Last week was an interesting one for pro wrestling on cable television. There were five days that featured some sort of wrestling programming on cable, ending with the Countdown to AEW All Out on Saturday, that averaged 357,000 viewers with a 0.14 rating in the 18-49 demographic. The special aired at 5:30 ET, ahead of the pay-per-view that evening.
The week also featured NXT going head-to-head with Impact Wrestling for the first time, and an NXT replay opposing AEW Dynamite.
Below are notes from the ratings from this week. Please note that the ratings are for the week ending Saturday, September 5th. All ratings data are from Showbuzz Daily unless otherwise noted.
WWE RAW drew an average of 1.896 million viewers, down 6.5% from the prior week’s 2.028 million viewers for the post-SummerSlam episode which featured the debut of the Thunderdome. Even though the audience was down, it was still the fifth best audience since the post-WrestleMania RAW in April. The show scored a 0.58 in the 18-49 demo, which was the second best rating in the demo for the show since the post-Mania RAW, even though it was down 13% from the 0.67 it scored the prior week. RAW was down 24.4% from the same week last year.
For the third week in a row, WWE NXT aired with no head-to-head competition from AEW Dynamite. However, this was the first time that the show aired on a Tuesday night. Despite the unfamiliar night, the show averaged 849,000 viewers, up 3% from the prior week’s 824,000 viewers. It scored a 0.26 rating in the 18-49 demographic this week, up 8.3% from a 0.24. It was the second best audience for the show this year, and the best rating in the 18-49 demo.
NXT peaked in the final quarter in total viewers and in the 18-49 demo for the end of the Iron Man match, which averaged 895,000 viewers, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The low quarter in both total viewers and the 18-49 demo was the fourth, which featured the intros to the main event and averaged 804,000 viewers.
NXT wasn’t completely unopposed, as it faced some minor competition from Impact Wrestling on AXS TV. Impact only averaged 102,000 viewers, down from 40% from the 171,000 viewers the show garnered the prior week, according to PWTorch. It was noted that Impact had averaged 155,000 viewers the prior eight weeks, with the previous low being 134,000 four weeks prior.
AEW Dynamite aired for the first time in its normal timeslot on Wednesday after being pre-empted to a different night the prior two weeks. The show averaged 928,000 viewers, up 14% from the 813,000 viewers the show garnered the prior Thursday. It was the fifth best audience for the show this year. In the 18-49 demo, the show drew a 0.36 rating, up 24% from the week prior. It tied five other episodes for the second-best finish in the 18-49 demographic, behind the 0.38 rating that the January 15th episode drew.
According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, in both total audience and the 18-49 demo, the fifth quarter was the high point featuring the Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy brawl, as well as promos from Matt Hardy, Taz, Jake Roberts and Eddie Kingston. It averaged 1,008,000 viewers. Despite the last two quarters facing tougher competition from the second NBA game, the low point of the show in both total viewers and the 18-49 demo happened early on with the second quarter, which featured The Young Bucks & Jurassic Express vs. SCU & Private Party. That quarter averaged 832,000 viewers.
Dynamite faced some minor wrestling competition with the WWE NXT replay on SyFy. The NXT replay averaged 183,000 viewers and a 0.04 rating in the 18-49 demo. The NXT replay actually topped the first run Impact that aired the night before by 79%.
SmackDown this past Friday night drew an average of 2.129 million viewers on FOX, down a slight 0.7% from the week prior, which averaged 2.144 million viewers. It scored a 0.60 rating in the 18-49 demo for the fourth week in a row. SmackDown has seen a good boost since the Thunderdome was introduced. The show was normally doing under 2 million viewers and a 0.5 rating in the weeks before the Thunderdome debuted, but has stayed over 2.1 million viewers with a 0.6 rating in 18-49 since. The audience was basically even from the same week last year, when the show aired on Tuesday nights on the USA Network.
As noted, the AEW countdown show averaged 357,000 viewers with a 0.14 rating in the 18-49 demographic. It was up 3.8% from the 344,00 viewers that the Countdown to AEW Double or Nothing averaged in May, while the 18-49 demo rating was up 40% from the 0.10 that the May countdown special scored. The Double Or Nothing countdown show aired the day before the pay-per-view.