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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: AEW Rampage debuts higher than expected

aew and wwe ratings

Editor’s Note: Paul and GG did a short video podcast as supplemental content to this weekly piece.

The big news

The debut of AEW Rampage on TNT, featuring all three of the company’s singles titles defended on the show, debuted to a strong number in terms of both viewership and the 18—49 demo. The show finished third overall on cable with a 0.31 rating, trailing only two NFL preseason games. It averaged 740,000 viewers in the 10:00 P.M. Friday night time slot, more than 45% higher than what Dynamite had done in the same slot a few months back.

This week’s numbers

AEW Dynamite averaged 975,000 viewers on TNT for the August 18th episode. That’s down 0.4% from last week and the lowest audience for the show since July 7th. After The Challenge dominated the cable charts last week for its season premier, this week also had Real Housewives and stronger than usual cable news competition. As a result, Dynamite finished fourth on the night in the 18–49 demo with a 0.35 rating. That’s the same number as last week. This show had a World tag team title defense and the culmination of the months long storyline between MJF and Chris Jericho so it was expected to top last week’s show in terms of viewership and rating.

WWE NXT fell in its second week back on USA after being moved for the Olympics. The show averaged 654,000 viewers, down 12.9% from the previous week and matched the lowest audience for the show on USA since June 29th. In the 18—49 demo, the show dropped to 31st on cable for the night with a 0.15 rating. That was down 21.1% from last week and was also the lowest on USA since June 29th. This was the go-home show for TakeOver.

Monday Night RAW averaged 1.857 million viewers on USA for the August 16 episode. That was up 3.8% from the previous week and actually was a rare time when RAW was the biggest gainer among the big four (now five) wrestling shows for the week. The advertised appearance of Goldberg was the likely reason for the increase. It was also the go-home show for one of the big four pay-per-view, and RAW is still seen by many as the main show. In the 18–49 demo, all three hours finished atop the cable charts with a 0.55 rating, up 12.2% from the week before. As is usually the case, the older stars bring in the younger viewers for whatever reason and the increase with younger viewers was more than the increase of the overall audience.

WWE SmackDown on FOX averaged 2.084 million viewers on August 13th. That’s down 3.9% from the August 6th show. There’s a viable reason for this, though. The game was pre-empted in a few major markets for NFL preseason football and the latter did big audience numbers as the original overnight number for Smackdown showed it doing 2.5 million viewers. It likely cost Smackdown anywhere from 100,000-200,000 viewers overall. In the 18-49 demo, the show led all television with a 0.58 rating, down 4.9% from the previous week and barely ahead of RAW.

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 10.8% in viewers and 2.9% in the 18–49 demo. That includes three weeks where they were airing in alternate time slots due to the NBA Playoffs. When comparing to the 10 most recent Wednesday night shows, they’re actually down 2.1% in viewership and 7.9% in the demo. This is more a reflection of where the show’s baseline is now and not necessarily that this was a bad number.

WWE NXT was up 0.2% in viewers but down 11.8% in 18–49. These numbers would look even worse if you factored out the two weeks it was moved to SyFy. This is a return to numbers they were doing on Wednesdays head to head with Dynamite.

WWE RAW was up 8.6% in viewers and 14.6% in 18–49. These increases are compared to six weeks in the ThunderDome and the last three weeks with fans so the increases are pretty much due to the return to live audiences although it’s notable that this was highest audience and demo number since the first week with fans.

WWE SmackDown was up 2.4% in viewers and 7.4% in 18–49. Like RAW, the last 4 weeks have featured the return of fans and likely are why the ratings are up.

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 29.1% in overall viewers and 12.9% in 18–49. Unlike recent weeks, this is being compared to a week where Dynamite was moved from it’s normal time slot to Saturday night and also had an NBA playoff game with a massive lead-in. Nevertheless it’s the eighth straight week there has been a double digit increase year over year for the Dynamite audience and 7 of the last 8 weeks they’ve had a similar increase in the demo number.

WWE NXT was down 23.3% in viewers and 37.5% in 18–49. With AEW moving this week last year, NXT had Wednesday to itself so this is a more fair comparison of where the show is at as compared to last year and it’s obvious the number is way down, which speaks to the popularity of the brand right now.

RAW was up 13.1% in viewers and 14.6% in 18–49. This is the effect of live fans as opposed to the empty Performance Center the show was being taped in last year at this time prior to the move to the ThunderDome. With most cable television declining year-over-year, these are really strong numbers for RAW that I’m sure will be touted at the next investor’s call.

SmackDown was up 4.1% in viewers but down 3.3% in 18–49. The comparisons might be similar to RAW if not for the football preemptions but even these numbers are better than what the rest of network television is doing. Starting with next week, the year-over-year numbers will factor in the move to the ThunderDome so the increases likely won’t be as large.

