided, coverage of such dominated the cable ratings. The top 55 shows on Wednesday, November 4th were all on cable news channels. For the first time, both AEW Dynamite and NXT fell outside the top 50 on the cable TV charts.
This week’s numbers:
AEW Dynamite on TNT averaged 717,000 viewers, down 8.2% from last week. In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.30 rating, down 6.3% from last week. It matches the lowest mark in that demo for the show since August 26th. That said, Dynamite held up much better than NXT against election coverage.
NXT on the USA Network was hit the hardest. The show averaged just 610,000 viewers, down 30.4% from last week’s strong number. That’s the lowest for the show since May 20th. In 18-49, NXT averaged a 0.14, down 44% from last week. That’s also the lowest for the show since May 20th. Coincidentally, it was also the go-home night for an AEW PPV, Double or Nothing in that case, and Full Gear this week.
Monday Night RAW on November 2nd averaged 1.656 million viewers on the USA Network. That’s down 4.3% from last week. The real bad news from Monday is that Hour 3 was the least watched hour for the show in over 27 years on the air. The last fateful 60 minutes averaged just 1.455 million viewers. The 2nd to 3rd hour drop was the 3rd worst of all-time. In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.48 rating, down 5.9% from last week.
Friday Night Smackdown on October 30th averaged 2.286 million viewers, almost triple last week. That’s an unfair comparison as the previous week aired on FS1. It was up 7.6% from the previous airing on FOX two weeks earlier. In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.7 rating, up 16.7 from 2 weeks prior. It matched the best number in that demo since March 20th, which was the return of John Cena to set up his WrestleMania match with Bray Wyatt and also the first show since the start of the pandemic.
Year over year numbers:
This week’s AEW Dynamite was down 12.8% in total viewers compared to the same week last year. In 18-49, the show was down 14.3%.
NXT was down 25% in total viewers and 53.3% in 18-49.
Monday Night RAW was down 22.4% in total viewers and 36.8% in 18-49 so the steep declines continue for that show.
Smackdown is holding up the best. In total viewers, the show was down just 9.3%. It was down 12.5% in the 18-49 demo. With ongoing election coverage, expect that number to be way down this week.
I thought it would be timely to look at the effects of the 2016 election coverage on the wrestling ratings. Obviously AEW and NXT weren’t around at that time but Smackdown aired on the night of the election. That show averaged 1.921 million viewers on the USA Network. That was down 12.2% from the previous week. The following week, the show was way up, averaging 2.725 million viewers for the 900th episode of the show as well as the return of the Undertaker after a long absence. But it actually stayed in the 2.4-2.7 million range for the next several months, leading into WrestleMania 33 in April 2017.
RAW, airing on election eve, averaged 2.755 million viewers, which was actually up from the previous week but that was Halloween, which always has a negative effect on wrestling numbers. The following week, the show increased to 2.87 million viewers and stayed at that level until the end of the NFL season, when the show averaged well over 3 million on the road to WrestleMania.
So, expect these numbers to bounce back next week although there’s a chance these election results will drag out for a week in which case, news coverage will continue to dominate the ratings.