Why is AEW audience so male heavy?

Good lord - 74% male? WWE is like 55-60 percent. That’s a huge male shift.

Any thoughts ? My wife doesn’t watch either so not sure why the huge difference between both companies.

I imagine it’s the blood and more aggressive promo style (ie MJF) and a lack of female stars. People like Sasha have a massive fan base and really AEW has one female star in Britt.

How do you fix this? If you tone down violence then you risk alienating the males.

Making female stars helps but that’s easier said than done. No one really jumps out as a huge star apart from Britt and maybe Rosa. They don’t have the star power of Becky, Bianca, Sasha, Bayley and Charlotte for instance. They could really use a huge name but no one will likely jump (maybe charlotte but WWE loves her). If one becomes available they should jump
At it instead of signing more males


Kate has gone on about this plenty. What is there to attract a female audience on these shows? There certainly isn’t a large contingent of female wrestlers on the show every week, so presumably women who want to watch women wrestle are going elsewhere.

It probably doesn’t help when they have guys like Marko Stunt or a bunch of guys in masks with sharpie on their chest running around acting goofy all the time either. It looks like a bit of a kids show at times.


Interesting because we don’t watch WWE main roster over here but my gf watches with me and she loves AEW, like any of my Japanese wrestling (NJPW, Noah and Dragongate), or Impact she likes but isn’t super invested in. But AEW she insists we watch together lol


I’ve long thought Total Divas and Total Bellas attracted more of a female audience for WWE than pushing women’s wrestling did. I think Rhodes to the Top has a chance to do the same.

I’ve attended 3 shows since July and there is the same ratio of male to female attendance that I have seen going to NXT and past WWE shows in NYC. So seeing that figure is a bit shocking because the live experience doesn’t indicate it.

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I honestly think this is something that is being over thought. It’s not female stars. It’s not reality tv.

WWE has generational fans at this point. Fans, boys and girls, grew up with WWE.

Little girls were included in that push for child viewership in the mid 2000’s. This is a product of kids growing up with the TV-PG era, and being young adults now.

Plenty of parents, mother’s included, likely started watching during this time.

WWE is a mainstream TV product that has decades of people tuning in and being familiar with. The Rock and John Cena are mega stars, who attracted eyeballs of women and men over the decades past.

I think as time goes on, AEW will inevitably grow their female audience. It’s not as simple as 'let’s throw this on TV for a few weeks and get women watching".

AEW also grew out of what I’m assuming is an incredibly young male oriented following with BTE. I’d be shocked if 20 years ago, especially during the attitude era, numbers were not similar to the AEW skew now.

I think time and consistency will eventually grow their entire audio, female included.


I’ve heard that first point argued before (Meltzer is a proponent) but I’ve never bought it. Women watch horror movies in the same proportion as men (The ‘It’ factor: It’s scary to think where Hollywood would be without horror and its pipeline to new, younger audiences). Combat sports traditionally have a minuscule female audience, but those events also have minimal female representation and there is an uncomfortably high proportion of combat sports athletes who have made sexist or anti-LGBTQ comments. (Those sorts of things matter to a lot of women.)

I think that the lack of resonance with women has more to do with the fact that Dynamite generally features very few women’s matches and almost all of them are ghettoized in the 9:30 soft spot before the main event. Beyond that, there are extremely few women who’ve been allowed to develop their characters on television: look at the amount of time given to male stars vs that given to Hikaru Shida, Tay Conti, Ana Jay, Thunder Rosa, etc. (And take into consideration that most of the men whose first language is something other than English have been given some type of translator/ manager, whereas most of the women haven’t.)

The amount of representation on offer matters, and statistically, Dynamite falls below WWE in terms of the minutes dedicated to women per hour (even though some of the WWE shit is dire). Moreover, perception matters, and the fact that AEW spent their first year ++ focusing on just about everything except their women’s division means that they’ve dug themselves into a perception hole. I don’t claim to speak for all female wrestling fans but I’ve researched enough to notice that a lot of them have the idea in their head that AEW treats women as superfluous, in the same way that WWE treated them in the past (i.e., super-short matches, little time on the mic, fights over the title but no deeper storylines).

A lot of us felt like AEW had turned a corner when the Thunder Rosa/ Britt Baker lights out match (it’s possible I even wrote an article about that… https://womenlovewrestling.net/how-the-aew-womens-division-finally-turned-a-corner/) but following that, AEW slid backward and returned to the 1-match-per-show, 9:30-time-slot formula that had been frustrating for women beforehand.