Ratings extra

With the exception of one week where I posted the July average numbers for all four shows, I’ve been presenting the Q2 (April—June) segment-by-segment ratings data. Four weeks ago, I published the list of viewers-per-segment for every performer who was featured in at least four episodes of AEW Dynamite or NXT during the quarter. The following week, the list was the same people but ranked according to the number of viewers in the 18–49 category per segment. I followed that up last week with the overall viewers gained per segment.

This week, it’s the final list for Q2 and it’s viewers gained per segment in the 18–49 demo. This is the important category for advertisers and it speaks to which acts are drawing younger viewers. As a comparison point, the top 10 overall gainers presented last week were Dexter Lumis, Finn Balor, Io Shirai, FTR, Bronson Reed, Raquel Gonzalez, Nick Jackson, Ted DiBiase, Matt Jackson and Adam Cole (BAY BAY). Any differences with the list below would suggest those acts were more popular with older viewers and the list below are who the youngsters like.

It should be noted that just because a person was in a segment doesn’t mean they drew the number. But the more data we have and the more we see the same names at the top of the lists, it’s a pretty good indication that they might be a draw. More likely, if a person isn’t near the top of this list, they’re probably not a draw.

As you can see, the top ten on this list is almost completely different with only Dexter Lumis and Finn Balor on both lists. It’s also notable that so many of these acts were on Dynamite and they had been moved around in different time slots for much of this quarter or the numbers may be even more skewed in that promotion’s favor. But that name at the top of the list says something. I don’t know what it is, but it’s something.

Most 18–49 viewers gained per segment
1. Dexter Lumis 20,000
2. Pinnacle (Spears/Wardlow) 19,875
3. Orange Cassidy 18,556
4. MJF 17,909
5. Sammy Guevara 17,833
6. Dax Harwood 16,000
7. Finn Balor 15,750
8. Chris Jericho 15,000
9. Kyle O’Reilly 13,667
10. Karrion Kross 13,600
11. Shotzi Blackheart 12,833
12. Miro 12,818
13. Timothy Thatcher 12,571
14.  Ember Moon 12,250
15. Adam Cole 12,111
16. Jake Hager 11,583
17. Cash Wheeler 11,444
18. Good Brothers 11,000
19. Io Shirai 10,750
20. Kris Statlander 10,500
20. Bunny 10,500
22. Matt Sydal 10,250
22. Tomasso Ciampa 10,250
24. Kushida 10,000
25. Johnny Gargano 9,933
26. Trent 9,750
27. Indi Hartwell 9,500
28. Austin Theory 8,900
29. Ortiz/Santana 7,917
30. Bronson Reed 7,727
31. Candace LaRae 7,077
32. Raquel Gonzalez 6,538
33. Ted DiBiase 6,167
34. Santos Escobar 6,091
35. Matt Jackson 5,900
35. Pete Dunne 5,900
37. Nick Jackson 5,778
38. Cameron Grimes 5,333
39. Dakota Kai 5,000
40. Kenny Omega 4,308
41. Blade 4,250
42. MSK 4,111
43. Jesse Kamea 4,000
44. WALTER 3,250
45. Darby Allin 3,077
46. LA Knight 1,800
47. Britt Baker 1,667
48. Wilde/Mendoza 1,111
49. Penta 875
50. PAC 857
51. Grizzled Young Vets 833
52. Franky Monet 714
53. Alex Reynolds 600
54. 10 250
55. Matt Hardy -200
56. Swerve Scott -833
57. Cody Rhodes -1,143
58. Aliyah -1,250
59. Tully Blanchard -1,667
60. Jon Moxley -2,571
61. Jake Atlas -3,000
62. Dark Order(Angels/Cabana) -3,500
63. John Silver -4,000
64. B-Fab -4,333
65. Jade Cargill -4,667
66. Evil Uno -5,250
67. Rebel -5,400
68. Private Party -5,750
69. Anthony Ogogo -6,200
70. Hit Row (Ashante/Top Dolla) -6,286
71. Mark Sterling -6,500
72. Sty Grayson -6,571
73. Ethan Page -7,625
74. Scorpio Sky -8,000
74. Zayda Ramir -8,000
76. Killian Dane -9,000
77. Sting -9,667
78. Brian Pillman Jr -9,833
79. Hangman Page -10,000
80. Eddie Kingston -10,400
81. QT Marshall -10,857
82. Jungle Boy -11,200
83. Imperium (Aichner/Barthel) -11,200
84. Powerhouse Hobbs -14,100
85. Christian Cage -14,500
86. Jake Roberts -14,750
87. Frankie Kazarian -15,500
88. Mercedes Martinez -16,400
89. HOOK -17,833
90. Zoey Stark -20,500
91. Brian Cage -21,800
92. Lance Archer -24,250
93. Andrade -26,500
94. Ricky Starks -27,800

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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