Wednesday Night Wars 09/09/2020 Ratings

Posted 09/01/2020
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AEW Dynamite
WWE Smackdown

This is the fourth week where Dynamite and NXT didn't go head to head in the ratings. That's because NXT aired on Tuesday again this week due to the NHL playoffs. As a result, both show again aired unopposed scoring higher than usual ratings. Here are the details.

  • Dynamite saw a huge upswing in the ratings last week, and there was another big jump this week. The viewership increased from 928,000 last week to 1,016,000 this week. That's an increase of 9.5%. This is huge considering that it is a rare for a show to see a big spike in viewership for two weeks in a row. In the 18-49 demographics department, there was also an increase although it wasn't as significant as the increase in the audience size. It went up from 0.36 last week to 0.37 this week.

  • Inversely, NXT saw a drop in its ratings this week, but it was only by a small amount. The size of the audience decreased from 849,000 viewers last week to 838,000 viewers this week. That's an small drop of 1.3%. Normally, such a decrease can be attributed to the fact that NXT aired on a Tuesday this week instead of its usual Wednesday night timeslot. However, this week's ratings are actually higher than the show's usual Wednesday night ratings, so it is obvious that the fans know about the temporary schedule change. As for the 18-49 demographics rating, even though the change in the audience size was minimal, the drop in this key demographics rating was much more severe. It fell from 0.26 last week all the way to 0.22 this week.

This is the first time Dynamite surpassed the milestone of one million viewers since October 2019. This was probably due to two major factors. One was that this was the fallout episode after AEW's All Out pay-per-view this past weekend. The other, of course, is that this episode didn't have direct competition from NXT this week. Regardless of the circumstances, this milestone is a major achievement on AEW's part given that the show currently still doesn't have the energy it once did with full live crowds. The large audience worked out perfectly for AEW as this episode featured the suprise debut of Miro, f.k.a. Rusev in WWE. Being able to show off a big name signing like this just as there are so many viewers on the product should help attract those viewers back for future episodes.

Although NXT did fall slightly in the ratings this week, it performed admirably as well. This is the fourth week in a row where the show was able to garner more than 800,000 viewers. In addition, this is NXT's third largest audience in 2020.

Combined, the two shows had a total audience of 1,854,000 viewers. That is actually larger than Raw's audience of 1,725,000 this week. This is very noteworthy considering that both Dynamite and NXT have only been on the air for less than one year while Raw has had more than 25 years to build up its audience with huge stars like Dwayne Johnson, Steve Austin, and John Cena. This goes back to the discussion on whether WWE should continue to use NXT simply to suppress Dynamite or truly let NXT try to flourish on its own by airing it on a different day. (As seen in the graph above, this is already happening with no head to head competition over the last few weeks.) Of course, both strategies are a gamble, but the latter would give the wrestling audience a WWE alternative to Raw which seems to be losing its fanbase rapidly at the moment. As we reported on previously, the USA network has already shown interest in movig NXT to another night. We will just have to see if USA and WWE can come to a consensus on whether or not that will actually happen.

As for WWE's other two shows, both Raw and Smackdown saw a drop in their ratings again, with Raw seeing a much bigger decline than Smackdown. Here are the details.

  • The same way Dynamite just saw two continuous weeks of significant ratings improvement, Raw just saw two weeks of significant ratings decline. The number of viewers went down from 1,896,333 last week to 1,725,000 this week. That's a decrease of 9.0%. The show's 18-49 demographics rating also fell sharply. It went down from 0.58 last week to 0.48 this week.

  • While Smackdown did technically see a drop in the ratings as well, the size of the audience only fell by 0.7%, so it practically remained the same. It fell from 2,144,000 viewers last week to 2,129,000 viewers this week. Meanwhile, the 18-49 demographics rating this week came in at 0.6. This is the same rating for the fourth week in a row.

While there is the possibility that the USA network might indeed move NXT to another night on a permanent basis, nothing has been announced yet. So most likely, NXT will be returning to Wednesdays starting next week. However, the Wednesday Night Wars may still not resume yet as Dynamite may get pushed to Thursday again next week. It all depends on how the NBA playoffs progress and whether a Wednesday night game is necessary.

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