Wednesday Night Wars 03/18/2020 Ratings

Posted 03/19/2020
Viewers
2.5 mil
2 mil
1.5 mil
1 mill
0.5 mil
Oct '19
Nov '19
Dec '19
Jan '20
Feb '20
Mar '20
AEW Dynamite
WWE NXT
WWE Raw
WWE Smackdown
Viewers
2.5 mil
2 mil
1.5 mil
1 mill
0.5 mil
Oct '19
Nov '19
Dec '19
Jan '20
Feb '20
Mar '20
AEW Dynamite
WWE NXT
WWE Raw
WWE Smackdown
Viewers
2.5 mil
2 mil
1.5 mil
1 mill
0.5 mil
Oct '19
Nov '19
Dec '19
Jan '20
Feb '20
Mar '20
AEW Dynamite
WWE NXT
WWE Raw
WWE Smackdown

This weeks' ratings were interesting for multiple reasons. First, the Conronavirus pandemic has continued to spread dramatically over the past week, so much of the population are pre-occupied with health concerns and spending many of their TV hours on newcasts. Second, both Dynamite and NXT were held without a live audience last night due to the global crisis. This is the first time this has ever occured, and it was bound to affect the ratings. Third, many people have begun staying at home to limit exposure to the virus, so television viewership has probably gone up overall.

Well, as it turns out, the resulting ratings are equally interesting. For the past couple of months now, the ratings for the two shows have begun to stabilized and followed a common pattern. Whenever one show's ratings went up, the other show's would go up as well. Similarly, when one show went down, so did the other. This suggest that both promotions now have a steady fan base, and any ratings changes are not due to the audience flipping between the two shows. Instead, these changes are likely due to external factors like a popular sporting event in the same time slot. This week, however, we saw the opposite. Dynamite's ratings went up dramatically while NXT's experienced a big drop. (See graph above.) When you consider the content of the two shows, though, this is not surprising.

As mentioned, Dynamite didn't have a live audience, which definitely diminished the viewing experience. But at the same time, AEW did promote the reveal of the Dark Order's leader, and that probably attracted numerous viewers. Also, the show featured the surprise debut of Matt Hardy in AEW. Although this wasn't previously announced, Matt Hardy's YouTube series definitely hinted at this. So that probably led to more viewers tuning in as well. The result is that Dynamite's audience jumped from 766,000 viewers last week to 932,000 this week. That's a giant leap of 21.7 percent. Likewise, the show saw a big bump in the 18-49 demographics rating. It jumped from 0.26 all the way to 0.35.

NXT took the opposite approach this week. Instead of featuring any major matches or announcements, WWE put on a show made up of video packages about current NXT stars and storylines. In an unusual move, the show contained no wresting matches at all. Unfortunately for the WWE, this strategy failed to retain much of thier audience. Their viewership fell a whopping 22.2 percent as it dropped from 697,000 last week to 542,000 this week. The show's 18-49 demographics rating also took a big hit, falling from 0.21 to 0.16. These are the worst ratings the show has ever seen since moving to the USA Network. To be fair, WWE making such a bold move with this episode of NXT is understandable. The company had already just put on two shows in an empty Performace Center with Smackdown and Raw. To do the exact same thing with NXT in such a short timespan will most likely bore the audience. Plus, given the current circumstances, WWE has to continue using the Performance Center in the foreseeable future, including with Wrestlemania. So it makes sense to start mixing up the format of their programming now to limit the number of the times the Performance Center has to be used. Otherwise, by the time Wrestlemania arrives, fans would have become sick of the training facility which would in turn hurt the pay-per-view's buy rate.

With the AEW debut of Brody Lee as the leader of the Dark Order and Matt Hardy, Dynamite won this week's battle of the Wednesdsay Night Wars by a landslide. But like with last week, no conclusions should be drawn from this. These are unprecedented times, and the wrestling industry is going through something that it has never had to go through before. In fact, without a live audience, it may be the case that some independent promotions won't be able to survive through this dark period. The worst part is, no one knows how long the current situation will last. So it is anybody's guess as to what will happen with Dynamite, NXT, Raw, and Smackdown over the next few months. But for now, Dynamite's win-loss record is 20-3-1 for viewership and 23-1 for the 18-49 demograhics rating. This makes NXT's win-loss record 3-20-1 for viewership and 1-23 for the 18-49 demographics.

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