NXT wins ratings head-to-head versus AEW pre-Thanksgiving

December 2, 2019

NXT on the USA Network scored its second head-to-head ratings win against AEW on TNT.  Despite the overall viewership win, AEW edged out NXT in the younger demos.

NXT drew 810,000 viewers on the USA Network the day before Thanksgiving.  AEW on TNT drew 663,000 viewers.  AEW did earn a slight victory over NXT in the Adult 18-49 demo 0.26 to 0.24.  It also edged it in the male 18-49 demo 0.33 to 0.31.  There was more of a gap with the younger ages as the Adult 18-34 demo drew 0.16 for AEW while NXT had 0.12.  The WWE-product still manages to grab a larger over 50 demo drawing 0.40 versus 0.25.

Payout Perspective:

An interesting turn which will have AEW fans a little concerned although the Wednesday before Thanksgiving television can be thrown out due to audience fluctuation due to many traveling or doing other things before the holiday.  For NXT fans, the interspersing of WWE talent on NXT programming has helped boost interest and ratings.  We will see if this trend continues for NXT.

WWE Smackdown draws 2.3M viewers post-Thanksgiving

November 30, 2019

WWE’s Smackdown on Friday night drew 2.3M viewers for its two hour time slot on Fox the day after Thanksgiving.  The telecast was down over last week and share the A18-49 demo top spot with Frosty the Snowman on ABC.

Smackdown drew 2.350M viewers in the first hour and 2.322 million viewers in the second hour.  The drop-off from the first to second hour was negligible.

Smackdown Ratings

10.04 3,880,000
10.11 2,877,000
10.18 2,418,000
10.25 888,000
11.01 2,605,000
11.08 2,725,000
11.15 2,445,000

11.22               2,600,000

11.29               2.350,000


WWE Smackdown draws 2.60 million viewers

November 23, 2019

WWE Smackdown on Fox drew 2.60 million viewers for its two hour slot Friday night on the network.  The telecast saw an uptick in viewership after its lowest dip last week.

WWE Smackdown’s first hour drew 2.701 million viewers with a 0.8 rating in the A18-49 demo.  It’s second hour drew 2.5 million viewers although it held its 0.8 rating in the second hour.

Smackdown Ratings

10.04 3,880,000
10.11 2,877,000
10.18 2,418,000
10.25 888,000
11.01 2,605,000
11.08 2,725,000
11.15 2,445,000
11.22 2,600,000

Payout Perspective:

While its not the best news, one would have expected the ratings to go up from its Fox low (its previous low was on FS1 opposite the World Series on Fox).  With a big event coming up this weekend, one had to expect the ratings to go up.  Still, WWE Smackdown is behind ABC, NBC and CBS in viewership but WWE still holds a grasp of the A18-49 demo for the night.

WWE NXT edges out AEW for first time in head-to-head

November 21, 2019

WWE NXT on the USA Network edged out AEW on TNT for the first time in its head-to-head battle on Wednesday night.  AEW still won the overall battle in most demos with the exception of the over 50 demographic.

WWE on NXT drew 916,000 viewers while AEW drew 893,000 viewers.  The A18-49 demo was close with AEW still ahead of NXT 0.39 to 0.30.


AEW Overall A18-49 A18-49 # M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,409,000 0.68 878,000 0.92 0.74 0.34
Week 2 1,018,000 0.60 594,000 0.66 0.52 0.30
Week 3 1,014,000 0.63 574,000 0.65 0.50 0.33
Week 4 963,000 0.45 586,000 0.62 0.46 0.25
Week 5 759,000 0.33 433,000 0.48 0.38 0.25
Week 6 822,000 0.35 450,000 0.46 0.38 0.28
Week 7 957,000 0.43 554,000 0.55 0.45 0.29
Week 8 893,000 0.39   0.52 0.42 0.29



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
Week 7 580,000 0.18 0.23 0.22 0.29
Week 8 813,000 0.30 0.38 0.34 0.34
Week 9 750,000 0.25 0.32 0.29 0.35
Week 10 916,000 0.30 0.39 0.35 0.40



*Data from Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily

Payout Perspective:

Good news for WWE although it had to recruit its “main roster” talent as it promoted its PPV this weekend.  Yet, NXT has been closing in on surpassing AEW.  The demos are worth looking at as AEW is still popular among the younger demo which is something that the WWE highlights with its Smackdown rating.

AEW revives Bash at The Beach, but WWE still owns similar trademark

November 18, 2019

All Elite Wrestling issued a press release on Monday announcing the reboot of the Bash at the Beach event which was made famous by WCW.  However, the trademark for the event name is facing an issue with trademark registration with the USPTO as an office action details issues with an existing mark.

Bash at the Beach will coincide with Chris Jericho’s second annual cruise from Miami, Florida in January.  On January 15, AEW’s television show on TNT, Dynamite will hold an event at the University of Miami with a “Bash at the Beach” themed episode and then continues with Jericho’s cruise through Jan. 20-24. The week’s following Dynamite episode will take place on the cruise.

The Bash at the Beach was registered by Cody Runnels and his attorneys on March 18, 2019.  The filing was premised upon Section 1B of the Trademark Act which notes that the mark will be used in commerce but had yet to be used.

The mark’s intended use is for:  Entertainment in the nature of wrestling contests; Entertainment services in the nature of a wrestling club, Entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibits and performances by a professional wrestler and entertainer; Providing wrestling news and information via a global computer network.

