NXT tops AEW in viewers, Fyter Fest finishes sixth in the demo

It shows they are presenting a bad product not one that only “hard core” fans enjoy. For a number of reasons that have been given. As I’ve said numerous times there is no evidence the ratings would be higher with a less “flippy” presentation. The problem with the presentation is the lack of stars, bad writing, and bad acting. I for one wouldn’t be watching the product if the in ring work today was the same we got in the 80s if the stories were the same as today.

What I think most people want is the best of today’s in ring style mixed with promo work of the 80s and 90s and good long term story telling.


Fact. Fact. Fact. well said. Couldn’t agree more.
For as strong as Drew McIntyre has been, he still the guy from 3MB. That has a ceiling. And it’s their fault because they are the ones who put him in that spot in the first place.

Part of me thinks the only way to create a new Shield or a new Brock is to literally bring up a faction like UE or a talent like Keith Lee and shoot them to the moon and see what happens.

Imagine Brock Lesner debuting like Matt Riddle or Alister Black. Two talents I think absolutely have the ability to be Main Event acts but are booked like total schticks, not legit main event talent.

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I mean they could have done it with Drew if he stayed more as a bad ass, rather than playing to the fans. But you need other established guys in good feuds to build him. I mean he beat Brock a solid win, Seth would have been a bigger win if he were what he was before and not the messiah gimmick, then Lashley who is nothing, and now Dolph. The problem is that they didn’t establish stars, so now they don’t have stars to put guys over as a big deal. They have been bad at pulling the Trigger. Like with Roman, have him beat Cena, Brock, HHH or whatever and make him a big deal. Then he can lose to the next big deal guy. Beating established guys is how you build guys and right now WWE has established guys fighting other established guys, or established guys beating young guys. Which is fine if you do long term builds where those young guys eventually take over the top. But in WWE they don’t. Gets me thinking of the legend killer Orton gimmick. It works when you are the young guy taking out the legends. It isn’t the same when you are the legend taking out legends.

I agree that you could bring in someone like the UE to do what the shield did. The problem is that you don’t have the baby face star to get overcome by them.

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I’d book them like Nexus and have them destroy everything and everyone. Immediately go after all the belts. Give them all the belts. And see what happens. It can’t be worse than lame duck champions now. Almost every Men’s title feels like a place holder atm. Including Drew who you make a great point with is facing nobody of significance since Brock/Seth.

Yup, they should also eliminate some belts. After UE claims them all though you need good baby face challengers in the wings with a guy you eventually want to get over beating them. The UE takes all the titles thing Cel kind of flat in NXT as the chase was far better than any of the title runs because there were no really good challengers built up.

It was a general question. I was just using Raw as an example. The same question applies to Dynamite.

My point is the product may be far more athletic than it has ever been but ultimately, never mind halting declining ratings, it hasn’t even kept pace with the general decline in ratings that traditional tv ratings have seen so you can’t use how people consume their content as an excuse when wrestling has experienced a significantly greater decline versus other programming (and I believe some sports have actually increased their viewership over the past 20 years).

So let’s take AEW as an example. I asked a question that John answered on the last Ask a Wai about where the additional 700,000 or so thousand viewers that tuned in to the first two weeks of Dynamite have gone. John’s opinion was that you cannot use the first two weeks viewership as a benchmark. I disagree with that opinion. Those viewers were interested enough to tune in but what they saw wasn’t compelling or entertaining enough for them to continue to tune in. That says their is an audience therefore for the taking but aren’t interested in what they saw.

Well, NXT viewership did drop 5% or so without Sasha…

Sasha and Bayley were bigger draws in NXT than Charlotte and Becky, there I said it; Asuka was the best NXT Women’s champion of all time, also don’t @ me.They are carrying the division and I would argue were critically under utilized and mismanaged in booking for over a year while they focused on The Man, The Queen and a special attraction.

The issue with your logic is that you believe there exists a product that would have pleased all viewers and kept all 1.4 million, or that the 700k that have stayed would have stayed regardless. It is equally likely that if what they presented was say NWA power that a different set of 700k would have tuned out. It is also likely that some number of those people were never going to be regular viewers, or viewed it live night one and now watch on delay (don’t over 1 million watch between live and delay, I can only find a 1.2 million number from January).

Needless to say it isn’t cut and dry “they lost 700k viewers” other than in a live viewing sense. Not is it clear that a product exists that would have had 1.4 million night one and kept them all watching live.

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Most of television in the US has seen the decline in program draws. This is a very long trend, due in no small part to the vast expansion of entertainment options available today.

Old man story: when I was a kid I had a choice of 4 TV channels (in black and white) to watch, and one of them often suffered from interference issues (remember back then we used antennas.)

When Elvis made his come-back on TV, with the show from Hawaii, half of American TV household watched it.

Everyone in TV today knows that those good-ol’ days are gone for good, as far as ratings.

So, my take is that it is a faulty thing to do, to expect a wrestling TV show in America to do any significant numbers. There are just too many other options for the viewer. Raw and Smackdown survive on the habits of old folk.

Professional wrestling is a niche that is small compared to, say, American football. Wrestling is a small niche even compared oddball sports.

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I don’t think UE as a group has a hope in hell on the main roster. They’re too small and don’t have the right look for Vince and Kevin Dunn.

Maybe Cole or O’Reilly make it to the mid card.

I’ll never understand the whole “ratings war” thing between these companies. I don’t get why, after two consecutive “losses,” Tony Khan and Chris Jericho feel the need to bring out the spreadsheets and explain how they “won.”

I don’t get the confusion and frustration. AEW does better in the key demo, NXT benefits because the WWE audience is so old and their viewing is habitual. Regardless, they both do fine.

