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Blackpool Combat Club on AEW Dynamite, 3.23.22

The big news: AEW Dynamite back over one million viewers

Last week’s episode of Dynamite featured three title matches and the show did average numbers. This week there were no title matches, no number one contender type matches, but featured almost all of AEW’s biggest stars in CM Punk, Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Bryan Danielson, MJF and Sting. The result was a big increase in both viewership and the key demo. Most of the major shows were up this week but AEW’s increases stood out because of getting over two magic numbers in one million viewers and 0.40 in 18–49.

This week’s numbers

  • AEW Dynamite averaged 1,046,000 viewers, up 5.3% from the previous Wednesday and the third highest total audience since the move to TBS. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.41 rating, which was up 7.9% from the March 16 show and tied the third highest rating in the demo so far in 2022. Dynamite was third on cable in the demo, trailing two NBA games on ESPN. Ratings were up in every single category with the biggest increase coming in the 18-34 age group. The show averaged a 0.30 in that demo, up 20%, which was the highest since the TBS debut on January 5.  
  • WWE NXT 2.0 averaged 628,000 viewers, up 0.6% from last week. It was the largest audience for the show since January 11. In the 18–49 demo, the show finished 29th on the cable charts, much higher than it usually does. NXT 2.0 did a 0.14 rating in 18–49, which was even with last week. The 18–49 number tied the best mark for the show since January 4. 
  • Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,769,000 viewers for the March 14th episode. That’s up 4% from last week. It’s the fourth highest viewership for for the show since September 20 of last year. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.50 rating, up 4.2%, and was the second highest rating in that category since October 4. They topped the cable charts, finishing 47% ahead of the next highest rated show in the key demo. 
  • Friday Night SmackDown on March 18 averaged 2,147,000 viewers on FOX, down 5.3% from last week. The show led all television, with the excepted of NCAA tournament coverage, with a 0.58 rating, up 1.8% from the March 11 show. That tied the third highest rating of the year in the key demo. They also led non-basketball related programming in the 18–34 demo with a 0.35 rating. 
  • AEW Rampage averaged 398,000 viewers, down 24.3% from last week. The show started nearly two hours later than usual due to NCAA tournament coverage on TNT. It was the lowest audience in the history of the show.  In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.13 rating, down 40.9, and finished 57th on the cable charts in that category. That was also the lowest in the history of the show but these numbers can be thrown out. 

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 4.9% in viewers and 7.9% in 18–49. It really shows the difference that star power makes as opposed to title matches, even with the more sport oriented product.     
  • WWE NXT 2.0 was up 8.8% in viewers and 16.7% in 18–49. These are solid increases and likely a result of the focused build to Stand and Deliver, which is being positioned as the biggest show since the rebranding. 
  • WWE RAW was up 4.6% in viewers and 11.1% 18–49. The show skewed much younger for the second straight week. 
  • WWE SmackDown was down 2.7% in viewers but up 1.8% in 18–49. All four major shows did statistically better with the key demo this week than the recent averages, which is a good sign. 
  • AEW Rampage was down 26.5% in overall viewers and down 38.1% in 18–49. These are obviously unfair comparisons due to the late time slot. 

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 38.2% in overall viewers and 36.7% in the 18–49 demo. These comparisons will be much more fair in a couple weeks as NXT switched nights in early April of 2021 which led to an instant increase in Dynamite viewership.  

WWE NXT 2.0 was down 7.4% in viewers and even in 18–49. It’s the second straight week that the show hasn’t had a year over year decline in the demo after an eight week stretch of drops. 

WWE RAW was down 2.6% in viewers and 5.7% in 18–49. It’s the 24rd straight week of year-over-year declines in the demo. The average decline over that time span has been 20%. That’s almost half a year but this week’s declines were much less than usual so perhaps it’s a sign that things are turning around. 

WWE SmackDown was up 2.6% in overall viewers and 1.8% in 18–49. That’s very good with TV on the whole declining about eight percent.  

Ratings extra

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics.com reported the quarter hour numbers across all demos for this week’s Dynamite and it told a different story than the impressive audience and demo numbers did on the surface.

All indications are that the show benefited greatly from a strong lead-in by the Big Bang Theory, one of the highest rated shows among non-original cable programming (which doesn’t show up on the standard ratings charts). Evidence of this would be the fact that the first quarter of the show was significantly higher than anything else on the show in both overall numbers and 18–49.

The show had a slow but steady decline after the second quarter with the final segment of the show averaging 24.7% less overall viewers and 24.2% less in 18-49.

As a comparison, Monday Night RAW this week opened with 1.834 million viewers in the first quarter and the final quarter (on a three hour show) averaged 1.691 million. The drop there was only 7.8%. In 18-49, the main event was actually 0.6% higher than the opening quarter with 638,000 as opposed to 634,000.

RAW has had a reputation over the years for bleeding viewership significantly over the course of a three hour show. Dynamite is doing that at a much more noticeable rate since the move to TBS.

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