The big news
Despite the fact that AEW Dynamite was very well received (though not in my opinion), and WWE NXT countered with a hype show for next week’s two-night TakeOver, the ratings war was much closer than usual.
Whereas most weeks Dynamite wins every category with the exception of persons over 50, this week, NXT won several demos, and were the closest they’ve been in the key demo in well over a year. It’s too bad that NXT is moving to Tuesday nights when things are about to get interesting, but I’ll still compare the ratings for both shows in this column.
This week’s numbers
AEW Dynamite averaged 700,000 viewers, down 7.5% from last week. In the 18-49 demo, the show averaged a 0.26 rating, down 13.3% from last week. Both numbers were the 2nd lowest for the show since June 24th of last year. AEW was 7th on the night on the cable charts in the key demo, a little lower than it usually is.
WWE NXT averaged 654,000 viewers, also down from last week by 3.5%. But in the 18-49 demo, the show averaged a 0.21 rating, up 50% from last week. It was the best number for the show since the Halloween Havoc episode on October 28th of last year. NXT was 12th on the cable charts, the highest it’s finished since AEW Dynamite debuted.
NXT won with persons 18–34, which it almost never does. In persons over 50, the margin of victory was only 0.32 to 0.29 for NXT, or the closest it’s ever been, aside from the week where Shaq wrestled on Dynamite and AEW won that category that night.
AEW finished 4th on cable with a 0.38 rating, where it’s usually first or 2nd, in the male 18–49 category but with women in that same age group, NXT won by a small margin.
WWE RAW on March 29 averaged 1.701 million viewers, down 6.3% from the previous week. It’s one of the lowest numbers the show has ever done outside of the football season. In 18–49, though, the number was actually up 5.7%, averaging a 0.56 rating. There was huge competition from the NCAA basketball tournament, but it beat everything else on cable in the category.
WWE SmackDown on March 26 averaged 2.191 million viewers, the only of the four shows to increase it’s viewership this week. It was up 4.7% from the previous week. It had the same 0.57 rating in 18–49 as the previous week. That beat everything else on television with the exception of ABC’s Shark Tank.
AEW Dynamite was up 2.2% in overall viewers and 4% in 18-49.
WWE NXT was up 10.9% in overall viewers and a whopping 40% in 18-49. Bear in mind that last year, NXT was airing in an empty warehouse with no crowd and no piped in crowd noise. It took a while for ratings to bottom out before they figured out how to make the show more appealing to the viewers.
RAW was down 11.6% in overall viewers but only 3.5% in 18-49. As predicted a few weeks ago, these year over year comparisons are about to look very good.
SmackDown was down 7.4% in overall viewers and 18.6% in 18-49. John Cena and Goldberg were on the show last year at this time in the lead-up to WrestleMania, so that helped numbers, and we’ve got nothing like that going on this year.
It’s the end of the month, so it’s time to look at the March monthly averages for all four shows as compared to last year at this time. Next week, I’ll also compile the quarterly averages for all the shows and present those with quarterly segment movers and shakers in both viewers and 18–49 for the Wednesday shows.
AEW Dynamite averaged 780,400 viewers for the month of March. This compares to an average of 855,750 viewers in March 2020. That’s a drop of 8.8%. The drop in 18–49 was almost identical. The show averaged a 0.30 rating this year as opposed to 0.325 in 2020, a drop of 8.3%.
NXT held up the best of all four shows in March, largely because of this week. . The show averaged 662,400 viewers this year as compared to 656,500 in March 2020. That’s an increase of 0.9%. They dropped in 18–49, however. They averaged 0.17 this March as compared to 0.2 in March 2020, which is 14% lower.
The numbers for the other WWE shows were much worse. RAW averaged 1,827,903 viewers this past month. That’s a drop of 14.5% from last year when the show averaged 2,136,933 viewers. In 18–49, the show averaged 0.68 last year and 0.56 this year, a drop of 17.8%.
Surprisingly, the worst drops of all were for SmackDown. The show averaged 2,170,400 viewers this past month, a drop of 14.7% from last year when they averaged 2,545,500. In 18–49, the show averaged a 0.75 rating last year and fell 22.9% this year, averaging 0.58. Really the RAW number on cable is much more impressive than the FOX number on Network TV.
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 recap of AEW Dynamite. Parker also does the written Dynamite coverage for both this site and F4W Online, and this podcast is a nice companion to his work.