NXT narrows the gap with AEW, edges out Dynamite in 18-34 demo

Originally published at NXT narrows the gap with AEW, edges out Dynamite in 18-34 demo

AEW dropped in viewership this week while managing a top ten position on the cable charts, meanwhile, NXT had a similar outcome as WWE Raw this week.

AEW Dynamite featured the long-awaited “Arcade Anarchy” match as well as Christian Cage’s promotional debut and first singles match since 2014. The result was 700,000 viewers and a 0.26 in the 18-49 demographic. Those figures represented declines of 7.5 and 13 percent respectively.

It was AEW Dynamite’s second-lowest figure of 2021 behind the January 6th episode. That night featured wall-to-wall news coverage after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

AEW fell 21 percent among males 12-34 and experienced a 12 percent drop with women 18-49. Their increases included a 12.5 percent jump among women 12-34 and its 50+ audience grew by 3.5 percent.

On the final episode before the two-night TakeOver: Stand & Deliver special, NXT averaged 654,000 viewers and a 0.21 in the 18-49 demographic where it finished 12th for the night on cable.

NXT’s viewership fell 3.5 percent but the demo increased 50 percent and equaled NXT’s best 18-49 number of 2021.

Like Raw, most of NXT’s key demos were up this week but they were hurt among its 50+ audience with a drop of 20 percent, leading to an overall viewership drop.

NXT had large gains with adults 18-34 continuing a trend over the past week where Friday Night SmackDown and Raw performed very well in that demo. NXT grew significantly with both males and females in the 18-49 demo.

In addition to the 50+ demo, NXT edged out AEW among women 18-49, adults 18-34, and men 12-34.

Both shows went against the NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics, which finished third on cable.

Next Wednesday will be the final head-to-head battle between AEW and NXT with the latter moving to Tuesday nights beginning April 13th.

Here is a comparison of both shows on Wednesday:

Source: Showbuzz Daily

ADULTS 18-49
AEW: 0.26 (-13 percent)
NXT: 0.21 (+50 percent)

AEW: 0.15 (-12 percent)
NXT: 0.16 (+45 percent)

MALES 18-49
AEW: 0.38 (-9.5 percent)
NXT: 0.25 (+47 perent)

ADULTS 18-34
AEW: 0.12 (-7.5 percent)
NXT: 0.13 (+62.5 percent)

AEW: 0.09 (+12.5 percent)
NXT: 0.07 (+17 percent)

MALES 12-34
AEW: 0.11 (-21 percent)
NXT: 0.13 (Even)

ADULTS 25-54
AEW: 0.31 (-11 percent)
NXT: 0.22 (+16 percent)

AEW: 0.29 (+3.5 percent)
NXT: 0.32 (-20 percent)

That’s a surprise. AEW should be extremely relieved that NXT is moving. Not because NXT would overtake them but because they at least won’t have competition for their show that is losing interest. The more they’re bringing in big names, the more interest that seems to be lost after the initial “look it’s that guy” bump.

While watching the Christian-Kazarian match, I was struck about how far off it felt from the original spirit of AEW, by which I mean the first PPV there in Chicago before AEW was AEW and was just a Cody/Omega/YoungBucks show.

AEW has signed a bunch of old guys with the feel of WWE about them.

It all strikes me as a very wrong move. I’ve thought that from the start with the hiring of JR, and he fumbled a bit last night. Even Schiavone has sounded old the past few shows, often not able to come up with the word he wished creating an awkward moment.

RIght now I think NXT will benefit the most by moving nights, and perhaps NXT will pull ahead of AEW in ratings as such.

I hope Tony Kahn will find a way to bring back the young viewers.


I’ve ben saying this since the Big Show/Christian signings. AEW had a good thing going, but their obsession with taking guys from WWE is clouding their judgement. They don’t need to add anyone, they have a stacked roster. Its one thing if someone who is young and can’t miss comes a long (ie. an Andrade or Alister Black), but they need to stay away from guys like Christian.

Granted its one week, but this was inevitable. Hopefully its a wake up call and a swift kick in the ass for AEW.


As with every week, they promote some stupid shit to appeal to their niche base (in this case an “arcade anarchy” match). Just the mention of that would have caused me to not watch had I not had no intention of ever watching it again.

