Math was never my strong suit, but I’ve decided to tackle the numbers game happening in wrestling right now regardless. The competition between WWE and AEW is really starting to heat up considerably, and for wrestling, for the fans and the wrestlers who dedicate their lives to it, it’s a good thing overall.
Really, it’s a great thing.
But as Variety pointed out this week in an article that AEW decided to retweet on its Twitter page, this is something that’s needed to happen for twenty years.
Vince McMahon and the WWF failed miserably in the mid-nineties. WCW had beaten him in the ratings, and their product was far superior as to what was being put on by WWE. WWE forced out its aging roster in the early to mid-nineties, opting to move through to the millennium focusing on their youthful roster working its way up the ranks.
Well, Ted Turner, took in these stars, offering them incredible contracts and made more than some headway in beating his rival, Vince McMahon.
They had been competing some since both of them opted to take their territories out from the leadership and governing body that was the NWA, and it culminated in this war that we got in the mid-nineties.
And it would be since the formation of the NWO with Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, all WWF guys, that WCW would begin an almost two year winning streak against the WWF.
It wouldn’t be until the dawn of the Attitude Era that things would turn around thanks primarily to Stone Cold Steve Austin, and ultimately the changing of a style or rather product put forth, they ended up not only beating WCW in the ratings, but in 2001, Vince McMahon would buy WCW and by 2002, they would change their name to WWE and they would dominate for a period of about 20 years.
Hence the numbers I was talking about. Now we can go into the numbers, yeah, we can go into the charts and all of that jazz, but honestly, if we get down to brass tacks, putting it simply, WWE is still on top, yeah, but AEW is nearing that top mark and dangerously fast.
They’re getting close essentially. The aforementioned article at Variety really goes into the nuts and bolts of the matter (a bunch of numbers, and I’ll say what I told my Grade 11 math teacher: “will I really need this stuff when I grow up?” He answered exactly as I feel right now: “probably…” and yeah my lack of interest back then led me to have an exact same lack of interest in those same sort of nuts and bolts right now).
But I’m a journalist and writer…in the end, as Hunter Thompson once said—or was it Raul Duke? “Let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?”
The Variety piece is an awesome recounting of what’s going on for a business side, written by Gavin Bridge, and really he helped me understand what’s happening on that business side.
But, as a food writer and sports writer, I look at this as a wrestling journalist, and for fans and journalists, it comes down to the product.
We can’t forget, dear readers, that this is a company (AEW) that started only in 2019, and they are already giving WWE some trouble and some competition—even beating them at some points in the last few months as we’ll get into. That’s the amazing part here.
Back when TNA started in 2002, it took them eight to ten years to hit the type of ratings that put them only close to WWE (close but no cigar). These days, Impact is in the one-hundreds of thousands, and when Kenny Omega was there in the two-hundreds. Nowhere close to these two.
And Impact, in one form or another, has been that company that has been there since WWE was supposedly the only game in town.
Ratings over the last few months show massive changes in the way things have been going as of late. Throughout August, WWE dominated with the exception of the premiere episode of Rampage and the follow-up, which did well for obvious reasons (Punk’s premiere).
Rampage plunged after that point slightly, but Dynamite rose to defeat WWE from the 6th of September through to the 20th, they doing better than WWE programming, unfortunately plunging after that point, although Major League baseball may have something to do with that.
If anyone is looking at Canadian ratings, which it doesn’t seem like they are, AEW may be losing viewership due to a constant preempting of programs—specifically Dynamite—and rarely showing Rampage on the TSN network, with whom AEW has their Canadian TV deal.
But what this shows overall, is that AEW is proving to be quite the force—quite the dominant force in pro wrestling, and they have accomplished this in just 2 years…just imagine what 5 will bring.
They have already decimated NXT, the program of WWE’s that has done abysmally as of late…really for the last year, as the above chart shows.
As wrestlingnews.co has reported, in a recent turn of events, Vince McMahon and company have decided to creep into AEW’s Friday night time slot, during the first half hour of Rampage, with an extra half hour of SmackDown, and at 10:30 with a rerun of the exact same show, apparently.
Tony Khan fired back stating that he is more than ready to play.
“I saw you’re doing a half hour head-to-head with us. I can’t wait to finally beat your main show head-to-head. It’s been a long time coming. See you next Friday for #AEWRampage onvia Tony Khan /Twitter
The larger episode of SmackDown happens next Friday. Battle lines have been drawn, dear readers, and buckle up those seatbelts, because I’m not sure this one will be as over as quickly as the war with Ted Turner was.
This one may end in disaster before the end; there’s a storm brewing, and the heads of the table…the real heads of the table, seem to be willing to fight to the death.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”