It’s weird because hearing women who work for AEW talk, it’s clear that it’s an incredible space where they feel free and believe they are treated equally. The company just needs to find ways (it’s not a question of one thing making a massive difference, there are just lots of little changes that need to happen) to reflect on television what exists in the back rooms.


Wow. Best explanation I’ve heard ! Thanks!

I appreciate everything you’re saying - but isn’t it possible that this could also be approached and viewed as them being given the semi-main event spot most weeks?

I think years of WWE conditioning has lead people to view matches before the main event as a buffer spot. However I know tons of promotions - and I’d include AEW in this - as focusing on keeping momentum going heading into the main event, is the priority. Not WWE’s fluff style booking of “bring them down before the main event”.

I definitely feel AEW has room to improve their female division - an additional Dynamite match would be a good start - but is a lead-in / semi main event match spot, really that bad?

And you’re response did give me reason to think. Representation does matter. I just never assumed the majority of female wrestling fans tuned in to see women’s wrestling specifically. You’re thought process definitely makes me reconsider.

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I think she has a point. Remember on the pay-per-view where they have the big show match as a come down. I do think they use a similar strategy, it isn’t like new Japan where they are trying to build.

Maybe that won’t be the case going forward but I do agree that outside of Britt they really don’t book any of the females well

Like why is thunder Rosa being pinned in a three-way? Why isn’t nyla Rose taking the pin?

Riho and Shida seem to have disappeared

Ill use my wife is an example because she’s in the target demo. We’ve been married about 10 years now and before that she wouldn’t watch wrestling but clearly has in the last 10 years. She watches WWE at times because she is more likely to watch UFC and gets into people like Rhonda and Aska bc they look more authentic and cool. She liked Bayley and Banks. So she will watch the women’s matches there.

For AEW she thinks Britt has a cool story but no one else interests her. They don’t have the more bad ass shooter types like Shayna, Ronda, Aska or a strong character like Charlotte and Becky or a star like Sasha etc.

They do need to build some of them up. They should make Rosa a huge star and have Britt keep avoiding her to build to something. They could use a strong shooter type more MMA style person.

Let’s see what they do with Ruby. Do they keep her hot after the title program is over?

I believe in the company. I’m sure they will be in a stronger position in a year than now. But the women’s division is their current weak point.

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Are there any numbers on what women viewership was like between like 98-mid 2000’s WWE? To be quite frank, I think the low representation of women being a factor for their low women’s ratings is bogus and I think the only people saying that are women in the IWC.

I think the general audience who doesnt come online, doesnt care too much about womens wrestling. I’ve dated 2 women at various points who knew anything about wrestling. 1 was in the early 2000’s and she was a big wrestling fan. Her favorites as a child were Jake Roberts and Roddy Piper. Her favorite at that time was Jeff Hardy. At no point did she ever care about the women or how they were being treated at that time. I truly believe this is how the majority of fans outside of the IWC feel.

Another girl I dated about 7 years ago, she was not a fan, but her brother was and obviously I am and she was aware of things. Again, at no point did she ever give a shit about womens wrestling. It was always the men she would talk about.

I also think the men feel the same way(again outside of the IWC.) I think if Bra and Panties matches or pudding or gravy matches came back, people would be a fan of that. As far as the women have come, its still wrestling and I think people look at it that way and still feel they are 20 years behind.

Oh man…

Fun topic of discussion guys, I’m out.


Anecdotal evidence from many years ago really means nothing. I think UFC has proven that women can draw and they will watch.

It’s all in the booking though. WWE/NXT have taken some enormous steps backwards this year while AEW has really improved but have a lot of work to do. The female audience is real and anyone who doubts they watch is completely out of touch


I can say as a heterosexual male in the target demo I would I would much rather see a quality women’s match over a bra and panties match anyday.

When those were occurring I was a teenager and did enjoy them - however things have changed and I look forward to great women’s matches just like with the men.

I asked my wife what makes her more likely to watch with me and she says for her it depends on how realistic it looks. If it’s overly fake and cheesy she will roll her eyes. However if it’s more realistic like UFC style she will be more likely to watch. So she is drawn to Ronda and Asuka for instance as that is more there style.

I think there are women who are genuine wrestling fans and I’m sure most are AEW fans like us. I think a large part of WWE women fans are those that watch with their husband or BF or dad or brother etc.

Well I would never claim that my wife represents a normal human being (hopefully she’s not reading this!), it would be interesting in a survey to know what makes those fans more likely tag along to watch WWE over AEW


Very similar with my wife - the crap with Carmella, “spooky” Alexa or Nikki ASH gets her to roll her eyes or leave the room.

