The big news:
Monday Night RAW had its best 18-49 number since early October with its return to the USA Network after two weeks on SyFy. NXT and Dynamite were up as well so it was a good week as the build to WrestleMania and Revolution continue for each company. On the downside, both RAW and Dynamite started strong but fell in viewership as the shows went on so that’s an indication of high interest but not the greatest show quality. We’ll see if that interest continues in the coming weeks.
This week’s numbers
- AEW Dynamite averaged 1,010,000 viewers, up 16.2% from the previous Wednesday and tied the TBS debut as fourth highest (or lowest depending on how you want to look it) viewership of 2022. Essentially it was an average number. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.40 rating, which was up 29% from the February 16 show and was also the fourth lowest rating in the demo so far in 2022. Dynamite finished third the cable charts, trailing college basketball on ESPN and coverage of the War in the Ukraine on CNN. The show was up in every category with the biggest increase coming in the 12-34 age group. Males in that range were up 58.8% with females up 55.6%. The smallest increase was with people over 50, which were only up 2.6%.
- WWE NXT 2.0, in it’s return to USA Network after 2 weeks on SyFy, averaged 612,000 viewers, up 16.6% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 43rd on the cable charts, the show did a 0.12 rating in 18–49, up 9.1% from last week. The 18-49 number was the second lowest for a show on USA since December 21.
- Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,825,448 viewers for the February 21 episode. That’s up 14% from last week, when it aired on SyFy. It’s the second highest audience for the show in 2022. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.51 rating, up 15.9%, and the highest for the show since October 4 of last year. They led all cable in the key demo, well ahead of the 0.32 rating that Tucker Carlson drew on CNN.
- Friday Night SmackDown on February 18 averaged 2,173,000 viewers on FOX, down 2.6% from last week. The show finished second among network programming with a 0.54 rating, down 1.8% from the February 11 show. It’s the second lowest rating in the demo for the show so far in 2022. It should be noted that SmackDown (and Rampage) aired opposite coverage of the Winter Olympics, which did over eight million viewers between NBC and USA Network coverage as well as NBA All Star Weekend coverage.
- AEW Rampage averaged 471,000 viewers, down 14.2% from last week. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.2 rating, up 5.3%, and finished eleventh on the cable charts in that category. It was the lowest viewership for the show since New Year’s Eve but the demo number being up meant the show skewed much younger than last week, which is good.
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 0.9% in viewers and 5.3% in 18–49. It’s essentially statistically even in terms of the recent averages.
- WWE NXT 2.0 was up 4.3% in viewers but down 7.7% in 18–49. For whatever reason, the show skewed much older this week.
- WWE RAW was up 12% in viewers and up 21.4% 18–49. Both of those are very strong and may have something to do with the intrigue coming off the Elimination Chamber show last Saturday and the rumors of Cody Rhodes signing with the company.
- WWE SmackDown was up 8.1% in viewers and 8% 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 1.8% in 18–49. So much like Dynamite it was a statistically average week for Smackdown compared to recent numbers.
- AEW Rampage was down 14.6% in overall viewers and 9.1% in 18–49. It should be noted that Rampage aired 3 hours earlier than it’s usual time slot due to the TNT coverage of the NBA All Star weekend.
AEW Dynamite was up 21.5% in overall viewers and 14.3% in the 18–49 demo. It’s the eighth straight week that the show has had double digit year over year increases in total viewers. They were also the only one of the four major shows to not have a decline in either category this week.
WWE NXT 2.0 was down 16.6% in viewers and 33.3% in 18–49. That’s especially bad considering it’s being compared to when the show still was running head to head with AEW on Wednesdays.
WWE RAW was down 3.4% in viewers and 10.5% in 18–49. It’s the twentieth straight week of year-over-year declines in the demo. The average decline over that time span has been 20%. That’s over a third of the year. With TV as a whole declining about 8%, this is very bad.
WWE SmackDown was down 2% in overall viewers and 8.5% in 18–49. That’s okay with TV on the whole declining about eight percent.
Finally, wrapping up the 2021 calendar year for this portion of the column, I’ll present the average numbers for the year as a whole for all 5 shows and compare them to the 2020 numbers for the four shows that were running in that year.
For the 2021 calendar year, AEW Dynamite averaged 891,981 viewers and 0.3379 in 18-49. That’s an increase of 10% in overall viewers and 7.9% in the key demo.
NXT averaged 665,846 viewers for the year and 0.1635 in 18–49. That’s a drop of 13.3% in 18–49 and 4.7% overall.
WWE RAW averaged 1,756,175 viewers and 0.5012 in 18–49. The drops were 11.9% in the demo and 6.5% overall.
WWE SmackDown averaged 2,049,849 viewers and 0.5408 in 18–49. That’s down 10.2% in 18–49 and 6.1% in overall viewers from 2020.
AEW Dynamite was the only show to have increases in either category for the year but WWE’s drops were not as severe when they’re balanced out over the year as they seem to be week-to-week.
AEW Rampage averaged 610,143 viewers and 0.2524 in 18–49 for the year, which started in August for that show.