Wednesday Night Wars 09/16/2020 Ratings

Posted 09/18/2020
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AEW Dynamite
WWE Smackdown

The Wednesday Night Wars are back! During the past four weeks, Dynamite and NXT aired on different nights due to the NBA and NHL playoffs. But starting this week, both shows are now back on Wednesday nights competing for wrestling fans' eyeballs again. The results? Dynamite had 28.6% more viewers than NXT this week. Here are the details.

  • As expected with the return of head to head competition, Dynamite's ratings fell this week. The viewership went down from an audience of 1,016,000 last week to an audience of 886,000 this week. That's a very big drop of 12.8%. Likewise, the show's 18-49 demographics rating also fell. It went down from 0.37 last week to 0.34 this week.

  • As much as Dynamite's ratings suffered, the return of both shows to Wednesday nights had an even worse impact on NXT. The number of viewers fell from 838,000 last week to 689,000 this week. That's a huge plummet of 17.8% for the black and gold brand. As for NXT's 18-49 demographics rating, it fell from 0.22 last week to 0.18 this week.

Ever since AEW debuted thier show in October 2019, Dynamite and NXT have pretty much always shared the same timeslot on Wednesday Nights. So with the Wedneday Night Wars on hold for the past four weeks, this was the first time we got a glimpse of how the two shows would perform if they weren't competing head to head. The results weren't surprising. Both AEW and WWE enjoyed significantly improved ratings. Dynamite was able to garner more than one million viewers for the first time since 2019, and NXT had more than 800,000 viewers for four weeks in a row.

It would be unfair to try to compare which show did better during the past four weeks because one of the shows always had the disadvantage of airing on a special night. But now that both shows are back on Wednesdays, we can compare how well the two shows did in retaining the additional audience it had gained. And from the ratings, it looks like AEW came out ahead in that regard. NXT lost 17.8% of their audience compared to last week while Dynamite only lost 12.8%. So it seems that NXT may have lost some ground to Dynamite in terms of viewership loyalty. This is obviously not a good sign for WWE as it indicates that NXT may lose to Dynamite in the long run.

As previously stated, the USA network may have intentions to move NXT to another night. This week's ratings would support this decision. However, it has always been obvious from the beginning that NXT's job is to suppress the AEW brand, not thrive on its own. So unless WWE is willing to change that strategy, such a scheduling change may not happen any time soon.

Meanwhile, Raw and Smackdown saw their ratings head in opoosite directions this week.

  • For the third week in a row, Raw saw a decline in its ratings. Its audience fell from 1,725,000 viewers last week to 1,689,000 viewers this week. That's a decrease of 2.1%. On the up side, however, the show's 18-49 demographics rating actually went up a little bit. It improved from 0.48 last week to 0.50 this week.

  • In stark contrast to Raw, Smackdown's ratings shot up this week. The size of its audience grew from 2,129,000 viewers last week to 2,329,000 viewers this week. That's a very healthy increase 0f 9.4%. Despite this increase, Smackdown's 18-49 demographics rating remained the same as previous weeks. For the fifth week in a row, it came in at 0.6.

With Dynamite's victory this week, the Wednesday Night Wars have officially resumed. Dynamite's win-loss record now stands at 37-8-1 for viewership and 45-1 for the 18-49 demographic. This makes NXT's record 8-37-1 for viewership and 1-45 for the 18-49 demographic. And excluding the past four weeks when the Wednesday Night Wars was on hold, Dynamite now holds a six week winning streak in the ratings.

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