The big news
Last night’s AEW Dynamite was way down against the Presidential Address of Joe Biden and continued the trend of all major wrestling programming being down this week from the previous week after being up for some weeks previously. Whether it’s a cooling off period after WrestleMania that’s spilling over into everything else or something different entirely will be something to keep an eye on this week.
This week’s numbers
AEW Dynamite averaged 889,000 viewers, down 19.5% from last week. It’s the rare case where Dynamite had the biggest week-to-week drop among the major shows. The show finished 10th in the 18-49 demo with a 0.33 rating, down 10.8%. They had finished in the top 3 the last two weeks since NXT moved to Tuesday.
WWE NXT averaged 744,000 viewers, down 11.5% from the previous Tuesday. In the 18-49 demo, the show finished 11th with a 0.22 rating, down 4.4% from last week. This show had nothing major promoted and had its biggest star of late, Raquel Gonzalez, not being advertised for the show and only appearing in the opening segment.
Monday Night RAW on April 26th averaged 1.774 million viewers, down 7% from last week. The big news was that the opening hour started very poorly and the audience retention over the course of three hours was one of the best in recent years. It’s an indication of lack of interest going in or maybe a result of the shows that were almost universally poorly received in the first two weeks following WrestleMania. They did finish atop the 18-49 charts, as usual when they aren’t up against football, with a 0.49 rating, down 19.7%. The drop in that category was the most of any major wrestling shows.
Friday Night Smackdown on April 23rd averaged 2.121 million viewers. While that was basically statistically even with last week’s 2.119 million, the 18-49 number was down 3.6%. to a 0.54 rating. After a few weeks of RAW leading in the key demo, Smackdown reclaimed that spot, as it should given that the show airs on a major network. The show did hold up better than everything else this week in both the overall audience and the key demo.
As shown in the chart below, the increases over the ten-week average are as follows:
AEW Dynamite was up 4.7% in overall viewers and 3.1% in 18-49
WWE NXT was up 3.7% in viewers and 15.8% in 18-49.
Monday Night RAW was down 4% in viewers and 14% in 18-49
SmackDown was down 1.6% in viewers and 6.9% in 18-49.
AEW Dynamite was up 28.3% in overall viewers and 22.2% in 18-49. With the numbers being compared to when the show ran head to head with NXT, about 15-20% of that increase is probably a result of the show having Wednesday to themselves and the same can be said for NXT.
WWE NXT was up 16.8% in overall viewership and 37.5% in 18-49. So year-over-year it’s almost even for viewers when you factor out the schedule change but the 18-49 increase is impressive either way.
RAW was down 2.4% in overall viewers and 3.9% in 18-49. That’s better than what most of TV is doing but they were the only wrestling show to drop year-over-year this week.
SmackDown was up 5.8% in overall viewers and 8% in 18-49. Most network TV shows are down about 10% in both categories.
I’ll take a break from the segment-by-segment numbers for Q1 of 2021 since this is the end of the month and we can look at the April 2021 average numbers for all the shows and compare them to one year ago at this time as I like to do at the end of every month and every quarter.
For the purposes of this analysis, we are looking at the four week period ending April 28, 2021. So it would not include the Smackdown that hasn’t aired yet but that number will actually be included with next month’s numbers.
For the period looked at, AEW Dynamite averaged 975,000 viewers, up 39.9% from last year. They were up 38.7% in 18-49 with a 0.355 average rating. Three of the four weeks this month, they had the night to themselves but that’s still very impressive.
NXT averaged 789,500 viewers this past month, up 20.5% from last year. They were up 30.9% in 18-49 with an average rating of 0.2225. Again, both of these shows are being compared to a time period when they ran head-to-head. NXT’s increases aren’t quite as impressive when considering that.
WWE RAW averaged 1,852,250 viewers in April 2021, down 3.5% from last year. In 18-49, the show was down 4.3% with an average rating of 0.557. Compared to the overall drop of television, this is not bad at all.
WWE Smackdown averaged 2,156,750 viewers, down 4.4%. It’s the largest viewership drop of the 4 major shows in the year-over-year numbers. They also fell the most, at a rate of 5%, in 18-49, dropping to a 0.57 rating this year.
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.