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The big news: SmackDown drops below two million viewers on FOX

For the first time in 2022, WWE SmackDown fell below its personal Mendoza line of two million viewers for a FOX airing of the show. Of course, the NBA playoffs hurt all pro wrestling shows this week with this being the most notable example. Dynamite had its second lowest showing in 18–49 for the year. RAW had its second lowest viewership total on USA this year as well. It may get worse as the playoffs go on although as it gets deeper into the playoffs there won’t be games every night.

This week’s numbers

  • AEW Dynamite averaged 921,000 viewers, down 1% from the previous Wednesday and the lowest audience for the show since February 16 and second lowest of the year to date. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged s 0.33 rating, which was down 10.8% from last week, and was the second lowest rating in that category since December 15. Dynamite was fourth on cable in the demo for the second straight week, trailing two NBA playoff playoff games on ESPN and the post-game show for the late one. Ratings were down across all categories with the exception of people over 50. The show was up 11.8% in that demo and without that big increase, the overall viewership may have fallen below 900,000. The biggest drop was with males 12–34, a big demo for the NBA, which fell 45.5%. 
  • WWE NXT 2.0 averaged 577,000 viewers, up 1.4% from last week. It was the second lowest audience for the show since March 1. In the 18–49 demo, the show finished 32nd on the cable charts  on a night with tough competition. NXT 2.0 did a 0.14 rating in 18–49, which was up 16.7 from last week, the biggest increase for any of the big shows. The 18–49 number tied the highest mark for the show since January 4. The biggest increase was with men 18–49, which were up 35.7%. But females in that same age group were down 10% and females 12–34 were down 50%. The show may have had a higher overall increase but it’s main demo, people over 50, was down 2.9%. 
  • Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,613,225 viewers for the April 25th episode. That’s down 2.1% from last week, and was the lowest audience for a show on the USA Network since January 17. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.44 rating, down 6.4%, and was also the lowest for the show on USA since January 17. RAW was fourth on cable in the key demo, trailing two NBA playoff games on TNT and the post–game show on the same network. 
  • Friday Night SmackDown on April 8 averaged 1,952,000 viewers on FOX, down 8.9% from last week. The show led network television with a 0.47 rating, down 2.1% from the April 15 show. It was the lowest rating in the key demo since the return to live touring last July. They were second in network programming in the 18–34 demo with a 0.26 rating, trailing an NBA game on ABC although SmackDown beat that game in total viewers. 
  • AEW Rampage averaged 518,000 viewers, up 7.5% from last week’s show which aired three hours earlier. It was the second best audience for the show since March 11.  In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.19 rating, down 13.6%, and finished 14th on the cable charts in that category. Removing NBA related programming from the mix, the show was eighth on cable in the key demo. 

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 5.1% in viewers and 13.2% in 18–49. It’s the eighth time in the last nine weeks that the audience has been between 921,000 and 993,000 viewers so this was a little down but still in the same range of what would be considered normal right now.  The 18–49 number was very low but had tough competition with the NBA’s top draw, the Golden State Warriors, playing against part of the show.    
  • WWE NXT 2.0 was down 3.7% in viewers but up 7.7% in 18–49 so the show skewed a bit younger. NXT has never been as affected by sports as the other shows and this week was another example of that. 
  • WWE RAW was down 10.7% in viewers and 12% 18–49. Again this can be blamed by the NBA. 
  • WWE SmackDown was down 11.5% in viewers and 16.1% in 18–49. This is unusual for SmackDown as the 18–49 number nearly dropped to RAW levels but the competition was very tough on Friday. 
  • AEW Rampage was up 5.2% in overall viewers but even in 18–49. They were the only one of the five shows to beat their ten week average in overall viewers. 

Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 3.6% in overall viewers but even in the 18–49 demo. The 18–49 number holding up so well despite going against the NBA playoffs, which weren’t airing yet at this time last year, has to be considered a win. They were the only show to have a year over year increase in either category.  

WWE NXT 2.0 was down 22.5% in viewers and 36.4% in 18–49. These drops further emphasize just how good the comparisons are for AEW. 

WWE RAW was down 9.1% in viewers and 10.2% in 18–49. These drops are actually a little bigger than what the show has been doing lately and closer to the expected drop due to a 9% loss in cable homes over the last year.   

WWE SmackDown was down 8% in overall viewers but down 13% in 18–49. It’s the second straight week that SmackDown has had a double digit year over year drop in 18–49.  

Ratings extra

Since there’s another week before we can look at the complete April ratings averages, I’ll instead examine the quarter hour ratings for this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, as shown in the chart below and originally reported by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics.com.

The show usually peaks with the opening quarter coming off a big lead-in from the Big Bang Theory but that wasn’t the case this week as the audience grew during the Cash Wheeler/Dax Harwood match and peaked in the second quarter. CM Punk was also doing commentary during that match, which may have helped.

The show had a steady decline after that, with the lowest audience coming in the second to last quarter, which featured the Undisputed Elite in a glorified enhancement match against Dante Martin, Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson and the Varsity Blondes. That quarter did a 0.27 rating in 18–49 which would be one of the lowest quarters, and maybe the lowest, since the show moved to TBS.

The relatively good news is that the main event grew in viewers, which doesn’t always happen during Dynamite but it was still down 22.3% from its peak in total viewers and 25.6% in 18–49.

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