On May 20, 2019, a non-final Office Action was issued by the Attorney Examiner citing its initial decision to refuse registration due to a likelihood of confusion with an existing mark which is owned by WWE.  The mark, The Bash, was registered on December 13, 2011 and is still an active mark according to the USPTO.  Notably, the other marks regarding WCW’s Bash at the Beach have been abandoned.

Despite the fact that The Bash and Bash at the Beach do not have the same words, the attorney is refusing registration at this point because of its likelihood to confuse consumers.  Per the Office Action, “the dominant portion of the registrant’s mark, “BASH” is the first and dominant term of the applied-for mark BASH AT THE BEACH.  The marks sound similar and have a similar meaning when viewed in the context of the wrestling services to which they relate.”  Thus, the conclusion that they share the same overall commercial impression.

Payout Perspective:

Even if Cody’s attorneys are able to overturn the decision and allow Bash at the Beach to be registered, one might expect the WWE to step in and oppose the registration.  The question will be whether AEW will be impacted prior to their event in January from using the name.

WWE Smackdown finds new low

November 16, 2019

WWE Friday Night Smackdown ratings fell once again to 2.445 million viewers in the first hour and 2.255 million viewers in the second.  Also, the viewership for the A18-49 fell to 0.7 which tied with CBS’s Hawaii Five-O.

The ratings are the lowest for the series since its debut on Fox.  It drew a 4 share overall and a 5 share in the Men 18-49 demo.  The numbers are disappointing and once again fall behind the other 3 networks in overall viewership and ratings.

The new low comes the same week that the WWE and Fox stated that they were pleased with the partnership at an industry conference.

Fox, WWE bullish over SmackDown start on network

November 14, 2019

Speaking at an industry conference this week, Fox and the WWE are pleased with the ratings.  The feeling from the parties is that “Friday Night SmackDown” “reaches a much broader audience than many people realize.

Despite the fact that the overall ratings have trended down and usually third in networks ratings behind CBS, ABC and NBC, its pull of the adult 18-49 demo has proven to be a success.  At the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology Conference, Fox Sports CEO & Executive Producer and WWE co-President Michelle Wilson offered a joint talk about the partnership.

Wilson noted that “35-50% of the viewing audience are women” and its “multi-generational.”  Shanks and Wilson indicated that they wanted SmackDown to move Friday as a way to position the network for “owning the weekend.”  One of the obstacles, WWE is realizing is securing venues on Fridays since it is competing with NBA and NHL dates in most cities.

Shanks also noted that Vince McMahon has been receptive to new ways to shoot SmackDown.

While the cynical may see the comments as a way to promote the show at an industry conference with overlooking the decline in ratings week-to-week, the fact it is securing the A18-49 demo is all that seems to matter here.

CM Punk returns to WWE programming

November 12, 2019

CM Punk is back in a WWE ring…sort of.  He made an appearance on WWE’s Backstage show on the FS1 Network Tuesday night.


Punk’s departure from the WWE resulted in a legal matter in which he settled with the company on his release.  However, after an appearance on a podcast with Colt Cabana where he indicated that a WWE physician did not treat him correctly for an injury, he was sued by the doctor.

Since then, Punk has had two fights in the UFC and despite losing both he was paid well for his efforts.  He has since starred in a Netflix show and various other television and movie projects, including the recent release of “Girl on the Third Floor.”

Payout Perspective:

It does not look like Punk will be in the wrestling ring, rather he’ll focus on the television part of the WWE’s new partnership with Fox.  Based on the ratings, the WWE need some sort of spark to have people watch the shoulder programming.  Of course, it is the professional wrestling business, so maybe never say never.

Friday Night Smackdown on Fox draws 2.62M viewer average

November 9, 2019

Friday Night Smackdown on Fox drew an average of 2.62 million viewers over the two hour telecast according to Nielsen.  The ratings per hour showed a slight increase over last week.

WWE’s show drew 0.8 in the A18-49 demo and a 5 share which led the networks for the night.  Overall, Hawaii Five-O on CBS won the 8-9pm time slot with 7.05 million viewers and Magnum P.I. on CBS won the 9-10pm time slot with 6.65 million viewers.

Broken down per hours Smackdown’s first hour drew 2.725 million viewers and 2.510 million in the second hour.

Payout Perspective:

Some promising numbers for the WWE as its first hour was solid although it saw a loss of viewers going into its second hour.  The CBS lineup is very solid and has dedicated viewers between 8-10pm regardless of whether or not the shows are reruns.  But, the WWE is still winning the A18-49 demo for both hours.

Friday Night Smackdown draws 2.52M in its return to Fox

November 4, 2019

Friday Night Smackdown returned to Fox on Friday night and drew 2.52 million viewers according to Television By Numbers.

The WWE was on FS1 last Friday due to the World Series.  It returned to the network although most of the talent scheduled to appear on Friday night were still in Saudi Arabia due to an unknown issue.  Instead, NXT talent appeared on the show.

The 2-hour show drew a 0.8 rating in the A18-49 demo and a 5 share.  Smackdown trailed CBS, ABC and NBC.  Notably, Hawaii Five-O on CBS drew 7.13 million viewers.  Yet, Smackdown led the networks with a 0.8 rating and a 5 share.

Payout Perspective:

Smackdown did better than last week on FS1 but its overall ratings are still decreasing week to week since its debut on Fox.  Yet, the bright line for WWE is that it still does well with the key 18-49 demo which should please network executives even with it trailing the top 3 networks overall.

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