Fight for the Fallen places AEW fifth on the night, NXT has big drop

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There were plenty of arguments over the past week with sides arguing over viewership and demo numbers between AEW and NXT. This week there was no debate with the outcome of Wednesday’s figures.

Going against competition from NASCAR and the UFC, AEW grew its audience for its “Fight for the Fallen” event averaging 788,000 viewers and ranking fifth among all cable shows with a 0.29 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Viewership improved by 10% and the demo rating increased by 3.5% this week for a show built around an AEW title match between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage.

NXT came off its Great American Bash series with a drop in its numbers. The show fell 17% in viewers to 631,000 viewers and a huge loss of 30% in the 18-49 demographic with a 0.14 rating representing the second-lowest in the demo since launching on the USA Network.

It was NXT’s lowest viewership since May 20th while AEW scored its highest viewership since May 27th and second highest since April 1st.

NASCAR coverage at 8:30 pm Eastern saw FS1 average 2,076,000 for the race from Bristol and was third for the night with a 0.35 rating in the demographic.

The UFC prelims that went head-to-head with AEW and NXT did 434,000 viewers on ESPN from 7-10 pm Eastern with a 0.17 rating. It was not a big UFC card as the main card only increased to 536,000 and a 0.22 rating for a show headlined by Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige.

For the AEW show, they dominated among adults 18-34 beating NXT 0.16 to 0.05 as NXT was down 54.5% in that demo (even with AEW decreasing by 16% itself).

With males 12-34, AEW won with a 0.20 rating to NXT’s 0.02 with the latter declining by a staggering 85% this week. NXT’s male 18-49 audience decreased by 46% this week.

AEW won all the key demos except for adults over 50, where NXT fell by 7.5% but still won with a 0.36 rating to AEW’s 0.30.

This was not a great outing for NXT as the decrease week-to-week was enormous in several categories including the main 18-49 demo. The show was promoted around the NXT women’s title match between Io Shirai and Tegan Nox, which served as the show’s main event going against Moxley vs. Cage on TNT.

Here is a breakdown of the key demos:

ADULTS 18-49
AEW: 0.29 (+3.5%)
NXT: 0.14 (-30%)

AEW: 0.18 (+6%)
NXT: 0.14 (-7%)

MALES 18-49
AEW: 0.40 (+2.5%)
NXT: 0.14 (-46%)

ADULTS 18-34
AEW: 0.16 (-16%)
NXT: 0.05 (-54.5%)

AEW: 0.10 (-9%)
NXT: 0.09 (-)

MALES 12-34
AEW: 0.20 (-5%)
NXT: 0.02 (-85%)

ADULTS 25-54
AEW: 0.35 (+9%)
NXT: 0.19 (-14%)


AEW: 0.30 (+11%)
NXT: 0.36 (-7.5%)

That UFC number. Yikes. This is why they shouldn’t have cards every single week. Less is more is something the UFC doesn’t realize.

I hope Tony Khan can now take a week off from a Twitterstorm defending technicalities with spreadsheets and charts. Take a week off from integrating demos into your television product, too.

Also sort of bummed by the UFC number. But, I’ll
take as many cards as I can get. It wasn’t some stacked card, but it was a really fun show. Inject it into my veins

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I think this shows that AEW has a dedicated fanbase in the US of about 700.000 people that will watch the show, while lots of people that watch NXT change the channel if NASCAR or UFC is on.


I wouldn’t worry about that UFC number. It was a weird time and day, and didn’t have any big names.


I find it frustrating when the NXT ratings drop.The reason being, I think most of us agree that the way WWE presents NXT is closer to what we hope Raw and Smackdown would be, and when the NXT rating drops what that tells me is that Vince is just that much more likely to think that his way is better.

Best case scenario would be if NXT started to beat Raw in the ratings, though i get that would be a hard ask due to the branding of Raw.

Its just one week, but hopefully they rebound.

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So what I gather from this is… Orange Juice is a ratings draw!
Drink it in man Jericho

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I also think it’s fair to say, the idea of AEW getting 800-900K live viewers also seems way more within the realm of possibility than NXT ever getting that high.

Looking over the last six months, especially pre-covid, January until Mid March, AEW looked like they were climbing to eventually hitting 1M.