Ronda, Asuka, Sasha, Bianca, Baker, Jade, etc - she will watch. Anyone entertaining or who is treated like a legit athlete she will remain seated (and then look at her phone lol). But still they are making her tolerate the show.

I know a number of other women who feel similar. Not saying this is the case for everyone but UFC and the rise of other women’s sports have made people take female athletes a lot more seriously, which is great


Yup. Best part is when you get yelled at for looking at your phone when they want you to see something or talk to one of their lame friends lol


I made this point in a previous discussion about this topic. Right now, I truly believe the AEW Women’s division is superior to WWE’s not because of “star power” but because I actually see characters develop and progress as performers, not regress. WWE isn’t doing bra-and-panties now, but they are stifling talented performers over and over again and reducing them to cartoon gimmicks and punch line jokes (think “Shotz Fired” as the punchline for fairly new act on Smackdown, it’s just all schtick and comedy). I actually view it more of a joke than I did before the Women’s Evolution. At least in the Divas Era I had 0 expectation. Now, with the exception of a program or two at any given time a lot of the acts are not being protected or further evolved. I think that is why Ruby was so welcome in AEW - she is the perfect example of a talent reduced to very little in WWE. Other promotions do a far better job with their women but I don’t know how to compare them because it’s not a national cable TV product. Stardom sets the bar impossibly high for a North American audience. Is AEW perfect, no; but I think it is as good as any.

I know the same one-match a Dynamite argument is prevailing but all the video packages this past week made me care more about the women than just thrown together 3 minute matches to get them on TV. Then on Rampage I cared about the three-way,

The other common issue I see raised is that they don’t book anything for the women away from the title. The tag match on Dynamite, the 3 way, and the promoted Shida match where she goes for 50 wins all away from Britt Baker. Throw in Ruby Soho acknowledging she’s going to the back of the line as a story and that was 10 women featured and pushed in 3 hours of TV. All were protected, women’s wrestling wasn’t reduced to 3 minutes on TV.

Also, the other big mark on AEW is it’s pushing of POC. But it’s the Women’s Division where I feel they do best w/ POC - I am all in on Jade, Red Velvet, and can’t wait to see Keira Hogan enter the mix.


I think part of the problem is perception though. Shida for instance hasn’t been see on Dynamite in almost 6 months. So to throw her back on for “50 wins” seems like not such a big deal because about half happened on Dark/Elevation including the last 12 matches. Like please have a match on Dynamite every once in a while so we could get “That is Shida’s 42nd win in AEW”. Tease that she is getting toward 50 wins. Number of wins doesn’t feel important unless you give me a reason to feel like it is.

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Fair point; I view it was she is one of their longest reigning champions and the audience knows these other shows exist (because they advertise and show the results each week on the scroll).

I think a lot of this is what WWE has instilled in us as viewers. It’s not the norm to view the promotion as a league that has other matches happening (that the audience can watch for free). It’s like the UFC. You know fights exist beyond just the PPV. When somebody makes the main card its a reflection of their hard work that isn’t on the featured card. I don’t necessarily need to see talent every week in a match to know they are an active competitor. I also expect this showcase for a 50th win to spark a new program that does get featured on Dynamite.

I don’t view talent as less over or important because they are off TV for a bit. I’m excited for their return, and enjoy the cycling of talent so that when they do come back on TV they are hopefully booked as refreshed and exciting.

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I don’t view the talent as less, but I do view the story as less, because it is. There has been no build toward it (unless maybe on those other shows I’m not watching). I’m fine with someone coming to dynamite with a bunch of wins on dark as a reason for getting a better opportunity. But if that match is supposed to be a big milestone, then build toward it on a show I watching so it has greater impact. I will also not that there is no former men’s champion that has been off dynamite for 6 months at any point, and it is damn near the norm for their women to disappear for a big chunks of time. Heck I would argue that there are hardly ever any top men off the show for more than say 1 month (Except possibly Hangman at current but that is his own choice). Which isn’t necessarily a huge issue until you bring them back and expect me to think a milestone they have largely achieved off screen is a big deal. If she made her return and got a big storyline (and she might) cool I’m into it, but I want to see the story. Which has been one of my issues with dark all along. That it feels like if you don’t watch it you miss out on story content that is supposed to matter on the main shows at times.


I will say they made the right choice with the Shida match. My thought going in was that she should lose because it would extend the story of getting #50. It would be interesting for her to have a bit of a losing streak especially if anyone else is close to 50 wins. Then you could have a race to 50 wins.