Friday Night Smackdown draws 888,000 on FS1

October 28, 2019

WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown drew 888,000 viewers on FS1 as the show was moved to the network due to the World Series on Fox.

Obviously with the move to cable, it was the lowest ratings the show has done since its move to the Fox Network.  A condensed version of the telecast also aired on Sunday on Fox after NFL Football.

The telecast drew 0.27 in the A18-49 demo and 0.41 in the M18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

One can throw out this low viewership rating due to the change in network and the fact it was opposite the World Series.  Yet, one can’t deny that the WWE has seen a steady decrease in viewership since its premier on Fox.  This, despite the continuous push of its programming on all of Fox’s outlets including during NFL football.

AEW and NXT both tumble in TV ratings

October 24, 2019

The Wednesday night professional wrestling wars continued although both shows experienced a decrease in viewership which might be attributed to the return of the NBA and Game 2 of the World Series on Fox.

AEW on TNT drew an overall viewership of 963,000, its first time under 1 million viewers.  On The USA Network, NXT drew 698,000 viewers which is a decrease from the 712,000 viewers the previous week.

Lee South/AEW

AEW Overall HH A18-49 A18-49 # M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,409,000 0.74 0.68 878,000 0.92 0.74 0.34
Week 2 1,018,000 0.60 0.60 594,000 0.66 0.52 0.30
Week 3 1,014,000 0.44 0.63 574,000 0.65 0.50 0.33
Week 4 963,000 0.45 0.45   0.62 0.46 0.25


NXT Overall A18-49 M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,179,000 0.43 0.56 0.48 0.47
Week 2 1,006,000 0.32 0.40 0.37 0.48
Week 3 891,000 0.32 0.41 0.36 0.36
Week 4 790,000 0.22 0.29 0.27 0.40
Week 5 712,000 0.20 0.27 0.24 0.35
Week 6 698,000 0.21 0.23 0.26 0.33


*Data from Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily

Payout Perspective:

 AEW was still in the Top 5 of the cable ratings on Wednesday night.  The two NBA games on ESPN drew 1.698M (Bos-Phil) and 1.345M (Den-Por) respectively followed by American Horror Story on FX (1.350M) and then AEW.  NXT fell farther down drawing just 698,000.  The World Series on Fox drew 11.78M viewers which likely added to the competition on Wednesday night.  It will be interesting to see which of these shows will pull itself out of this tailspin in ratings.

AEW’s third episode draws 1.014M viewers, NXT draws 712K

October 17, 2019

All Elite Wrestling bested NXT Wednesday night for the third straight week although both telecast showed declines in ratings over the previous weeks.

All Elite Wrestling on TNT drew 1.014M viewers, a 0.44 share in the P18-49 demo and a 0.65 in the M18-49 demo.  NXT on USA drew 712,000 viewers, a 020 share in the P18-49 and a 0.27 in the M18-49 demo.

AEW was the 5th highest rated cable show on Wednesday.  Notably only VH1 Network had a higher rating during both the 8pm and 9pm hours with AEW on TNT second.

Lee South/AEW



Week 1: 1.4M viewers

Week 2:  1.018M viewers

Week 3: 1.014M viewers


Week 1: 1.179M viewers *1 hour

Week 2: 1.006M viewers *1 hour

Week 3: 890,000 viewers

Week 4: 790,000 viewers

Week 6: 712,000 viewers

SmackDown draws 2.9M viewers in 2nd week on Fox

October 12, 2019

WWE Friday Night Smackdown drew 2.90 million viewers on Fox per Nielsen via Television By Numbers.  The ratings reflect a drop from last week’s debut.

Friday night saw a 1.0 rating in the A18-49 and a 6 share in the overall audience.

The telecast is down from last Friday’s 3.87M viewers. This week CBS ruled Friday night ratings as an episode of Hawaii Five-O drew 6.95M overall viewers in the 8-9pm time slot, Magnum, P.I. grabbed 6.43M viewers from 9-10pm and although SmackDown did not go up against it, Blue Bloods hit 7.55M viewers from 10-11pm.

