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AEW vs. WWE Ratings Report: Dynamite breaks 1.1 million viewers; RAW hits record low after move to SyFy

Keith Lee debuted on AEW Dynamite this week, which broke over 1.1 million viewers this week.

The big news: AEW Dynamite breaks 1.1 million viewers while WWE Monday Night RAW does record low viewership after move to SyFy

WWE Monday Night RAW was moved to the SyFy Network due to USA coverage of the Winter Olympics and the result was the lowest number of people to ever watch the show in its regular time slot. They barely managed to escape a record low in 18–49 in the smallest of victories.

Meanwhile, AEW Dynamite did its highest viewership to date on TBS. Some thought this was unexpected due to the Olympics as opposition, but as the data I presented in an article last summer suggested, the Olympics typically have little to no effect on wrestling ratings.

This week’s numbers

  • AEW Dynamite averaged 1,129,000 viewers, up 18.3% from the previous Wednesday and the highest viewership for the show since September 29. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.41 rating, which was up 17.1% from the February 2 and tied for the third highest number of the year. Dynamite finished atop the cable charts, beating two different NBA games on ESPN as well as Olympic coverage on the USA Network. . The show was way down with females 12-34, likely due to the Olympics, but had big gains with males in that age group as well as 18-49. They were also up 18% with people over 50 and did their biggest number in that age group since September 22 of last year. 
  • WWE NXT 2.0, moved to the SyFy Network like RAW, averaged 400,000 viewers, down 35.4% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 77th on the cable charts. It’s the lowest audience in the history of the show. The show did a 0.07 rating in 18–49, down 46.2% from last week and also a record low.  A fairer comparison might be with last August when NXT was also moved to SyFy. The show averaged 526,000 viewers both of those weeks and did 0.12 and 0.10 ratings in 18–49 so this was considerably down from that as well. 
  • Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,387,333 viewers for the February 7 episode, the lowest audience in the history of the show with the exception of one week in 2008 where the show aired late at night. That’s down 25.6% from last week but with the station move, that was expected.  In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.36 rating, down 21.7%, and the second lowest in the history of the show. They did beat everything on cable in the demo with the exception of Olympic coverage on their normal home of the USA Network.  
  • Friday Night SmackDown on February 4 averaged 2,151,000 viewers on FOX, down 3% from last week. . The show finished second among network programming with a 0.51 rating, down 8.9% from the January 28 show. It’s the lowest rating in the demo for a live show on FOX since December 10. It should be noted that Smackdown (and Rampage) aired opposite coverage of the Olympic opening ceremonies, which did over 12 million viewers between NBC and USA Network coverage.   
  • AEW Rampage averaged 540,000 viewers, down 10.1% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.20 rating, down 20%, and finished seventh on the cable charts in that category. The show aired head to head with an NBA game on ESPN that led the cable charts with a 0.40 rating. It was the lowest viewership for the show since New Year’s Eve and matches the lowest rating in the demo since that date. 

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 15.8% in viewers and 10.8% in 18–49. After beating their 10 week average for six straight weeks, they took a step back last week but are back over it again. Last week the season premier of South Park took a bit out of Dynamite viewership.  The TBS audience does seem to skew a little older which is something to keep an eye on. 
  • WWE NXT 2.0 was down 35.2% in viewers but and 42.9% in 18–49. This is far worse than the RAW decline which probably tells you how little of a priority this show is for most people. 
  • WWE RAW was down 16.4% in viewers and 14.3% 18–49. The show started off with a terrible first quarter as people likely forgot the show had moved and never really recovered. Next week should be a little up from this.  
  • WWE SmackDown was up 8.1% in viewers and 2% in 18–49. However, one of those weeks was on FS 1 and a best of show, so factoring that out of the equation and comparing to the other nine weeks, the show was down 0.8% in viewers and  7.3% in 18–49=. As stated earlier, and as well with Rampage, this would be due to the Olympics opening ceremonies.  
  • AEW Rampage was up 0.8% in overall viewers but down 9.1% in 18–49. The overall viewership held up better than expected but the number was down from most weeks so far in 2022. 


Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 52.4% in overall viewers and 41.4% in the 18–49 demo. It’s the sixth straight week that the show has had double digit year over year increases in total viewers and they just missed that in 18–49.  They were also the only one of the four major shows to have an increase in either category this week. 

WWE NXT 2.0 was down 28.3% in viewers and 33.3% in 18–49.  That’s especially bad if it’s being compared to when the show still was running head to head with AEW on Wednesdays, but they do have the SyFy excuse this week. It’s notable that the 18–49 decrease, as well as the 18-49 increase for Dynamite, are the exact same as two weeks ago when there was no Olympics. 

WWE RAW was down 19.1% in viewers and 16.5% in 18–49. It’s the eighteenth straight week of year over year declines in the demo. The average decline over that time span has been 20%. That’s almost a third of the year. With TV as a whole declining about 8%, this is very bad. 

WWE SmackDown was down 4.7% in overall viewers and 21.5% in 18–49. The latter number is bad but they have the Olympic excuse. 

Ratings extra

Two weeks ago, I presented the average ratings for all five shows in November 2021 and compared the four established shows to their 2020 numbers. This week, I’ll do the same for December and then next week it will be the Q4 averages.

For the first time since June, Dynamite had a year over year decline in 18–49 ,but did manage an overall viewership increase. SmackDown was the only show to have a year over year increase in 18–49 but there are extenuating circumstances.

For December 2021, AEW Dynamite averaged 937,200 viewers and 0.338 in 18-49. That’s an increase of 4.9%  in overall viewers but a drop of 11.5% in the key demo.

NXT 2.0 averaged 601,000 viewers for the month and 0.13 in 18–49. That’s a drop of 21.7% in 18–49 and 10.8% overall.

WWE RAW averaged 1,579,267 viewers and 0.3825 in 18–49. The drops were 22.3% in the demo and 6% overall.

WWE SmackDown averaged 2,111,750 viewers and 0.5025 in 18–49. That’s up 2.1% in 18–49 but down 2.6% in overall viewers from December 2020. Note that for 2021, this does not include the New Year’s Eve episode, which was a taped best-of show that aired on FS 1. Also for 2020, it includes a week where the show was moved to FS 1 but also includes the Christmas Day episode that had an NFL lead-in. Those two factors pretty much off-set each other but it’s worth noting.

AEW Rampage averaged 523,000 viewers and 0.21 in 18–49. The November averages were almost identical at  525,250 and 0.21.

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