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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: Wednesday night numbers best so far in 2021

The big news

The combined Wednesday Night Wrestling audience of 1.565 million viewers was the biggest number since last year, on December 16. It was pretty much even with last year at this time at a time when numbers for both RAW and SmackDown are falling hard and television as a whole continues to drop as well. The 18–49 combined number was the exact same year over year.

This week’s numbers

AEW Dynamite averaged 831,000 viewers, up 11.2% from last week. In the 18–49 demo, the show finished 5th on cable with a 0.35 rating. That was up 12.9% from last week. They also did a 0.47 rating in 18–49 men, which was the 3rd best number on cable, trailing only two NBA games on ESPN.

NXT averaged 734,000 viewers, up 2.9% from last week. They finished 24th on cable in 18–49, much higher than usual, with a 0.18 rating. That’s up 12.5% from last week. So both shows are skewing younger this week although the year over year numbers tell a different story, which we will get into.

Monday Night RAW was up 4.4% from last week, averaging 1.89 million viewers. This was the show that followed the Miz winning the World title at Elimination Chamber the night before. Usually you would see a slightly bigger increase coming off something like that so the number is a little disappointing. In 18–49, the show did the exact same 0.57 rating it did the previous week so the increase seemed to be all older viewers. The good news is that all three hours of RAW swept the top three spots in the cable ratings for the night.

Friday Night SmackDown! on February 19 was up 10.2% from the previous week, averaging 2.217 million viewers. They climbed back over 2 million after falling below that mark for the first time ever in the ThunderDome the previous week. In the 18–49 demo, SmackDown averaged a 0.59 rating, up 3.3% from last week. The difference of 0.06 between Wednesday and Friday ratings in 18–49 was the closest it’s ever been on a week where SmackDown aired on FOX.

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was down 3.9% in overall viewers but up 16.7% in 18–49. It can’t be stated enough how incredible this is on television in 2021. Obviously AEW is skewing much, much younger than a year ago at this time. And keep in mind that AEW Dynamite received a 3 year renewal around this time last year based on those numbers.

NXT was down 21.7% in 18–49 but up 2.4% in overall viewers. So it’s the exact opposite of Dynamite and realistically the movement was all between the two shows in the 18–49 demo since the combined number was the exact same as a year ago.

Monday Night RAW was down 14.5% in viewership and 19.7% in 18–49. That’s a little better than the show has been holding up so far in 2021 but still not very good.

Friday Night SmackDown! was down 10.8% in viewership and 15.7% in 18–49. Both RAW and SmackDown continue to skew older, as is NXT obviously.

Ratings extra

Since this is the last week of February, we can look at the cumulative averages for all 4 shows. For the purposes of this analysis, the Monday and Wednesday numbers are including the entire months of February but for Friday we are looking at the last week of January and the first three weeks of February since our end of the week is Wednesday for the purposes of this article. The year over year comparisons will reflect the same time period.

Dynamite averaged 790,750 viewers for the month of February. In 2020, the show averaged 875,750 viewers so they are down 9.7% year over year. However, the show averaged the exact same rating in 18–49 both years, averaging 0.3175 on the month.

NXT averaged 653,750 viewers this month, down 13.9% from the same month last year. In 18–49, the show averaged 0.1525, down 35.1% from the 0.235 they averaged in 2020.

RAW averaged 1,826,721 viewers in February, down 20.2% from the 2,288,083 viewers they averaged in 2020. They were down 25.6% in 18–49, averaging 0.5525 as compared to 0.7425 last year.

SmackDown! averaged 2,192,000 viewers over the last four weeks. Over the same time frame in 2020, the show averaged 2,477,000 viewers so it was a drop of 11.5%. In 18–49, the drop 16.2% with 0.6075 this year as compared to 0.725 in 2020.

I’d like to encourage all of you to check out a podcast that debuted last week on the Fight Game Media Network Patreon. Parker Klyn and I are co-hosting The Dynamite Show, a quick 20–30 minute recap of AEW Dynamite. Parker does the written Dynamite coverage for both this site and F4W Online, and this podcast is a nice companion to that work.

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