A new report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter sheds some light on backstage reactions to the WWE SmackDown vs. AEW Rampage ratings from last week.
As noted, last Friday’s WWE Supersized SmackDown on FS1 drew 866,000 viewers with a 0.24 rating in the 18-49 demographic. The show drew 314,000 18-49 viewers. Friday’s AEW Rampage on TNT drew 578,000 viewers with a 0.24 rating in the 18-49 demo. Rampage drew 313,000 18-49 viewers. Rampage did defeat SmackDown in one demographic on Friday night, and also topped SmackDown head-to-head in the 30-minute overlap in the 18-49 key demographic. You can click here for our original ratings report on both shows, and click here for the demo breakdowns for Rampage and SmackDown.
In an update, the Observer reports that WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon was at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA this past Monday when the official numbers came out. It was noted that Vince didn’t get mad in front of anyone, and that was key because there have reportedly been times in these situations where Vince can come across very immature when ratings have come out in recent weeks, not favorable to WWE, and it was said that Vince was anything but that in response to the SmackDown vs. Rampage numbers.
The original fast national numbers came out on Saturday, with WWE drawing more viewers, so McMahon likely knew the key demo numbers were close two days before RAW, when no one else really knew, but people were speculating. While Vince didn’t know the final numbers until Monday, for the most part he knew the story for two days.
Despite other reports, the Rampage vs. SmackDown numbers were not a major topic with talent backstage at RAW because they had a TV taping to do, and had to then fly out to Saudi Arabia. This goes with the previous report on how WWE Producer Shane Helms said the ratings were not discussed backstage. The Observer did note that as far as the key personnel go, they were said to be in total denial when it came to the numbers. The reaction among some key personnel was reportedly similar to what WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns recently said, along the lines of how WWE appeals to more people and that AEW’s fanbase is small and can’t grow, and that the WWE product appeals to more people, while the AEW product is bad but is propped up by their fanbase.
WWE SmackDown will return to FS1 next Friday night, October 29, and a one-hour post-show edition of Talking Smack is scheduled to go head-to-head with AEW Rampage on TNT.
Stay tuned for more.