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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: RAW and Dynamite Ratings Fall With Olympics Over

aew and wwe ratings

The big news

MTV’s The Challenge debuted and took a bite out of Dynamite ratings, which had been over a million viewers for a month straight. RAW was down as well. As shown last week, wrestling ratings have actually gone slightly up against the Olympics and this year, in particular, there was less interest in the Games than ever before. NXT was up but it’s always been against the grain as it seems to be a different kind of audience than other wrestling shows.

This week’s numbers

AEW Dynamite averaged 979,000 viewers on TNT for the August 11th episode. That’s down 11.2% from last week and the lowest audience for the show since July 7th. The Challenge topped all of cable television in the 18-49 demo and Dynamite’s decline in that category was larger than it’s overall decline so it’s obvious why the audience was down. The show averaged a 0.35 in the demo, down 25.5%. So it lost more than one-fourth of its viewers in the key demo while they actually gained viewers both weeks that the Olympics were on. Last week, Dynamite finished 4th overall on cable for the week, marking the first time two wrestling shows (RAW being the other) finished in the top 4 in cable since the Monday Night Wars.

WWE NXT was back on USA Network after two week and the number rebounded very well. The show averaged 751,000 viewers, which was up 44.4% from last week and 5.9% from 3 weeks ago, when it last aired on USA. In the 18-49 demo, the show was up 90% from last week with a 0.19 rating. It was down 5%, however, from the most recent USA airing which means the audience skewed much older than usual.

Monday Night RAW averaged 1.79 million viewers for the August 9th episode on USA. That’s down 1.7% from the previous week. That’s about what you’d expect given that the RAW numbers are usually up during the Olympics. In the 18-49 demo the show averaged a 0.49 rating, down 3.9% from August 2nd. Again, about what was to be expected. It was the lowest number since the ThunderDome, however.

WWE SmackDown on FOX averaged 2.169 million for the August 6th episode, up 6.2% from the previous week. This was against the Olympics so you’d expect the number would be down for the upcoming week. In the 18-49 demo, the show averaged a 0.61 rating, up 7% from the previous week. Both numbers were the best since July 16th, the first night with live fans.

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 18.2% in viewers and 9.4% in the 18–49 demo. That includes four 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 0.8% in viewership and 7.9% in the demo. This was not a marquee show by any means with no title matches announced for the show.

WWE NXT was up 16.6% in viewers and 11.8% in 18–49. Two of those weeks were on SyFy but they still had their best numbers since May so this was well above the recent averages.

WWE RAW was up 6.1% in viewers and 4.3% in 18–49. These increases are compared to seven weeks in the ThunderDome and the last three weeks with fans so the increases are pretty much due to the return to live audiences.

WWE SmackDown was up 7.9% in viewers and 15.1% in 18–49. Like RAW, the last three weeks have featured the return of fans and likely are why the ratings are up.

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 23.6% in overall viewers and 9.4% in 18–49. Last year, of course, AEW and NXT were running head-to-head but this is now the 6th straight week they’ve had at least a 20% increase in year over year viewership. That’s incredible no matter what qualifiers you want to put on it.

WWE NXT was up 21.3% in viewers and 18.8% in 18–49. Without the AEW competition in 2021, the numbers had been up around 10% year over year recently so this is a better improvement and speaks to the general momentum wrestling has right now.

RAW was up 4% in viewers and 4.3% in 18–49. This is the effect of live fans as opposed to the empty Performance Center the show was being taped at last year at this time prior to the move to the ThunderDome. Like AEW, these numbers are even more impressive with most cable television declining year over year.

SmackDown was up 10.6% in viewers and 22% in 18–49. The network declines aren’t quite as steep as cable but they are still there. This makes Smackdown valuable programming for FOX and is a sign that wrestling as a whole is getting hot again. As you can see, all the big wrestling shows are up year-over-year which is a great sign for the industry. And most experts expect things to get even hotter in the coming months.

Ratings extra

This week, we are back to posting results of the segment-by-segment data from Q2 (April-June) 2021. Three weeks ago, I published the list of viewers-per-segment for every performer that 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.

This week, we are back to overall viewers, but it’s viewers GAINED per segment so the list will look much different. For the previous lists, someone could’ve ranked high by being featured in key parts of the show or even in a segment after the one which really drew the audience. This list shows the people who are moving the numbers.

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. The name at the top of the list might surprise you but numbers don’t lie:

Average viewers gained per segment (min 4 appearances)
1. Dexter Lumis 65,250
2. Finn Balor 45,250
3. Io Shirai 42,000
4. FTR 38,600
5. Bronson Reed 34,545
6. Raquel Gonzalez 33,643
7. Nick Jackson 33,400
8. Ted DiBiase 29,000
9. Matt Jackson 28,545
10. Adam Cole 25,556
11. Shawn Spears 24,875
11. Wardlow 24,875
13. Indi Hartwell 23,143
14. Good Brothers 22,400
15. Ember Moon 22,250
16. Orange Cassidy 22,111
17. Austin Theory 21,700
18. MJF 21,333
19. Karrion Kross 20,800
20. Dakota Kai 19,556
21. Chris Jericho 19,500
22. Shotzi Blackheart 19,333
23. LA Knight 19,000
24. Cameron Grimes 18,000
25. Britt Baker 17,333
26. Leon Ruff 16,750
27. Johnny Gargano 15,267
28. Miro 11,000
29. Tomasso Ciampa 9,889
30. Bunny 9,800
31. Blade 9,750
32. Rebel 9,000
33. WALTER 7,500
34. Pete Dunne 7,100
35. Timothy Thatcher 4,750
36. Santos Escobar 4,400
37. Sammy Guevara 4,077
38. Kenny Omega 2,846
39. Jake Hager 1,667
40. Jake Atlas 1,000
41. Santana/Ortiz -250
42. PAC -1,143
43. Darby Allin -1,846
44. Penta -3,875
45. Swerve Scott -4,333
46. Matt Hardy -5,600
47. Christopher Daniels -6,000
48. MSK -6,375
49. Jade Cargill -6,571
50. Jesse Kamea -6,750
51. Brian Pillman Jr -6,833
52. Wilde/Mendoza -7,444
53. 10 -7,571
54. Kris Statlander -8,000
55. Ethan Page -8,375
56. Alan Angels -8,400
57. Dark Order (Reynolds/Cabana/Silver) -10,833
58. Evil Uno -11,375
59. Scorpio Sky -11,571
60. Stu Grayson -12,143
61. Tully Blanchard -12,833
62. Jungle Boy -14,400
63. Private Party -14,500
64. Anthony Ogogo -14,800
65. Franky Monet -16,000
66. Cody Rhodes -16,857
67. Sting -17,143
68. Mark Sterling -17,250
69. Aliyah -17,500
70. Killian Dane -21,000
71. Jon Moxley -22,000
72. Trent -22,250
73. Hangman Page -22,333
74. Zayda Ramir -24,000
75. Imperium (Aichner/Barthel) -26,600
76. Frankie Kazarian -26,833
77. Eddie Kingston -26,900
78. Grizzled Young Vets -27,143
79. QT Marshall -27,714
80. Bobby Fish -29,250
81. Andrade El Idolo -30,750
82. Mercedes Martinez -34,000
83. Lance Archer -36,750
84. B-Fab -37,500
85. Christian Cage -37,583
86. Hit Row (Ashante/Top Dolla) -38,714
87. Powerhouse Hobbs -42,400
88. HOOK -44,500
89. Brian Cage -44,800
90. Zoey Stark -47,833
91. Ricky Starks -57,200

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