At what point is there going to be an acknowledgment that what they are presenting is never going to succeed in growing their audience is now struggling to even arrest the decline?

Any Canadian numbers?

Sounds rather ageist

Saying that young people are turned off because the AEW is choosing to bring in older wrestlers is not ageist, its reality when analyzing their drop in the demo.

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Could the ratings change be more indicative of it being the go home show to wrestlemania week rather than some ageist conspiracy? And the announcement that NXT is moving will give them a bump


The likes of Big Show and Christian coming in generated a lot of interest. AEW always failing to do something with the interest generated is down to their bad booking. Christian’s first match was made to feel less important than a joke “Arcade Anarchy” match. He’s already just another guy like all their new signings.


I did generate interest, Ill give you that. But I think once the initial buzz wore off, it lead to fans ultimately feeling disappointed. And in the case of Christian, I think the second that clock began counting down people were let down.

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I think this is a little hyperbolic, I dont see anyone calling this “a conspiracy”. Well, maybe @anon39614977 but I get the impression hes just trolling.

Calling stuff ageist is dumb, I dont think fans have an issue with aging stars being on a show. Look at the Sting debut, that was fricking awesome. I think the issue is that AEW has put too many older stars on hte show. I’ve said this before, and Ill say this again…John said it best on the podcast when he said (and I’m paraphrasing)" "There is nothing wrong with having Big Show, there is nothing wrong with having Sting, there is nothing wrong with having Christian, there is nothing wrong with having Dustin, there is nothing wrong with having Jericho etc etc. The issue is having Sting AND Big Show AND Christian AND Dustin AND Jericho etc. etc.

Just looking around social media, I’m seeing a lot of AEW fans turned off by this. Now, do I think AEW is doomed, and this is the end? No. I just hope they learn from this, and keep the focus on the younger guys.

Do I think this being WrestleMania season is a factor, of course as it’s usually a collection of things.

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I wonder how much of it is that it seems like every single storyline is featuring one or more former WWE guys and they are the guys largely being featured.

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Very good point. Just look at revolution…main event had Mox, you had a Cody match, a Miro match, Christian debut, Jericho match, Matt Hardy match, Sting match etc.

Yup and out of that Hardy seems more pushed than Hangman.

Look at your current programs
You have :slight_smile:
Kenny and 2 guys who were in WWE (though they made their names elsewhere) vs Moxley

Miro in a program

Inner Circle (with 2 guys from WWE) vs Pinnacle (with 3)

Matt Hardy faction vs Dark order
Also Nyla with Vikki

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To expand on my earlier comment: just because someone worked in WWE is not, I think, a reason that causes viewers to go away.

WWE has been the dominant US wrestling company for over 20 years. It will be hard for any other US company to hire talent today with some sort of celebrity status that hasn’t somehow been touched by WWE.

Rather, I think the feel of Dynamite has turned too much into a one-size-fit-all American wrestling show. Bringing in well known WWE retirees only adds to that feeling. This is what Dixie Carter did to TNA. And it didn’t work for TNA.

Wrestling is a niche, wrestling fandom is sort of like a cult (or many cults). I do not believe it is reasonable at all to believe a wrestling show today can be a hit the way WWE/WCW were at their height in the their battles. Or, for that matter, the success of TV wrestling even in the 1950s.

The Young Bucks and Omega had a cult-feel to their followers. You can’t main-stream that. Hooking up Darby Allin with Sting is a way to sell Darby to old folks, not a way to reach young’uns.

So this is my summary: AEW was hot when it was different and a seasonal fashion. Now AEW seems to feel it has to be a Raw-done-right (compared to the disaster that the actual current Raw has been for a decade.) I think that won’t work to reach the young demos that are needed to sustain a major network’s interest in the long run.


Hits it on the head for me.
Miro - fine
Christian - unnecessary

Very interesting. I see this

@Breng77 to be fair, so that with the Mania Card and indy talent. I think it’s fair to draw a distinction between WWE stalwarts vs guys who spent time in the WWE Midcard.
If only because all wrestling is a whirlpool of talent cycling around.
Difference between Jericho Hardy Christian and Big Show Vs Miro FTR Spears and Good Brothers IMO

I would say what made Jericho a natural fit with these guys was simple he went out and did it with them on their turf While not really be in wwe at the time (New Japan, Cruise tag). All these other guys came directly from the motherships fresh with stench. He’s less cool
now in the same setting now that he’s not the outlier.