Payout Perspective:

A decrease is viewership of almost 1 million viewers has to be concerning.  Yet, the telecast is strong in the 18-49 demo which is a saving grace for the promotion as it hopes that it can attract viewers.  Yet, it seems that the fall on Friday night will be ruled by CBS and its original programming.

Cain Velasquez leaves UFC, signs with WWE

October 12, 2019

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez has signed with World Wrestling Entertainment and has retired from the UFC.

Velasquez made an appearance on WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown Premiere when he came out with Rey Mysterio to confront Brock Lesnar.  At a press conference on Friday, it was announced that Velasquez had signed with the promotion and will face Brock Lesnar at WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia on October 31st.

Although Velasquez has just a handful of pro wrestling matches under his belt, he has impressed with his agility and move set.  For an athlete that has experienced multiple injuries in mixed martial arts, his body seems rejuvenated for professional wrestling.

Also announced at the WWE press conference Friday was boxer Tyson Fury facing Braun Strowman.

Via MMA Junkie:

Payout Perspective:

In interviews, it sounds as though Velasquez is happy with this career move and is ready to move on from MMA.  While he has a lot to do to refine his pro wrestling, he has the notoriety, charisma and athletic ability to become a big star, similar to Lesnar, in WWE.

AEW draws over 1 million viewers for second episode on TNT

October 10, 2019

The second episode of All Elite Wrestling declined in ratings from its debut but still remained over 1 million viewers.  In comparison, NXT on USA at the same time was down in ratings to 790,000 viewers.

NXT drew 890,000 viewers last week in its first show going to two hours to compete with AEW on TNT.  This week’s NXT drew 0.46 in the M18-49 demo.  For AEW on TNT, it drew 1.018 million viewers and 0.66 in the A18-49 demo.

In its second week of the “Wrestling Wars,” AEW is showing strength with its overall rating and with the younger demo.  It drew 0.33 in the M18-34 compared to 0.15 for NXT on USA.  Granted, NXT on USA is not the main show for the WWE, but AEW is finding a niche with an audience disenchanted with the current WWE product.

On a day with two Game 5 playoff games, the viewership for wrestling was strong.  It should be noted that the Cardinals-Braves finale was a blowout from the start (10-0 in first inning) so you may have seen an audience turn the channels.  Also, the Nationals-Dodgers game was not decided until extra innings.

Friday night SmackDown debut on Fox draws 3.87M viewers, 8 share in A18-49 demo

October 5, 2019

The debut of Friday Night SmackDown on Fox drew 3.87 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  It also drew a 1.4 rating and an 8 share in the A18-49 demo.

Although the threshold for the debut may have been 4.5 million viewers (see below), the telecast was the highest rated in the A18-49 demo for the night on the networks.  It was third in total viewers in the 8-9pm time slot to Hawaii Five-O (6.93M) and The Blacklist (3.97M) (via Television By Numbers).  Yet, an 8 share was double of any other network show in either the 8-9 or 9-10 time slot.

Fox went big for the debut of SmackDown with the appearances of The Rock, boxer Tyson Fury and the surprise debut of Cain Velasquez.  Certainly, the ratings have to be pleasing for Fox which promoted it throughout all of its media and the WWE which likely proved its worth to the network on Friday night.  The question will be whether SmackDown can sustain this rating and surpass it to show an attractive expanse for the viewers.  If you are to look at interest based on twitter, there were a certain amount of people that had not watched wrestling in a while that found SmackDown.  Whether those viewers convert to regulars will be an interesting case study on how this goes for the television deal.

‘Dynamite’ ratings for AEW’s debut on TNT

October 3, 2019

The debut of All Elite Wrestling’s “Dynamite” drew 1.4 million viewers and was second in overall cable ratings for Wednesday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  NXT on the USA Network drew 890,000 viewers in its first head-to-head with the upstart rival.

The series premier of All Elite Wrestling drew a 0.68 rating in the A18-49 demo compared to 0.32 from NXT.  “Dynamite” will be a two hour show on TNT on Wednesday.  Similarly, NXT will be two hours.  For the first two weeks on the USA Network, NXT had been an hour long telecast but moved to two hours with the new competition.

