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The big news: AEW Dynamite climbs back to over one million viewers for first time since October

AEW’s special edition of Dynamite, the themed show Holiday Bash, averaged 1.03 million viewers. It’s the first time that the show has gone over the million mark that they had routinely been beating in late summer and early fall. Helping them out was much lesser competition as the reality shows that had offered up the biggest non-sports competition had their season finales the previous week. In addition, the NBA game scheduled on ESPN was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols and the college football game that aired in it’s place did not appear to have the same crossover as basketball.

This week’s numbers

  • AEW Dynamite averaged 1,030,000 viewers, up 7.6% from the previous Wednesday and the highest viewership for the show since October 6. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.37 rating, up 19.4% from last week. Dynamite finished second on the cable charts after finishing fifth for three weeks in a row, trailing only a college football bowl game on ESPN. Looking at the numbers a little more closely, the biggest increase was with males 18–49, who were up 27.9%. Females 12–34 were down 25% but that is not a category they draw a lot of viewers in anyway so it didn’t affect the overall number. Males in that same age group were up 21.4%
  • WWE NXT 2.0 on the USA Network, averaged 591,000 viewers, up 5.4% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 46th on the cable charts. It’s the largest overall audience for the show so far in December. The show did a 0.11 rating in 18–49, down 21.4% from last week, so the show skewed much older this week.  on the History Channel did monster numbers with 2.6 million viewers and a 0.33 in the demo. The show aired entirely against the second half of NXT. The overall increase in viewers for the show was entirely because of people over 50, which were up 12.5%. Every other category was even or down. 
  • Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,552,818 viewers for the December 20 episode. That’s down 1.3% from last week and was the fourth lowest audience in the history of the show. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.38 rating, down 2.6%, and was the third lowest in history. They finished sixth on cable in the demo, but topped all non-NFL related programming. 
  • Friday Night SmackDown on December 17 averaged 2.303 million viewers on FOX, up 7.5% from the previous week. The show led all network programming with a 0.51 rating, up 2%. They finished last among overall viewers on the networks but were much closer to the shows ahead of them with three shows finishing within 100,000 viewers.. They also topped all network shows with a 0.32 rating in 18–34. 
  • AEW Rampage on the same night following SmackDown averaged 571,000 viewers, up 13.5% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.23 rating and finished seventh on the cable charts in that category, it’s first top ten finish in a couple months. It’s the third straight week the show has gained in overall viewers since bottoming out with 431,000 viewers on Thanksgiving Weekend. 

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 19.9% in viewers and 15.6% in 18–49. The numbers would look worse if the two Saturday airings weren’t a part of those averages. 
  • WWE NXT 2.0 was down 4.8% in viewers and 21.4% in 18–49. This show skewed very old this week and this is evidence of that.  
  • WWE RAW was down 4.2% in viewers and 11.6% 18–49. The 18–49 audience barely beat AEW Dynamite this week for the top wrestling show on cable. 
  • WWE SmackDown was up 22% in viewers and 6.1% 18–49 but there were two weeks where the show aired on FS 1 that affects that average. In comparing to the eight weeks of FOX airings, the show was up 8.5% in viewers but down 5.5% in 18–49. All three WWE branded shows were down far more with younger viewers this week than in overall audience and the AEW shows were the opposite of that. 
  • AEW Rampage was up 6.9% in overall viewers and 9.5% in 18–49. It’s the first time the show’s audience has ever beat it’s ten week average in either category so this is probably where the audience is levelling off. 

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 32.9% in overall viewers and 15.6% in the 18–49 demo. It’s the first time there have been double digit increases in both categories since November and that’s something that was routinely happening prior to TNT moving the show out of prime time on the west coast to accommodate NHL hockey. 

WWE NXT 2.0 was down 15.3% in viewers and 42.1% 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 18–49 drop is, quite frankly, shocking. And it’s not a one week aberration as the show has declined year over year in twelve of the last thirteen weeks and the average drop has been almost 20%.

WWE RAW was down.1% in viewers and 28.3% in 18–49. It’s the eleventh straight week of year over year declines in the demo after a good run of growth earlier in the year. The average decline over that time span has been 18% so almost the same as NXT. 

WWE SmackDown aired on FS 1 this week last year so year over year comparisons are not fair.  

