AEW Rampage tied SmackDown in the key 18-49 demographic last week, and they drew more viewers in the 30-minute head-to-head competition.
The first 30 minutes of AEW Rampage went head-to-head with WWE’s “Supersized” edition of SmackDown last week, and the two shows wound up tying in the key 18-49 demographic.
Not only that, but according to PW Torch, Rampage actually drew higher viewership than SmackDown during the 30 minutes of head-to-head competition. The report stated that in the 18-49 demographic, Rampage recorded 328,000 viewers compared to 285,000 for SmackDown.
According to Showbuzz Daily (h/t WrestlingInc.com), SmackDown averaged 866,000 viewers, and Rampage averaged 578,000 viewers. Both shows recorded 0.24 ratings in the 18-49 demographic. It’s important to note that the Supersized show aired on FS1, as Game 1 of the 2021 ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros aired on FOX, and it recorded 6.136 million viewers (via WrestlingInc.com).
Following the release of the numbers for Rampage and SmackDown, WrestleVotes reported “the numbers news is a HOT topic right now backstage” in WWE.
WWE greatly attempted to stack up the Supersized edition of SmackDown, which featured a singles match between Sasha Banks and Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. The match was won by the former thanks to assistance from Bianca Belair . Those three will face off for the Raw Women’s title in a triple threat match at Crown Jewel.
Zelina Vega defeated Carmella in their Queen’s Crown tournament semifinal, and Vega will face the winner of Doudrop and Shayna Baszler at Crown Jewel. Finn Balor got past Sami Zayn in the King of the Ring semifinal, and he’ll challenge the winner of Jinder Mahal vs. Xavier Woods at Crown Jewel. The show closed with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns signing their Universal Championship match contract for Crown Jewel.
Though SmackDown predictably finished with far more total viewers than Rampage, this was a giant win for AEW. Their “B” show was able to outdraw the final 30 minutes of SmackDown, which has enjoyed much greater viewership than Raw in recent years.
AEW already soundly defeated NXT in the “Wednesday Night Wars”, and now they’re starting to gain momentum against WWE’s main show. It’ll be interesting to see if WWE reacts to this, and if we’ll see more direct competition between SmackDown and Rampage before long.
Tony Khan Excited:
Tony Khan is pretty happy on Monday after learning how AEW Rampage fared in the numbers while up against WWE SmackDown this past Friday.
Tony Khan is a pretty happy camper on Monday after learning that AEW Rampage not only kept up with WWE SmackDown in the ratings this past Friday, but actually beat the blue brand in some of the key demos they use to measure the successes and failures of a professional wrestling television program. While SmackDown was boosted by the over-50 demo and won in total viewers, the argument being made is that advertisers care most about the areas where AEW Rampage won.
Heading into Friday night, there was a lot of talk about how AEW was going to compete head-to-head with WWE for the first real time since they became a company a couple of years ago. This wasn’t NXT versus AEW Dynamite. No, this was one of AEW’s top shows versus one of WWE’s top shows and AEW President Tony Khan was hyped for it. He called out Raw by saying “it sucked” and he added a buy-in show to AEW while going commercial-free for the first 30 minutes to counter SmackDown’s commercial-free last 30 minutes. In some cases, Khan was criticized for calling out the competition so much, but it’s clear his strategy paid off.
The complete demographic breakdown for last Friday were as follows:
- People 18-49 – 0.24 (SmackDown), 0.24 (Rampage)
- Females 18-49 – 0.16 (SmackDown), 0.14 (Rampage)
- Males 18-49 – 0.32 (SmackDown), 0.34 (Rampage)
- People 18-34 – 0.15 (SmackDown), 0.17 (Rampage)
- Females 12-34 – 0.10 (SmackDown), 0.10 (Rampage)
- Males 12-34 – 0.20 (SmackDown), 0.16 (Rampage)
- People 25-54 – 0.28 (SmackDown), 0.28 (Rampage)
- People 50+ – 0.43 (SmackDown), 0.21 (Rampage)
Kahn said in a tweet before the numbers were revealed, “I’m only estimating but this suggests to me that we probably did pretty well in the yet-to-be-released head-to-head ratings from 10 pm-10:30 pm, a fight that I didn’t ask for or start, but one for which I was more than willing to show up and in which I was thrilled to participate.” When the numbers were revealed, he was clearly excited about it.
The ratings were extremely close and the demos tight, but this is a big victory for AEW in some respects.
While this was a one-time thing and SmackDown will shift back to its regular time and channel this Friday, one has to wonder if Khan is feeling good about his product and wondering if it’s time to try and take on WWE a bit more often. It is interesting how the supporters for each promotion have come out in droves to back both AEW and WWE. It certainly goes to show that competition in the wrestling industry certainly gets the fans going.