WWE has been the biggest pro-wrestling promotion since decades. Having established domination in the world of sports entertainment for many years, one would think that their fans have only risen in numbers. However, it seems that with AEW posing a sizable threat, WWE should change their understanding of their fans.
AEW & WWE recently went toe-to-toe against each other with the AEW Rampage competing with WWE’s SmackDown. While SmackDown had more viewers than AEW Rampage in general, the latter still won in the 18-49 demographic.
The major change in viewership that has emerged between the two suggests that WWE has lost many of their adult viewers to AEW. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter commented over this change while citing a WWE insider for making the observation. The newsletter said:
One person there did note that things are very different from before because unlike in the WCW, ECW and WWF era, where fans may have had their favorite company but watched all three shows, this head-to-head showed, based on the first 30 minutes to next 30 minutes dropping that statistically WWE going head-to-head did not show any measurable hurt to the AEW audience head-to-head.
The trend with viewership with SmackDown was starting off with its initial 849,000 viewers, who rose to 882,000 as Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks took place. However, when AEW Rampage began and added its own 663,000 viewers, it barely affected SmackDown’s viewership.
The WWE audience during the middle of Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch, when it should have risen or at worst stayed even, did rise in total viewers from 849,000 to 882,000 right as Rampage started and added 663,000 new viewers, yet WWE only lost 3.5 percent of its 18-49s and actually gained with older viewers. WWE dropped slightly in 18-49 from 287,000 to 277,000, but it rebounded to 293,000 during the Lesnar and Reigns segment.
The show only lost 3.5% of its viewers from the 18-49 demographic. This means that AEW has its own dedicated fanbase which does not consume WWE’s programming. More than half a million viewers for AEW were dedicated to the show’s content, which means that times have changed for WWE.
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