Ratings extra

Compiling the quarter by quarter ratings data has been a little more difficult over the last few months for a number of reasons. That said, I’m finally able to present the data for Q3 2021, which covers the months of July, August and September. It’s notable that from late August on, quarterly data is no longer available for NXT. So the data is somewhat incomplete from that brand but complete for NXT. Comparing those two shows has not been much of a comparison anyway. The more useful information is just who is moving numbers in AEW. I’m also going to separate the data for Rampage since that show airs in a time slot that is more inclined to lose viewers as the show goes on so having ratings growth on that show would be abnormal.

For this week, it will be the list of all competitors who appeared in at least four segments in the quarter, ranked in terms of viewers per segment. Topping the list is recent signee Bryan Danielson and not too far behind is CM Punk. Adam Cole has his NXT numbers mixed in with this data but that said, he’s nowhere near the top in terms of viewers per segment in AEW anyway. This week the numbers will be in the 18-49 category and next week, I’ll show the overall viewers per segment.

Most 18-49 viewers per segment
1 Bryan Danielson 641,800
2 Brian Pillman Jr 623,200
3 Ruby Soho 620,000
4 CM Punk 611,800
5 John Silver 601,500
6 Jamie Hayter 592,750
7 Alex Reynolds 590,143
8 Shawn Spears 589,600
9 Dark Order (10/Angels/Cabana) 587,333
10 Hangman Page 586,833
11 Evil Uno/Stu Grayson 584,444
12 Kenny Omega 577,733
13 Jon Moxley 572,182
14 Chavo Guerrero Jr. 567,571
15 Scorpio Sky 560,000
16 Chris Jericho 553,429
17 Malakai Black 553,417
18 Dax Harwood 549,667
19 Cash Wheeler 547,455
20 Andrade 547,091
21 Darby Allin 546,385
22 Miro 546,000
23 Jungle Boy 544,500
24 Christian Cage 543,385
25 2point0 543,000
26 Karl Anderson 542,000
26 Nyla Rose 542,000
28 Cody Rhodes 541,889
29 Powerhouse Hobbs 541,500
30 Rey Fenix 540,667
31 Wheeler Yuta 540,000
32 Doc Gallows 539,889
33 Eddie Kingston 538,000
34 Luchasaurus 534,667
35 MJF 534,636
36 Ethan Page 534,167
37 Young Bucks 533,714
38 Thunder Rosa 532,750
39 Jade Cargill 532,000
39 PAC 532,000
41 Sting 530,333
42 Dante Martin 529,200
43 Blade 528,600
44 Britt Baker 527,000
45 Wardlow 526,167
46 Brian Cage 526,000
47 Dan Lambert 525,600
48 Penta 525,200
49 Matt Hardy 523,833
50 Daniel Garcia 523,800
51 Ricky Starks 522,714
52 Bunny 522,000
53 Sammy Guevara 518,833
54 Orange Cassidy 511,571
55 Lance Archer 508,000
56 Matt Sydal 500,250
57 Santana/Ortiz 498,857
58 QT Marshall 497,167
59 Penelope Ford 493,000
60 Adam Cole 380,818
61 Isaiah Kassidy 379,250
62 Swerve Scott 271,143
63 Drake Maverick 252,750
64 Pete Dunne 240,857
65 Kyle O’Reilly 239,222
66 Karrion Kross 235,375
67 Santos Escobar 234,500
68 Timothy Thatcher 231,000
69 Tomasso Ciampa 230,333
70 Aichner/Barthel 228,600
71 Oney Lorgan 227,500
72 MSK 227,400
73 Samoa Joe 223,917
74 Wilde/Mendoza 223,250
75 William Regal 223,143
76 B-Fab 221,333
77 Odyssey Jones 221,200
78 Indi Hartwell 220,364
79 Duke Hudson 219,800
80 LA Knight 219,500
81 Ilya Dragunov 219,333
82 Ashanta Adonis/Top Dollah 216,000
83 Johnny Gargano 215,167
84 Raquel Gonzalez 214,714
85 Roderick Strong 213,600
86 Candace LaRae 213,200
87 Ikeman Jiro 210,250
88 Dexter Lumis 208,700
89 Cameron Grimes 208,250
90 Dakota Kai 207,500
91 Carmello Hayes 206,250
92 Ted DiBiase 202,500
93 Io Shirai/Zoey Stark 202,200
94 Ridge Holland 189,167
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