Here’s some fuel for wrestling fans’ “Wednesday Night Wars” fire: USA Network’s “NXT” overtook direct competitor “All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite” on TNT in total viewers for the first time ever last night.
On Wednesday, “NXT” scored 916,000 overall sets of eyeballs from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. That was 23,000 more cable TV viewers than the AEW series (893,000) got, according to Live + Same Day data from Nielsen.
Among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, “NXT” still came in behind “Dynamite,” with the USA program drawing 393,000 viewers and the younger-skewing TNT show posting 505,000. But that key demo stat for “NXT” was +23% over last week’s comparable number and the best the show has seen since Oct. 2. Meanwhile, AEW’s program is down 9% in the demo versus last Wednesday.
TheWrap had the pleasure of breaking the good news to NXT Champion Adam Cole on Thursday, the day after he won a ladder match vs. Dominik Dijakovic during the breakthrough episode. Though Cole said he doesn’t “focus too much on the ratings,” the champ acknowledged that “Winning is cool.”
“We’re just mainly focused on trying to put on a really exciting, cool show. And last night’s show was just an absolute blast, with the guys from ‘Raw,’ the guys from ‘SmackDown,’ the matches that happened,” Cole said. “It was just a really, really cool night and so I’m glad so many people enjoyed it.”
Earlier this month, “NXT” came close to matching AEW’s numbers, drawing 813,000 total viewers for its Nov. 6 show, 384,000 of which came from the 18-49 range. “AEW: Dynamite” took 822,000 total viewers that night, 450,000 of which came from the main demo.
Wednesday’s “NXT” episode had a heavy dose of “Raw” and “SmackDown” talent joining the fray ahead of Sunday’s “Survivor Series” pay-per-view, which will pit all three of WWE’s brands against each other. Becky Lynch was there, as was Seth Rollins, Ricochet, Nikki Cross, The Viking Raiders, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Most “Raw” and “SmackDown” Superstars are NXT alums.
Readers can catch Cole at both Saturday’s “NXT TakeOver: WarGames” and Sunday’s “Survivor Series.” Both pay-per-views will stream live on WWE Network. Both begin at 7/6c.
Check back with TheWrap tomorrow for more from our well-timed interview with the NXT champ.