Short answer here - I think we tend to analyze all ratings results in such small sample sizes that really don’t give us enough information to really know what is the cause and effect to what the end product is. And to that effect, I think it’s far too early to be looking for things to blame for a short struggle (as far as we know).

Longer answer: I know I’m one of the ones who blew the whistle on some cracks for AEW last week, but while there needs to be introspection to what’s happening (instead of what seems to be a brush off of some of their weaknesses when they get brought up), I think it’s far too early to know if it’s the old guys’ fault, or main events a larger audience isn’t into, or bad promotion or inconsistent booking of homegrown stars.

One thing I’ll say is I think he’s leaned too far into what hardcore wrestling fans want and perhaps what they’re seeing is a return of hardcore fans…and not much else. We need to take shots at WWE - well here comes anyone they can rip away. We need young, unknown stars - well here’s a never-ending amount of additions, and people we’ve only introduced on Youtube shows seen by 3,000 people, and tag teams we concentrate on for only a week or two and we’re having trouble keeping momentum with the people we do try to push because there’s so many others we want to push. We need open the “oooooh forbidden door”, except those shows have only a few dream matches and “stars” that have even less exposure (by nature) than most of your roster that still needs introduction to your casual audience. It’s smaller and smaller audiences being crammed in.

And then on the end of the spectrum, the main event picture is almost entirely already-made stars who have any chance at being a threat there - MJF the outlier - which makes it older and less fresh then the rest of things. While in the best of times this can be seen as a good mix, it also makes for a very varied identity.

These are small things though. And just my opinion. And I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea if any of it matters towards whats happening with the ratings. But we have a very well loved show (at least on here) and (ignoring recent declines) a show that is pretty static in viewership since its start with a big bumps and a few bad weeks. And there’s room to think about what they’re not doing at times and if some of our stereotypes for what they need to be doing might need to be adjusted.

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Yes and no. It depends on the midcard talent, and their use on AEW. If they were a joke on WWE the need to overcome that and be something much better. I’m not sure that has been true for really any of the WWE midcard talent beyond Cody, thus far in AEW. Spears is not thus far much better off than he was in WWE, Miro arguably is worse off, and Anderson and Gallows feel like they are much the same as what they were, albeit in a tag division that actually matters.

Revival are better than main roster, worse than NXT so far IMO.

I’d argue that how they get used matters and having them booked over the Indy darlings matters to Some of the Indy fans. It also makes people worry about it becoming TNA.

As to Indy guys in WWE, I feel like that is very different insofar as most of those guys aren’t stars before they go to WWE.

I think a problem for AEW is that they are in a tough spot where hardcore fans want to see new guys, Indy darlings, and up poorly utilized WWE talent done right. Bringing in too many older WWE guys and not necessarily doing them right hurts that base. At the same time bringing in those guys hurts a bit with people that may come over from WWE if there are too many of them. If I am a WWE mark let’s look at what AEW gives me.
1.) Over the Hill Jericho (his matches are decent, but he doesn’t look great)
2.) old Matt Hardy, which is for WWE marks the lesser Hardy
3.) The weakest member of the Shield
4.) Stardust/Cody
5.) Neville
6.) Budget Edge (Christian to most WWE marks, the Marty Janetti of the Edge/Christian pair)
7.) Rusev doing a bad gimmick
8.) Largely a bunch of guys they don’t know (which if comments about NXT mean anything WWE marks think they are nobodies)

Now if the guys they know get them invested in guys they don’t know great. If they are just facing other guys they know then it probably tune them out. So I think they end up stronger with fewer known WWE guys. I think you can get away with people like Spears, Tay Conti etc, because they were never really even established in WWE


I agree with a lot of what you mentioned. The Dark/evolution stuff bothers me to no end. I hated it from the start when they were telling us “it’s shoulder content, it doesn’t matter if you watch.” To an extent it doesn’t, but then we get people coming in for title challenges with huge win loss records from dark because weekly there are 15 matches on there.

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