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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: Cable news does a number on wrestling

The Big News

Coverage of Donald Trump’s impeachment dominated cable news and pushed down the Wednesday Night wrestling numbers. Unlike last week, NXT seemed to be far more affected than AEW Dynamite; the show had its lowest viewership for live wrestling since debuting on the USA Network.

This Week’s Numbers

AEW Dynamite averaged 762,000 viewers, up an even 100,000 (15.1%) from last week when both shows went up against extensive coverage of the storming of the Capitol building. They were 31st in the cable charts with a 0.30 rating in the 18–49 demo. Taking out news programming, they were sixth on the charts, trailing mostly NHL and NBA coverage. It was opening night for the former league so their numbers were a little higher than usual. Dynamite was up 20% in the demo from last week.

NXT averaged just 551,000 viewers. That beat out March 18 (542,000) and January 1 (548,000) of 2020 but aside from those two shows, which featured clips of previously aired matches and video packages, it was the lowest viewership for the show on the USA Network. In 18–49, the show averaged a 0.14 rating, finishing 70th in the demo. That’s one of the lowest finishes on the chart in history for that show, though a few shows have had a lower demo number. NXT was also down 14% in viewership and 12.5% in the demo from last week.

Monday Night RAW on January 12th opened up strong with over 2 million viewers in the first hour, but the show went up against the college football national championship, plus had one of the worst first to third hour drops in history and ended up averaging 1.819 million viewers over the three hours. That was down 14.5% from last week’s “Legends’ Night.” With the return of Triple H in the main event, it could have been a lot worse. In 18–49, the show averaged a 0.55 rating, down 19.1% from last week.

Friday Night SmackDown on January 9 averaged 2.12 million viewers and a 0.56 rating in 18–49. That latter number just barely beat out RAW this week and was also near the bottom of the network charts. SmackDown usually wins the night in 18–49, but the network was airing mostly new programming, so that was the difference there. They were slightly up from the New Year’s Day episode, 5.3% in viewership and 5.7% in the demo.

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Everything was down this week and, surprisingly, it was Monday Night RAW holding up the best. In addition to Triple H’s return, there was likely some curiosity over the status of WWE Champion Drew McIntyre who WWE had announced earlier in the day as testing positive for COVID-19.

AEW Dynamite was down 18.9% in viewership and 21.1% in the 18–49 demo.

NXT fell 21.3% in overall viewership and 33.3% in the key demo from the same week last year.

RAW was down 10.4% in viewership and just 9.8% in 18–49.

SmackDown dropped 15.1% in viewers and 30% in the demo, which is very bad.

Ratings Extra

Over the last few months, I’ve published cumulative ratings information by quarter, with the highest viewers per segment and viewers gained per segment as well as the fewest viewers and biggest drops in the same category.

This week, we take a wider look at 2020, all stats combined . With more data, you see more of the names you’d expect at both ends of the list, particularly in the gainers and losers charts.

If it’s your first time seeing these, the overall viewers charts are just that. The average number of viewers per segment that a performer was featured in, with a minimum of 10 appearances.

The gainers and losers charts, again with a minimum of 10 appearances, are the most viewers gained, or lost, per segment that a performer was featured in.

Top 10 average viewership:

  1. Isaiah Kassidy (AEW) 855,353
  2. Eddie Kingston (AEW) 855,000
  3. Jon Moxley (AEW) 850,500
  4. Hangman Page (AEW) 847,200
  5. Mark Quen (AEW) 842,882
  6. Ortiz (AEW) 842,024
  7. MJF (AEW) 841,956
  8. Penta (AEW) 838,556
  9. Santana (AEW) 837,098
  10. PAC (AEW) 835,571

Highest NXT performer – Pete Dunne 744,545

Bottom 10 average viewership:

  1. Chase Parker (NXT) 641,500
  2. Timothy Thatcher (NXT) 643,920
  3. Shawn Spears (AEW) 646,500
  4. Dexter Lumis (NXT) 661,353
  5. Kayden Carter (NXT) 665,000
  6. Xia Li (NXT) 666,929
  7. Leon Ruff (NXT) 669,000
  8. Drake Maverick (NXT) 669,444
  9. Kushida (NXT) 672,850
  10. Killian Dane (NXT) 674,375

Top 10 overall gainers per segment:

  1. Charlotte Flair (NXT) 47,182
  2. Velveteen Dream (NXT) 24,813
  3. Rhea Ripley (NXT) 22,500
  4. Jon Moxley (AEW) 20,176
  5. Raquel Gonzalez (NXT) 20,071
  6. Keith Lee (NXT) 14,250
  7. Dustin Rhodes (AEW) 13,947
  8. Finn Balor (NXT) 13,500
  9. Toni Storm (NXT) 12,200
  10. Io Shirai (NXT) 10,318

Top (bottom) 10 overall losers per segment:

  1. Jake Atlas (NXT) -61,563
  2. Fabian Aichner (NXT) -49,615
  3. Fandango (NXT) -48,364
  4. Isaiah Scott (NXT) -42,158
  5. Marcel Barthel (NXT) -41,364
  6. Marko Stunt (AEW) -40,091
  7. Mia Yim (NXT) -34,617
  8. Wardlow (AEW) -34,600
  9. Killian Dane (NXT) -33,826
  10. Luchasaurus (AEW) -32,333
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