NXT and AEW battle to first tie in ratings and viewership battle in week six, viewership migrates from AEW to NXT in big numbers

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

TNT Championship announced for next week's Dynamite


In last night’s battle between AEW and NXT, the gap between the two shows basically disappeared after weeks of signs NXT was gaining on AEW. Among live and same-night-DVR viewers, AEW drew 822,000 viewers and NXT drew 813,000 viewers. That gap of just 9,000 viewers is down from 179,000 last week.

  • 10/30 – AEW lead = 179,000
  • 10/23 – AEW lead = 265,000
  • 10/16 – AEW lead = 302,000
  • 10/9 – AEW lead = 350,000
  • 10/2 – AEW lead = 518,000

In terms of actual cable rating, which is measured slightly differently (rather than total number of people watching in total for a small or long stretch of time, it measures minute by minute percentages of total possible viewers with cable, so it rewards shows whose viewers watch for a longer period of time), NXT beat AEW by a 0.62 to 0.58 margin.

This story has been developing for weeks, but solidified as a major concern for AEW this week. Last week, AEW went up against game seven of the World Series, but the bounce-back from where they were two weeks ago wasn’t great – they dropped 204,000 from Oct. 23 to Oct. 30, then regained only 63,000 of those viewers this week. When Smackdown was bounced from Fox from the World Series, they lost two-thirds of their viewers, but the next week back on the usual channel actually regained more viewers than they lost.

If you have switched from AEW to NXT, tell us why. Are you sticking with AEW or sticking with NXT for any particular reason? Tell us that, too. What is your Wednesday Night Pro Wrestling Viewing story? Which show to you watch, why, and have you switched or are you tempted to switch?

Send a quick email to be published on PWTorch.com in a reader feedback article later to: pwtorch@pwtorch.com.

AEW drew 1.832 million viewers on week one – 1.409 million on the live airing and 423,000 on the replay. They’re down, 587,000 viewers (41 percent) for their live show in just six weeks, which is not likely breeding confidence within AEW or TNT that they’ve done things as well as they could have to hook viewers. It could be seen as a sign to reevaluate some of their assumptions, although the real time to “get this right” was the first three weeks when they had more than one million viewers and a chance to introduce their new wrestlers to a national audience.

Meanwhile, NXT more than regained the lost viewers from last week. Two weeks ago, the show drew 698,000 viewers, then dropped to 580,000, then rebounded to 813,00 viewers this week.  Total viewership for the live premiere of both AEW and NXT two weeks ago was 1.661 million viewers. This week, it was nearly identical 1.635 million. What that says is almost everyone who watched the World Series last week instead of pro wrestling returned to pro wrestling this week, but a lot of people switched from AEW to NXT.

NXT had the advantage of angles on both Smackdown and Raw that involved NXT wrestlers, which introduced NXT wrestler to a larger audience, and also conveyed to Smackdown and Raw viewers that some Smackdown and Raw wrestlers were likely to show up on NXT this week. Combining that with the intriguing Finn Balor jump to NXT and heel turn, NXT had a lot going for it. Whether AEW can get those viewers back will be something to watch for the next couple of weeks.

AEW had a huge advantage among 18-34 males on week one – 0.73 to 0.23. That lead is gone, as NXT tied AEW with a 0.32 rating in both demos this week. They also tied last week with 0.28 ratings. It was a four-to-one lead two weeks ago (0.52 to 0.12) and a two-to-one lead the week before that (0.43 to 0.21).

They were basically tied in other key demos, with AEW having a lead (0.35 to 0.30) among all adults 18-49 and a small lead among 18-49 males (0.46 to 0.45).

CATCH UP… Raw Rating: Another rating among lowest of all-time for show, third hour with Cole vs. Seth in NXT Title match among least watched hours in Raw modern history

5 Comments on NXT and AEW battle to first tie in ratings and viewership battle in week six, viewership migrates from AEW to NXT in big numbers

  1. Many people try to draw conclusions from ratings, but I maintain that finding actual cause and effects is far harder than many pundits like to portray.
    For me, neither AEW or NXT offers what I want. NXT used to, but as it gets more McMahon-ified it becomes less appealing to me. And AEW trying to be too much like the heyday of WCW (examples: Ross and Schiavone) also does not appeal to me.
    So many wrestling pundits have been so eager to see another boom period with the announcements of the Wednesday night cable shows, that they’ve overlooked the obvious – years of Raw and Smackdown have shown that their declines in viewership is fairly monotonic downwards, meaning TV wrestling viewers as a whole are decreasing in a fundamental way.
    I’ve yet to see anything that can reverse that. TNA failed. Lucha Underground failed.
    Perhaps we need to accept that the genre of pro-wrestling isn’t really for the 21st century?

    • One part to that though may be the decline in cable viewers in general. So many people have cut the cord, and there are other ways to follow.

      I honestly love AEW. There are certain misses for me, but I like the product as a whole.

      I don’t think wrestling is fading now any more than any other form of entertainment. I could see how it might seem that way though when you can’t find the entertainment you want. My interest was waning pre-AEW

  2. NXT made a smart play. Fans of AEW are more than likely fans of Bullet Club, and WWE brought the crew to Wednesday. Kudos to them.

    I’ve been AEW on Wednesday nights since their debut, and will remain so. I will watch NXT at some point on the weekend, though.

  3. Yeah, I don’t watch NXt anymore because this isn’t about presenting a good show on their side but sabotaging another show, it’s typical WWE lowbrow. IF AEW isn’t successful you can guarantee wwe is going to go back to normal crap as usual

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