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AEW vs. WWE Ratings Report: Dynamite the only major wrestling show to increase viewership week over week

AEW Dynamite

The big news: Dynamite is the only major wrestling show to increase viewership week over week

On a week with no major sports competition as an excuse, most of the big wrestling shows were down from what they’d done the previous week. The lone exception was AEW Dynamite, which had a small increase but still had the second lowest audience total since the first week of live touring. Monday Night RAW had a record low hour in terms of 18–49 ratings which coincided with a close NFL game. One segment in particular lost 13% of the audience and that was in the middle of the third hour. It could be that over-saturation of pro wrestling is starting to affect the ratings and this could be something to look at as the AEW vs. WWE ratings war continues.

This week’s numbers

  • AEW Dynamite averaged 913,000 viewers, up 4% from the previous Wednesday. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.35 rating, up 6.1% from last week. Dynamite finished third on the cable charts after finishing sixth last week and fourth the previous week. Looking at the numbers a little more closely, the biggest increases were with females 18–49 and males 12–34. The increase was 21.1% in both of those categories. They actually dropped with males 18-49 by 2.1% and that’s their strongest demo. The 50+ audience increased for the third week in a row. 
  • WWE NXT 2.0 on the USA Network,  averaged 603,000 viewers, down 4.4% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 36th on the cable charts, a little lower than most recent weeks, with a 0.15 rating in 18–49. That’s the same number as the previous week so this week’s show skewed much younger. The biggest drop for this show was in 25–54, where the audience dropped 10.5%. They were way up in the 12–34 group with men increasing 14.3% and women up 20%. 
  • Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,548,357 viewers for the November 8 episode. That’s down 8.3% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.40 rating, down 14.9% from the previous week.  . They finished sixth on cable in the demo, but first among non-NFL related programming. The third hour averaged a 0.37 rating in 18–49 which is the lowest hour of RAW in that demo in history. 
  • Friday Night SmackDown on November 5  averaged 2.093 million viewers on FOX, down 6.9% from the previous airing on that network two weeks earlier. The show finished second on the networks in the demo. They also finished first among network programming in the 18–34 demo with a 0.33 rating. 
  • AEW Rampage on the same night following SmackDown averaged 599,000 viewers, down 3.9% from last week.  In the 18–49 demo the show  averaged a 0.22 rating which was down 12% from the previous week. Rampage finished fifth on the night in the cable charts in the key demo. . 

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

  • AEW Dynamite was down 10% in viewers and 10.3% in 18–49. The numbers would look much worse if the two Saturday airings weren’t a part of those averages. 
  • WWE NXT was down 10.5% in viewers and 6.3% in 18–49. So the show is skewing a little younger which is likely a result of pushing younger talent. 
  • WWE RAW was down 10.5% in viewers and 14.9% 18–49. Interesting that the drop for all three of these shows are almost identical which lends credence to the theory that this is wrestling burnout as opposed to anything with the particular shows in question.  
  • WWE SmackDown was up  5.9% in viewers and  9.6% in 18-49 but there were two weeks where the show aired on FS 1 that affects that average. In comparing to the 8 weeks of FOX airings, the show was down 6.3% in viewers and 2.4% in 18–49. 
  • AEW Rampage was down 3.8% in overall viewers and 15.4% in 18–49. Interesting that the show is skewing so much older now after doing really well with younger audiences early in the run. 

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 19.5% in overall viewers and 16.7% in the 18–49 demo. For Wednesday night airings, this is the first week since September 1 that the increase hasn’t been at least 20% in 18–49 but the nineteenth straight week of double digit growth year over year. 

WWE NXT was down 4.6% in viewers and 6.3% in 18–49. This is being compared to when they were running on Wednesdays opposite Dynamite so it’s even worse than it seems on the surface. The same can be said of the AEW show and look at the difference.  

RAW was down 8.4% in viewers and 24.5% in 18–49. It’s the third time in the last five week that the year over year decline has been over 25% in the demo.   

SmackDown was down 9.6% in overall audience and 18.6% in 18-49. That’s the largest year over year decline for SmackDown since the March 26 show. 

Ratings extra

This week, with all of the pertinent data in, it’s time to look at the October averages for all the big shows and compare four of them with the totals for the same months in 2020 and see what the audience growth or decline has been. Despite two of the episodes airing on Saturdays, AEW Dynamite still increased both in overall audience and the key demo with none of the three WWE shows doing so.

For October 2021, as compared to October 2020:

AEW Dynamite averaged 824,000 viewers, up 5.9%. They averaged 0.3175 in 18–49 which was up 3.3%.

WWE NXT averaged 654,000 viewers, down 6.9%. In 18–49 the show averaged 0.1850, which was down 181,672,2.9%.

WWE RAW averaged 1,672,290 viewers, down 5.1%. The show averaged 0.45 in 18–49, down 15.1%.

WWE SmackDown averaged 1,709,200 viewers, which was down 11%. The caveat here is that two of those shows aired on FS 1 as opposed to only one week on that network in 2020. In 18–49, they averaged the same 0.45 as RAW, which was down 18.2%.

AEW Rampage averaged 571,600 viewers and 0.23 in 18–49. That’s down from 662,000 in September and 0.28 in the demo, declines of 13.7% and 17.9% respectively from the previous month.

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