Notably, Tuesday night TNT aired a “Countdown” show for AEW which drew 691,000 viewers which is impressive considering it did not contain live wrestling content but just a glorified highlight show of what to expect from the company.

The WWE’s product saw a 10% decline over the last two weeks with the preceding weeks scoring over 1 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Regardless of which show you may prefer, this is a big win for the genre of pro wrestling as over 2 million viewers tuned in on Wednesday to watch either WWE or AEW.  Only the MLB Wildcard game on ESPN drew more on cable Wednesday despite the fact that it was also opening night for the NHL.  We shall see if AEW can sustain the ratings.

The cat-like Will Osperay doesn’t back down

July 5, 2019

The Aerial Assassin is an appropriate nickname for Will Osperay. He is one of the most acrobatic and exciting workers in any wrestling ring.

His recent twitter feud with WWE superstar Seth Rollins has gained more eyes for the UK star.  As New Japan begins its G-1 Tournament with the first stop in the United States, Osperay will be one to watch.  Of course, if you’ve seen him in the ring, he’s always been one to watch.

The current IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion will take on native Texan Lance Archer at the G1 Climax as part of one of the “A” Block Tournament matches.  It will be a unique, one-time home turf advantage for Archer as the Japanese-based company makes its first-ever stateside appearance for the tournament.


Osperay earned the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title with a highlight-filled match against Shinjo Tagaki at Best of the Super Juniors this past June.  He is just one of two junior heavyweights to earn entrance in the G1 this year.

His cat-like ability to land on his feet is one of the most stunning things about his style.  Trained at the London School of Lucha Libre, Ospreay has taken his style to new heights.

He hasn’t backed down after responding to a tweet that he feels as good as any WWE superstar.  In fact, he told SI that his championship is more prestigious than Rollins’ Universal title.

“My championship is a little bit more prestigious than your championship,” said Ospreay. “More power to him, good luck, but my string of matches from this year alone has a lot of people talking about what I can do, and I’ll focus on that instead of what Seth Rollins is doing on social media.”

The two exchanged unpleasantries via social media with the WWE superstar rethinking his position.  Ospreay agreed to the détente with the two moving on.

The social media battle showed the fearlessness and unabashed confidence of the cruiserweight.  He’s complemented his sublime aerial style with some ground tactics to make him one of the best all-around in-ring talents in professional wrestling.

His match last week at Southern Showdown in Australia showed that he could also tell a story in his match with Robbie Eagles.

All signs point to Ospreay remaining in his spot on the New Japan roster and not looking to jump to AEW or WWE.  Despite the possibility of more U.S. visibility like Ricochet or Kenny Omega, Ospreay is staying put where he can put on spectacular 20 minute matches without restraint.

And for that we should be happy.  Ospreay will start off the G-1 Saturday night in Dallas and on AXS TV.  It will be one of the few instances you can see him stateside.

AEW finds television home at Turner

May 16, 2019

The upstart wrestling promotion, All-Elite Wrestling, has found a television home with Time Warner.  The announcement was made official when AEW appeared at the Turner upfronts on Wednesday.

AEW signed a deal with WarnerMedia that will give the promotion which has its first show Memorial Day weekend, a weekly television show on TNT primetime beginning later this year.  It will be the first time that professional wrestling has aired on TNT since the days of WCW in 2001.

In addition to TNT, AEW will stream on the B/R Live app.  The media rights deal was negotiated by AEW president and CEO Tony Khan and Bernie Cahill, co-founder of Activist Artists Management, LLC.

The television deal is an enormous benchmark for the nascent promotion which has gained momentum since its independent show, All-In, revealed an independent wrestling base willing to support non-WWE wrestling.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe not the redux of the Monday Night Wars which was the heyday of pro wrestling on cable networks.  With WWE now a publicly traded company and a central part of Fox’s network plans this fall, AEW’s television deal seems to be an homage to independent wrestling.  With a lot of expectations from the fans that have followed the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and Cody, it will be interesting to see how the company seeks to differentiate itself from the WWE, and how it will draw sponsors and build an audience.  Also, interesting, what will the WWE do to retain talent from jumping to AEW and how it will produce its shows based on its new competition.


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