I don’t think either will ever really “take off” and achieve numbers really beyond maybe a million or so after COVID. At the end of the day, WWE has failed to generate new fans for decades. AEW is a very Americanized product that takes after more from WWE than NJPW. It’s much better written, but that’s what it is at the end of the day. I’m not sure how much this will ever explode again in mainstream North America.

Both products are fine. I wish company figureheads on both sides weren’t so sensitive whenever someone makes a crack at their expense. Not sure why they even give attention to the small amount of social media trolls. That’s more or less what puts me off the most. I don’t watch either - I more or less just follow the news. Neither is for me. But, just my two cents. The ratings are very important and internal goals should be to grow. However…it is what it is to the average fan. I don’t get why it’s such an ardent passion for some to argue about and for company leadership to tweet about to justify their insecurity.

If you enjoy both, great. If you hate both, fine. But this isn’t the Monday Night Wars. They’ll both co-exist and do as well as the ceiling for pro wrestling in North America lets them.


I thought AEW was most certainly the superior show last night, but I think people really overestimate how amazing it is. I’d like to see a little bit more character development, promos & it would be nice if Cody didn’t bore me to tears. Still, I like both companies and I will watch them both until the end of time. WWE has also been established for a long time and I’m sure people watch it out of habit.

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Because for the last 25 years, generations of fans have been told over and over again, that the greatest era of professional wrestling was caused by a TV war. WWE has built this into their legacy and DNA.

Don’t blame the audience for looking at it this way.


Great post. It does seem desperate and small time from Jericho. Hopefully it’s a work which somehow helps his character (although I don’t know how, it just makes him look silly).


Yeah this has to be a work. He can’t be this stupid. If he isn’t working, well then he should just go back to Prince Edward Island where he is from…

Where did I blame the audience? You seem awfully defensive. I also don’t buy the whole “we are conditioned to feel a way, thus we’re incapable of thinking beyond that” as an excuse. I think that’s a cop out for not moving with the times. Further, they haven’t conditioned generations of fans. They’ve really failed to ever capture the magic they once had.

In ways, what you say is valid. AEW is very much a byproduct of WWE, albeit with better writing. It’s sports entertainment-style wrestling, not New Japan inspired wrestling. Why? That’s what 99% of the people in the company grew up watching. It’s all they know. Albeit, they have a firm enough understanding to know how to more properly present it to a 2020 audience. So in some ways, such as the structural integrity of mainstream pro wrestling in NA, there is some conditioning. I was hoping AEW would stray from that a bit more, despite being overall a quality product. But I digress.

For fans? It may sound contradictory, but it’s time to leave the Monday Night Wars. The people “conditioned” to hold that era in such a high regard are predominantly the 50+ demographic that WWE so heavily skews towards today. The “war” between WWE’s third brand and a company in their fledgling year is interesting, for sure. But, people should be able to think beyond 30 years ago and not get so wound up over the numbers.

The ratings are important for the companies because 18-49 is their targeted advertising revenue. The more young people who watch, the more advertisers hop on. In no way does that impact you, as a fan. I love data, I work in it. I love dissecting the numbers and reading trends as to who is garnering more attention, who is important to gaining viewers, etc. But I don’t think the casual fan often feels that way. They compare the two total numbers and then are ravenous and toxic on social media about it. And that’s what I don’t get. It’s a win-win for the fan. You have two options of programming that need to be of high quality as not to lose the audience. And on the promotion’s side of things, I don’t get why Tony Khan or Chris Jericho give such toxicity mind. Comes across as insecure.

Not trying to come down on you or insinuate anything offensive. But at the very end of the day - neither show is in any danger of collapsing over these ratings. If things take a dramatic turn for the worst, who knows. But it is what it is. NXT does more total viewers because of 50+, and AEW does better in the key demo. What more is there to get riled up about? Why is this some “war?” Both shows do fine. They’ll continue to do fine (although I do wonder how AEW rebounds). But the number is all but irrelevant in 2020. To use the Wars as an excuse for taking things way too seriously is sort of short-sighted to me. I think it is the fan’s responsibility to do the appropriate amount of homework to understand these things, if they also feel the need to complain online with such passion about it.


We know who’s fault all of this is…


I think we are coming from this discussion from the same side. I totally agree with you - especially this point.

I’m just saying the reason fans are so wrapped up in the concept of a “war”, is due to how romanticized the Monday Night War has become, and the hopes of many modern fans to be a part of something similar / the idea of needing to pick a side.

And believe me, I agree that the Monday Night Wars should be left in the past. Especially one full of revisionist history.

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Yeah, I think we’re pretty aligned in our reasoning then. Maybe I improperly phrased things. For that, I apologize for any confusion.

I get why people have this desire to glamorize this as some big time ratings war because it harkens back to nostalgic feelings the much-older demographic now has looking back on the late 90s. Contextually, I know there’s a history for it.

And again, like you, I also believe it’s time to move on from that and understand the difference between then and now. I wish more people did research and had that understanding that this Wednesday night “war” is not the same, or really anything close. I think that’s where my frustration can stem from. All it takes is reading the replies to Jon’s or Bryan Alvarez’ tweets when they simply post the numbers.

But yeah, more or less we’re on the same page. In historical context, I get it. And at the same time, I also don’t get why a lot of casual fans online (not here) don’t actively choose to learn the context of these numbers. But I guess you could say that about a lot of things. At the end of the day, for the viewer, I wish the focus was more so on just enjoying the product and not salivating to post anti AEW/NXT memes on Thursday. And I also wish those who worked/promoted for said brands wouldn’t be so defensive about it.