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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: Combined Wednesday audiences over 1.6 Million for first time in 2021

The big news

The debut of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal propelled AEW Dynamite to it’s first ever win in persons 50+. The win in that category also led the show to a huge win in overall viewership, going over 900,000 for the first time this year. There was good news for NXT as well, which we will get into.

This week’s numbers

AEW Dynamite averaged 934,000 viewers, up 12.4% from last week. In 18–49, the show finished sixth on cable with a 0.33 rating, down 5.7% from last week. There wasn’t a single demo category that they lost and in men 18–49, the show averaged a 0.49 rating which was 2nd on cable behind the late NBA game on ESPN.

NXT was down 5.7% in viewership, averaging 692,000 viewers. The positive is that in 18–49, the show was actually up 11.1% to a 0.20 rating. They finished 19th on cable in the demo, which is one of the better placings the show has had since the debut of Dynamite.

Monday Night RAW on March 1st averaged 1.884 million viewers, down 0.3% from last week, despite the virtual guarantee of a World title change that was baited and switched throughout the show. The big story was the viewership retention throughout the show was the best since July of last year. They won the night in 18–49 with a 0.57 rating, identical to last week.

Friday Night SmackDown! on February 26th averaged 2.145 million viewers, down 3.2% from the previous week. The show was down 8.5% in 18–49 with a 0.54 rating. That was 3rd on television behind two shows on ABC.

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 3.1% in overall viewers but down 5.7% in 18–49. That’s still far better than other wrestling shows hold up for the most part as well as television in general.

NXT was down 3.6% in viewers and 13% in 18–49. The overall viewership for Wednesday was basically even, up 0.1%.

RAW was down 16.5% in overall viewership. It was down even more, 21.6%, in 18–49.

In a rare happening, SmackDown! fell the worst of all the shows, dropping 20.2% in overall viewership and 32.5% in 18–49.

Ratings extra

There is nothing I really have prepared for this week in terms of something special for this portion of the column. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve been tracking the 18–49 segment numbers since late last year in addition to the overall viewership. At the end of March, I’ll present the data in both categories.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that one of the storylines that has been almost universally panned has actually done very well in the ratings, which may be why we’re seeing so much of it and why it hasn’t ended yet. This would be the ongoing Miro/Kip/Penelope vs. Best Friends.

In the last several weeks alone, the wedding itself gained 36,000 viewers in 18–49, the best for either show on the night. A recap video the following week with a followup interview gained 32,000 viewers in that category, also the biggest gainer on the night. And last week, the segment they were in gained 71,000 viewers in 18–49. Now, there were other things going on in those segments (with the exception of the wedding itself) but the common denominator in all of them were those performers. It can’t be a coincidence that all segments involving them were the biggest ratings gainers in those weeks. I’ll have full data in the first week of April.

I’d like to encourage all of you to check out a podcast that airs 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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