Did the CM Punk-Jack Perry footage really give AEW Dynamite a big ratings bump last week? Yes and no

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Last week’s controversial decision to air the C.M. Punk-Jack Perry fight has been deemed in some circles in and out of AEW a ratings success, thus serving to justify airing it despite the strong pushback. (In our Twitter/X poll, 85 percent of nearly 2,000 responses said it shouldn’t have aired, for instance.) However, Tony Khan was defending it as a decision he’d stand by even before the ratings came out. Since then, others in AEW have looked at the demo numbers and decided it at least gave the show a boost even if they would’ve voted against airing it themselves.

The big number being pointed to is that the third quarter hour (Q3) averaged 449,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo, up from the prior week’s 300,000 in that same quarter.

It’s important to note that Dynamite the previous two weeks drew series-low numbers for a Wednesday night episode unopposed by NXT, so it’s a comparison being made against a low point for the series.

PWTorch has obtained the minute-by-minute rating for several recent Dynamites. The six minutes at the end of Q3 that featured the Punk-Perry incident and The Young Bucks introducing and reacting to the segment averaged 485,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo. The prior week, the same six minute segment (featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Lance Archer) averaged 352,000 viewers, a difference of 132,000 viewers.

Overall, the Apr. 10 Dynamite drew a 0.30 rating in the 18-49 demo. The average the first 12 weeks of the year was 0.29, so last week’s episode overall just returned to “normal” after two down weeks that drew 0.23 in that demo. Is that due to awareness in the 18-49 demo due to online buzz and social media plugs by AEW about that segment airing? Certainly it factored in somewhat, but how much isn’t clear. Maybe with less competition on other channels in the 18-49 demo last week, it would have rebounded quite a bit anyway.

Looking at the same six minute period three weeks earlier (3/20) before the ratings dip might be a more relevant comparison. That segment averaged 424,000 viewers, so the Punk-Perry segment drew 60,000 more viewers in the key demo than three weeks earlier in the same six minute stretch. Going back another week (3/13), it averaged 417,000, or 67,000 more viewers. That’s not nothing, but it’s nowhere near 150,000 boost compared to the prior week.

The first six minutes of Q3 last Wednesday also drew well, which featured Brody King attacking Adam Copeland after his match and the backstage interview with Chris Jericho and Hook. That six minute period, which factored into the overall Q3 viewership average as much as the Punk-Perry-Bucks segment, averaged 467,000 viewers, only 17,000 fewer viewers than the Punk-Perry-Bucks segment. (In total audience, it actually outdrew the Punk-Perry-Bucks segment by a 940,000 to 909,000 margin.)

So the Punk-Perry-Bucks segment did well with the 18-49 demo compared to the previous week and the margin of difference overall was greater in Q3 than any other quarter comparisons between last week and the week before. However, when comparing it to the Mar. 13 and 20 episodes, it did only slight better in the same six minute period and only slight better than the first six minutes of Q3 that week in the 18-49 demo (and worse among all viewers).

The positives of airing the segment regardless of the difference it made in viewership is that it (a) provided storyline for the Bucks-FTR match at this Sunday’s Dynasty PPV and (b) it set the stage for Jack Perry’s return, and by all accounts, Perry looks like a revitalized character based on his work on New Japan events, including last Friday in Chicago.

PWTorch contributor Eric Krol attended that event live and says he was impressed. “The huge reaction to Perry was interesting,” he says. “It’s Chicago and the only sustained ‘Punk’ chant came before the match when the match graphic was on screen. Lots of boos, some cheers. Perry leaned into it by coming out in the Chicago flag and leather jacket with ‘Cry me a river’ on it. For the first time ever, I thought AEW might have something with him.”

RECOMMENDED NEXT: Footage of All In with C.M. Punk and Jack Perry minute-by-minute viewership peaks lower than Copeland-Penta, draws better than FTR promo and Mercedes sitdown segment (VIP Preview)

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