Tony Khan comments on the ratings success of C.M. Punk’s return to wrestling

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

Tony Khan, AEW President

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

The return of C.M. Punk to professional wrestling on AEW Rampage this week was a history making moment if you ask AEW President, Tony Khan.

“The debut of CM Punk to open ‘AEW:Rampage’ on Friday made professional wrestling history; it was an emotional moment that created a memory of a lifetime,” said Tony Khan, CEO, GM and Head of Creative of AEW. “I’m grateful for the support of wrestling fans worldwide! I’m also grateful to TNT, who gave us amazing support promoting ‘AEW Rampage: The First Dance,’ and wrestling fans responded with unprecedented massive viewership on Friday night, as well as new all-time highs for live fan attendance and merchandise sales. We look forward to CM Punk’s first ever live interview on ‘AEW: Dynamite’ this Wednesday, and we’re only getting started.”

Massive viewership is right. This week, more A18-49 watched Rampage than any other episode of AEW television on TNT since Dynamite premiered in the fall of 2019.

The following is the full press release with more comments from leadership and more ratings statistics.


“AEW: Rampage” grows its second week show with the largest P18-49 audience since “AEW: Dynamite” premiered on TNT on October 2, 2019. CM Punk made his return to wrestling on Friday, August 20, during the live “AEW: Rampage” show in front of sold-out audience at United Center in Chicago. See highlights below:

AEW: Rampage – Fri 10p-11p

692K P18-49 / 231K P18-34 / 1129K P2+

  • Largest P18-49 delivery for an AEW program since the premiere of AEW: Dynamite on 10/2/19
  • Largest P18-34 number since “AEW: Dynamite’s” episode on 11/13/19
  • #2 telecast of the day on cable in P18-49, behind NFL
  • +75% among P18-49 and +53% among P2+ vs prior week

“You could feel the joy and unabashed enthusiasm for CM Punk on Friday’s ‘Rampage’ episode – that type of fan connection is what it’s all about,” said Brett Weitz, General Manager TBS, TNT and truTV.  “Tony Khan continues to elevate the AEW Franchise with smart choices that come from a deep passion and appreciation for wrestling. It’s impossible to not get pulled into the pure fandom of the moment and to be a fan of the world that he has created. This is the exact type of entertainment that we love being the home for.”

“CM Punk is the perfect star to take AEW to the next level. He’s an icon who has already added to his amazing legacy with an incredible arrival and passionate, heartfelt promo on Rampage,” said Sam Linsky, Associate General Manager, SVP Programming and Operations, TBS, TNT and truTV. “As a fan and an executive at TNT, I can’t wait to see what he has to say on ‘Dynamite’ this Wednesday.”

“The debut of CM Punk to open ‘AEW:Rampage’ on Friday made professional wrestling history; it was an emotional moment that created a memory of a lifetime,” said Tony Khan, CEO, GM and Head of Creative of AEW.  “I’m grateful for the support of wrestling fans worldwide!  I’m also grateful to TNT, who gave us amazing support promoting ‘AEW Rampage: The First Dance,’ and wrestling fans responded with unprecedented massive viewership on Friday night, as well as new all-time highs for live fan attendance and merchandise sales. We look forward to CM Punk’s first ever live interview on ‘AEW: Dynamite’ this Wednesday, and we’re only getting started.”

On top of the epic AEW debut of CM Punk, the second episode of “AEW: Rampage” featured former AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defeating Daniel Garcia in the main event, the red-hot Jade Cargill definitively defeating newcomer Kiera Hogan, and Jurassic Express overcoming Private Party in the semifinals of the Tag Team Eliminator Tournament to determine The Young Bucks’ AEW Tag Team Championship opponents at ALL OUT in Chicago on Sunday, Sep. 6.

Founded by CEO, GM and Head of Creative Tony Khan, AEW is a new professional wrestling league headlined by CM Punk, Cody & Brandi Rhodes, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Chris Jericho, Sting, Hangman Page, Jon Moxley, MJF, Miro, Darby Allin, Hikaru Shida, Dr. Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, Red Velvet, Malakai Black, Andrade El Idolo, Christian Cage, Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy, Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky, Lance Archer, Orange Cassidy, Brian Cage, Ricky Starks and many more.  For the first time in many years, AEW is offering an alternative to mainstream wrestling, with a roster of world-class talent that is injecting new spirit, freshness and energy into the industry.

“AEW: Dynamite” airs every Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. ET on TNT and attracts the youngest wrestling audience on television.  The new fight-forward show “AEW: Rampage” airs every Friday from 10-11 p.m. ET.  AEW’s multi-platform content also includes “AEW Dark” and “AEW Dark: Elevation,” two weekly professional wrestling YouTube series, “Being the Elite,” a weekly behind-the-scenes YouTube series, and “AEW Unrestricted,” a weekly podcast series.  For more info, check outTwitter.com/AEWInstagram.com/AllEliteWrestlingYouTube.com/AEW;Facebook.com/AllEliteWrestling.


CATCH-UP: HEYDORN’S TAKE: Strategy for C.M. Punk debut shines as feeling of anticipation inside the United Center generates huge moment

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