KELLER’S TAKE: What now for AEW Collision? Suggestions on how to reverse declining viewership

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


The drop in viewership the last two weeks since the premiere episode of AEW Collision is not good. Week 2’s dropoff wasn’t a shock, but it was on a bigger end of the dropoff range most seemed to be thinking was coming.

Episode 1 on June 17 drew a solid 816,000 viewers. An apparently encouraged Tony Khan responded to my Tweet about the ratings that week with a “LFG!” That episode featured C.M. Punk’s return promo after all the drama after last year’s All Out media Q&A and locker room fight.

Episode 2 dropped to 595,000 viewers with an advertised C.M. Punk tag match. This past Saturday, it dropped to 452,000 viewers, pretty much equal to Rampage’s 450,000 viewers the night before without Punk announced for a match or segment, but he was on commentary for the main event.

The 18-49 demo ratings were also down each week: 0.33, 0.21, and 0.13.

It was always known that AEW Collision had a headwind by being on Saturday nights compared to Dynamite’s more favorable Wednesday night timeslot. Ideally, Collision would still be beating the movie reruns that TNT was running in that timeslot prior.

For instance, Back on March 11, “Wonder Woman 1984” on TNT drew 546,000 viewers and a 0.14 demo rating. The Apr. 1, 2023 rerun of “Men in Black” on TNT drew 417,000 viewers and a 0.12 demo rating. The Apr. 15 rerun of “Suicide Squad” drew 475,000 viewers and a 0.13 demo rating.

Despite that data, I don’t think there’s a reason to panic, especially because this was considered a holiday weekend. I do think there’s a reason for concern and at least beginning to consider adjustments in several areas by AEW. Here’s a short list of potential tweaks to help solidify the show’s viewership which, presumably, will rebound a bit this coming weekend.

(1) Experiment by making it clear that C.M. Punk is Collision-exclusive. It’s been implied, including a comment by Punk in a Dynamite appearance two weeks ago. If that’s the plan, then be explicit and hammer that point with Dynamite viewers: If you want to see what’s going on with Punk, you have to tune in Saturdays. (Another option is to mix all the talent and not have any wrestlers exclusive to Dynamite and Collision. I don’t think Khan wants to do that yet, and I understand the appeal of having two distinct brands with top wrestlers exclusive to one show or the other.)

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(2) Make people who watched Dynamite feel regret for what they missed by not watching Collision. Khan doesn’t like video recap packages, it seems. He studies those minute-by-minute numbers and white-knuckles any stretch of minutes that isn’t live new content in the ring or backstage. I get it. I’d say, though, that having exciting and compelling 20 second bumpers going into and out of commercial breaks, for instance, would be a good place to feature a clip of highlights from Collision. Don’t just air highspots; rather, pull the newsworthy hooks from the show and then have the announcers on Dynamite discuss key storylines and feuds that are ongoing. Get Dynamite viewers invested in more than just a quick rundown by Excalibur of the planned matches.

(3) Build Collision around five or six key stars in tangible intense storylines. Drive home to all AEW viewers on all shows and social media who those stars are, why they should care what happens next, and what’s planned for them on the next show. Questions should be presented on air, such as “Will Powerhouse Hobbs (fill in the details)…” or “How will C.M. Punk react to what (Wrestler A) said last week about him?” or “Is fast-rising breakout star (Wrestler B) really on a trajectory to earn a shot at the (Insert AEW Title belt here)?” AEW leans too much on tournaments, titles, eliminator stips, and the promise of dazzling athleticism. The area with the most room to grow is in putting wrestlers on concrete journeys where week to week matches, promos, and angles are easily seen by viewers as having high stakes on those wrestlers’ journeys – either a step forward or a step back.

(4) Add some youth to the signature featured Collision talent. That doesn’t mean put them, without any context, into a match that will be “exciting.” Establish a goal and set them off on a journey that any average viewer could explain to a friend. One of the early hooks of Dynamite was the roster of young appealing stars with seemingly big upsides, including the Four Pillars.

Those aren’t the only changes or improvements that could be made, but those are easily accomplished quickly without a complete overhaul of what appears to be Khan’s vision for the show. It doesn’t bank on a breakout star landing in their lap or something else out of their control. Define what the show exclusively features that Dynamite doesn’t, pitch it to Dynamite viewers, decide who the stars of the show are and lean in on those stars every week so the show has a real identity (such as Punk, Hobbs, White, Miro, Starks, Statlander), and add some fresh youth to the roster to balance the solid veteran wrestlers being featured now (37 year old Miro, 44 year old Punk, 44 year old Samoa Joe).

What do you think AEW can or should do to help reverse viewership decline? Or should they keep doing what they’re doing because it’s been good enough so far? Comment below or send an email to

CHECK OUT THIS RELATED EDITORIAL AT PROWRESTLING.NET: McGuire’s Mondays: The July 4th Four – AEW TV ratings, Jacob Fatu, Jade Cargill, and WWE Money In The Bank

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