I’m sure if Blood & Guts happened, they would have achieved that, based on the viewership patterns in the weeks before.

Not sure what my point is… I guess just feeling that AEW has been able to build up and maintain stretches of momentum better than NXT can.

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Damn, NXT finished last in the young male demographic, of all shows in the top 50. This means young guys would rather watch Bravo or TLC or Food Network or anything else than watch NXT.

WWE, you’ve got a problem.


I think NXT would greatly benefit from more character features/vignettes. Even though it’s a drastic improvement to Raw/SD, something still feels sterile and plain.

I also think if they treated their divisions like they did the Cruiserweight Classic, it’d be a hit. There’d be some structure and logic that the product currently lacks. Wouldn’t be an overnight ratings success, but I think it’d be an intriguing project

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Well, they are going head to head with AEW who is doing well in that demo. I would have to imagine that the two going head to head with each other is essentially dividing the wrestling fans in that demo 60/40, 65/35 etc.

If NXT was unopposed I would imagine they do better in the demo, just like I think AEW would.

Not surprised by AEW winning as NXT didn’t have much going on but didn’t expect that much of a drop. Not a big fan of either Lee or Dijakovic and I’m not sure who that match was going to excite. More Priest, Kross, Escobar and the women please.

I really wonder what each could do regularly if they weren’t placed head to head.


I think the lesson is that there isn’t much that will actually hold a number from week-to-week. It’s all about who has the bigger, better show on that particular Wednesday. Both shoes gave a base, and those that are casual fans or bounce back and forth between the two are going to continue to do that regardless of what happened the week prior.

It was a very WWE main roster type of segment so it wouldn’t be surprising if that was a popular segment with a lot of people. People say they don’t want silly but in reality they just want to be seen as not wanting anything silly (from WWE) while enjoying the silly shit they’re used to.

Serious wrestling doesn’t draw. Just a matter of time until NXT starts become more like WWE main roster. AEW’s been like that from the start.

I just don’t think NXT has any sort of direction, haven’t really for months so they will occasionally bust out a big match and pop a rating. But that kind of programming just isn’t sustainable.

AEW is telling better overall stories to me and has wayyyyyy more depth on its roster than NXT.


I won’t necessarily argue depth, but I think the top of the card in NXT is significantly better then AEW. I would be shocked if more then 10% of fans would prefer a Moxley vs Cage match over a Lee vs Cole match. The one thing AEW has over NXT is the environment right now has a better “feel”, but once fans come back, an NXT main event is just at a different level. AEW main event scene is pretty weak right now and has been ever since Jericho lost the title.

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30-minute plus NXT style matches with guys like Gargano, Cole and Ciampa killed the NXT main event style for me.

Just too long and they pushed the bar way too far. And of course the shocked look at the camera face. I think Cole spent like 5 minutes doing that against Lee.

I prefer variety and that’s what you get with AEW. Although I do love Kross and it’ll be interesting to see how he fits into the main event scene

See I love those guys in the ring, I would take any of those three over Moxley and Cage any day. To me Moxley and Cage feel like WWE mid-card, while the aforementioned feel like something special.

Now to throw AEW some praise, unless I’m forgetting something, I thought that Jericho/Cassidy from FyterFest was the best match of the post covid era. IMO Jericho and JR made Cassidy into a star that night.

I do agree that the NXT guys sometimes go a bit too long, but the in ring is just awesome and that live crowd which is obviously lacking right now makes the matches feel special.

What do you mean by pushing the bar to far? It almost sounds like you are saying they were too good, though I’m guessing thats not what you mean.

My one disagreement here is you saying serious wrestling doesn’t draw.

That’s impossible to know. It’s never been done in North America. And NJPW isn’t the fairest comparison because viewing habits may differ dependent on the region.

It’s clear the gimmicky stuff isn’t working either. I think the pandemic made things worse for sure, but main roster WWE is hokier than ever and struggling worse than ever.

I think serious wrestling is worth a shot. You can still have the silly here or there. But, if a serious environment provided structure/logic to booking, and it highlighted personalities appropriately, I think you could grow an audience.

I mean, how this company hasn’t promoted the hell out of Sami Zayn (pre pandemic) and how awesome and talented of a dude he is is beyond me. No, he’s not Steve Austin, but it’s just an example of a dude with a story that I think could really bring in an audience. For just one example