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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: Record Low for Monday Night RAW “Highlights” a Rough Week

aew and wwe ratings

The big news

Monday Night RAW did a record-low number this week after 28 years on the air. Three of the four big wrestling shows were down this week (five if you count Impact Wrestling) but that’s still an alarming number. And it could drop even further with next week’s show being the last taped show from the ThunderDome and going up against the Home Run Derby, which draws from a similar audience as RAW.

This week’s numbers

AEW Dynamite averaged 871,000 viewers, down 1.4% from the previous week. The themed shows usually do better for AEW but this week’s Road Rager show did not seem to do that, despite the return to live touring. They were down even more in 18-49, averaging a 0.32 rating. That’s an 8.6% drop from the previous week. The show looks to have done what may be a record low rating on Wednesday nights in the 18-34 category so that’s why the audience skewed much older this week.

NXT on USA, with the themed Great American Bash show, averaged 654,000 viewers on Tuesday night. That’s up 2.8% from last week. They had a huge increase in 18-49, averaging a 0.18 rating. That’s up 38.5% from the previous week. They had competition from NBA basketball but the fact that the 18-49 did relatively well was likely due to the Bash show, which also did well last year.

Monday Night RAW, also on USA, averaged a record low 1.472 million viewers on July 5th. That’s a drop of 6.2% from last week and the lowest number since the show debuted in January 1993. Even worse, there was no NBA basketball to blame for this number and the prior week at least had that excuse. It was the holiday weekend and that’s what some people are blaming this number on. The fact is that this could drop even further once the Olympics and the NFL seasons start. The show held up relatively well in 18-49, averaging the same 0.41 rating as last week. The actual viewer number in that category was very slightly up and it was “only” the 3rd lowest number in the history of the show.

WWE Smackdown had the third lowest number since moving to FOX, averaging 1.861 million viewers. That’s down 5.6% from the previous week. The show dropped even more in 18-49, averaging a 0.48 rating. That’s a drop of 11.1% from the week before. Given that this show aired on July 2nd, at the start of the July 4th holiday weekend, and the record low number came last year on the same weekend, it’s fair to blame that for the number this week.

As shown in the chart below, the increases/decreases over the ten-week average, prior to this week, are as follows:

AEW Dynamite was up 19.3% in viewers and 18.5% 18–49. Four of those 10 weeks were out of their regular time slots but it was still up from the previous 10-week average prior to the recent moves.

WWE NXT was down 5.7% in viewers but up 5.9% in 18–49.

WWE RAW was down 14.1% in viewers and 14.6% in 18–49.

WWE SmackDown was down 7.1% in viewers and 7.7% in 18–49.

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 21.8% in overall viewers and 14.3% in 18–49. Last year, of course, AEW and NXT were running head-to-head but AEW is now showing increases and NXT is not so that’s a decent gauge of where the two shows are at.

WWE NXT was down 13.8% in viewers and 10% in 18–49. Last year, NXT was running head-to-head with Night 2 of Fyter Fest and they still dropped year-over-year while running alone on Tuesday nights.

RAW was down 12.7% in viewers and 16.3% in 18–49. After a couple months of very small drops year-over-year and even gains some weeks, they are back to the same double-digit losses they were doing before.

SmackDown was up 4.7% in viewers and 20% in 18–49. That’s good news no matter how you spin it. Ratings bottomed out last year around this time just prior to the return of Roman Reigns and the move to the ThunderDome.

Ratings extra

Still catching up on monthly average ratings so here is the data for the month of June 2021 as compared to 2020. Next week, we’ll look at the average numbers for Q2 year over year for all four shows.

For the month of June 2021:

AEW Dynamite averaged 537,250 viewers, down 23.6% from June 2020. In the 18-49 demo, the show averaged a .1975 rating, down 22.6% from last year. For the entire month of June, Dynamite was airing in different time slots so it’s not really a fair comparison.

WWE NXT averaged 666,600 viewers and a .176 rating in the 18-49 demo. That was down 8.7% in viewers and 6.1% in 18-49. After just over a month of increased ratings with the move to Tuesday nights, the show is now doing worse than it was last year running head-to-head with AEW.

WWE RAW averaged 1,667,750 viewers for the month. That’s down 8% from the previous year. They were down 8.7% in the 18-49 demo, with an average rating of .4675. Those numbers are better than television overall year-over-year.

WWE Smackdown averaged 1,959,500 viewers in June, down 5.5%. They were up, however, in 18-49, averaging a 0.515 rating. That’s an increase of 3% and both numbers are much better than television as a whole which at least partially explains why WWE is still valuable programming for networks and cable channels.

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.

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