The big news
Despite all the hype around Tony Khan’s huge “industry changing” announcement, AEW Dynamite viewership dropped this week for the final episode of the show before Sunday’s Revolution Pay-Per-View event. The 18-49 number dropped even more as there were a lot more eyes, particularly younger ones, on the news this week pertaining to the war in Ukraine.
This week’s numbers
- AEW Dynamite averaged 966,000 viewers, down 4.4% from the previous Wednesday and it was the third lowest since the move to TBS. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.35 rating, which was down 12.5% from the February 23 show and was the second lowest rating in the demo so far in 2022. Dynamite finished eighth on the cable charts, trailing the NBA on ESPN and coverage of the war coverage on several news stations. The show was down in every category with the exception of people over 50 where it was even with the prior week. The biggest drop was with women 18-34, where the rating dropped by 15.4%.
- WWE NXT 2.0 averaged 551,000 viewers, down 10% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 70th on the cable charts, on a night where cable news again dominated the charts. NXT 2.0 did a 0.13 rating in 18–49, up 8.3% from last week. The 18-49 number tied the best mark for the show since January 25.
- Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,753,000 viewers for the February 28 episode. That’s down 4% from last week. It’s the fourth biggest audience for the show since September 20 of last year. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.47 rating, down 7.8%, and tied the second largest number of 2022. They tied Tucker Carlson Tonight for the highest rating on cable in the key demo for the night.
- Friday Night SmackDown on February 25 averaged 2,114,000 viewers on FOX, down 2.6% from last week. The show led all network programming with a 0.57 rating, up 5.6% from the February 18 show. That tied the second highest rating for the show since October. They also led network programming in the 18-34 demo with a 0.35 rating, 40% higher than the second place show.
- AEW Rampage averaged 473,000 viewers, up 0.4% from last week, when it aired 3 hours earlier. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.18 rating, down 10%, and finished 46th on the cable charts in that category. It was the lowest viewership for the show since in it’s regular time slot since New Year’s Eve and the demo number tied for the second lowest in the history of the show.
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 4.1% in viewers and 10.3% in 18–49. The 10 weeks is almost entirely on TBS now so you can see the numbers starting to dip a bit.
- WWE NXT 2.0 was down 6.9% in viewers but even in 18–49. The latter is a good sign that the show is catching on a little with younger viewers.
- WWE RAW was up 5.9% in viewers and up 9.3% 18–49. Numbers are usually up during the Road to WrestleMania and we are right in the middle of that now.
- WWE SmackDown was essentially even in viewers but up 14% 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 3.7% in viewers but up 3.6% in 18–49. So similar to RAW, it looks like a WrestleMania bump.
- AEW Rampage was down 13.7% in overall viewers and 18.2% in 18–49. Both numbers can likely be blamed on the news but it’s still a much bigger decline in both categories than any of the other 4 shows.
AEW Dynamite was up 3.4% in overall viewers and 6.1% in the 18–49 demo. It’s the first time in nine weeks that the show hasn’t 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 both categories this week.
WWE NXT 2.0 was down 20.4% in viewers and 35% 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 6.9% in viewers and 19% in 18–49. It’s the twenty-first 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 1.5% in overall viewers but up 5.6% in 18–49. That’s very good with TV on the whole declining about eight percent.
With 2021 finally out of the way, I can now present the data for the cumulative averages for January 2022 as compared with 2021 for all four major shows as well as the January 2022 numbers on their own for Rampage. For Dynamite, this was their first month on TBS which is a stronger station and they also have a much stronger lead-in with the Big Bang Theory.
For January 2022, AEW Dynamite averaged 1,027,750 viewers and 0.4175 in 18-49. That’s an increase of 36.5% in overall viewers and 39.2% in the key demo.
NXT averaged 628,000 viewers for the year and 0.1375 in 18–49. That’s a drop of 2.3% in 18–49 and 16.7% overall.
WWE RAW averaged 1,717,947 viewers and 0.44 in 18–49. The drops were 25.1% in the demo and 9.8% overall.
WWE SmackDown averaged 2,229,250 viewers and 0.585 in 18–49. That’s down 2.8% in 18–49 but up 0.6% in overall viewers from January 2021.
AEW Dynamite had huge gains but had the advantage of a new, stronger network as well as not having NXT as direct competition. SmackDown being up is a good sign for that show in terms of getting a TV rights increase on their next deal.
AEW Rampage averaged 577,250 viewers and 0.23 in 18–49 for January. The December averages were 523,000 and 0.21.