From WWE ‘SmackDown’ to AEW ‘Rampage’: How Every Pro Wrestling Show Ranks in Ratings | Chart

Well, the six that are currently Nielsen rated

Roman Reigns and The Usos

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WWE and AEW are more than ready to rumble in TV ratings. Impact Wrestling, not so much.

Six months into the existence of All Elite Wrestling’s Friday show, TNT’s “Rampage,” TheWrap decided it’s a good a time to look at how all six Nielsen-rated professional wrestling shows stack up in both the key demo, adults 18-49, and total viewers (people age 2 and older). The averages in this story begin with shows the week starting Aug. 9, 2021 and cut off the week ending Feb. 18, 2022. We stuck with Nielsen’s Live + Same Day numbers for this story, as sports (and sports entertainment, to use the term coined by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon) do not rely much on delayed viewing.

Since “AEW: Rampage” launched on Aug. 13, 2021, the “Dynamite” companion series has averaged 612,000 total viewers; 329,000 of those were between the ages of 18 and 49. That’s good enough — or bad enough, really — for fifth place out of the six.

The reigning pro-wrestling champion is WWE’s own Friday night show, “SmackDown” on broadcast network Fox, which has averaged 2.2 million total viewers over these same six months. Of that tally, 740,000 of those come from the key demo.

So you can’t blame “Rampage’s” lack of rampaging on the day of the week. You can blame it a bit on the 10 p.m. time slot: “SmackDown” airs from 8 to 10. Plus, broadcast TV still attracts more eyeballs than cable. Advantage: WWE.

WWE also has the second-place wrestling program with Monday’s “Raw” on cable channel USA Network. “Raw” has averaged 1.7 million total viewers, with 600,000 of them between the ages of 18 and 49.

All Elite Wrestling breaks up the WWE monopoly with its Wednesday show, “Dynamite” (1 million total viewers/506,000 in the 18-49 demo), dominating its former direct competition, “NXT” (649,000 total viewers/197,000 in the demo), on USA.

“Dynamite” ran on TNT until the beginning of this year, when it shifted over to TBS.

The WWE-owned NXT series previously occupied the “Dynamite” time slot, but AEW’s quick success booted “NXT” to Tuesdays.

Impact Wrestling’s flagship show “Impact!” on AXS TV draws just 105,000 total viewers. Of that total, 34,000 are in that key young-adult demo.

A seventh player is about to join the game. Starting Thursday, New Japan Pro Wrestling will air first-run episodes immediately following “Impact” at 10 p.m. on AXS. NJPW has been airing reruns for about a month now. Before that began on Jan. 20, New Japan has been off the air here in the U.S. since 2019.

Here, we need to point out the differences in coverage-area universes. As of Feb. 1, 2022, Fox was available in 122.4 million U.S. homes, which is all of them. (Broadcast networks are free to access with just an antenna.) That is way more than USA, TNT and TBS. The Turner nets are available in 65% of homes, or more than 79 million U.S. houses. USA Network is available to 64% of the homes, or about 1 million fewer. AXS, however, is available to just one-third of Americans, or about 40 million U.S. homes.