The Wednesday Night Wars have fans buzzing every week for Dynamite and NXT, but the ratings have become just as big of a topic for fans. Wrestler and executive vice president of All Elite Wrestling spoke with Talk Sport about how much the people inside AEW pay attention to the ratings and his thoughts on the ratings war.
“Obviously the rating, they almost matter more to the respective brands individually,” said Rhodes. “Warner Media and TNT, they’re looking at the ratings and the demographic, that P1 demo and how you’re doing there, and then I’m assuming USA are doing the same for NXT. It’s more of the fans that put them in contrast to each other. ‘Well they did this and they did this’.”
Rhodes also talked about the amount of crossover between the two shows and the trends that you can see in each show’s fanbase.
“If you look at the data, there’s not nearly as much crossover as you would think. Not so much like the ’90s where you were turning the channel, they both have dedicated fanbases.
“You’ve got to look at minute-by-minutes, which are a scary thing to look at. It’s like baseball, but it’s the way to go,” said Rhodes. “If you look at those minute-by-minutes, you can see trends. And even after eight weeks or so, you can see some trends like ‘Ok, this person, they really seem to like’ or ‘they really seem to like the action here’ or ‘they like it when this person has the mic.’ So you want to play to your strengths, and you also want to adjust your long-form plan but not adjust it drastically where you become something other than yourself.”
Rhodes spoke on the importance of both audiences and the massive amount of people watching each week being vital for wrestling’s popularity.
“The biggest takeaway from all of it is for those folks outside, that’s kind of critical. I don’t know if hater is the right word, but those folks who will say like ‘Oh, wrestling is not that popular.’ I’m telling you when you look at two shows that are existing on Wednesday nights, that audience combined is massive for current core-cutting generation television,” said Rhodes. “Pro wrestling is definitely the most popular that it has been in years, and I’m incredibly happy about that. But we just got to look at our minute-by-minutes and by honest with each other as performers on our execution.”
Rhodes was asked about whether or not he and everyone else at AEW are paying attention to what is going on at NXT.
“We’re aware [of what NXT do] more because we have friends in both locker rooms,” said Rhodes. “We diligently make sure that we don’t have it on the monitor in go-position because, again, we’ve got to be more aware of the audience that’s watching on TNT. There’s a difference between playing to the audience strategically that’s flipping channels from, perhaps, TNT to USA.”
He reiterated the point of the friendships that some members of the AEW roster and NXT roster share and showed respect for NXT.
“We’re aware of it. We’ve got so many friends in the locker room, and I have a deep-rooted connection to NXT because my dad helped change it from the developmental to more of a fully-fledged out brand with his contributions there,” said Rhodes. “So I have nothing but respect for what they’re doing, I just think we’re doing a drastically different show.”
Rhodes concluded saying he is more focused on what is going on at AEW first and foremost and looks at NXT “after the fact”.
“It’s more something you look at it [NXT] after the fact, and it’s like ‘what did they do this week’ and whatnot. I’d think they’d be the same, but you’d be surprised how we’re very much just focused on our show,” said Rhodes. “If we got all like ‘let’s find out what they’re doing,’ that would be really easy to do, but it wouldn’t be very true to what we’ve been trying to do all along. We have Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, PAC, myself, Darby Allin, Kris Statlander and just the talent that I’m naming now, my responsibility is to them and to make sure they beam across the television sets appropriately.