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The Ratings For WWE And AEW’s Friday Night Clash Look pretty Good For AEW

The rivalry between WWE and AEW was in full bloom last Friday night and it’s likely that many were awaiting the rating report after SmackDown clashed with Rampage for the first time. While SmackDown beat Rampage in total viewership, the 18-49 demographic was pretty close and the AEW show came out on top in some key ranges.

The blue brand garnered a final viewership of 866,000 to Rampage’s 578,000, according to Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston, who reports that SD pulled in 314,000 in the aforementioned demographic while Rampage hauled 313,000.

SmackDown was the No.3 ranked show on cable, with Rampage right in behind in 4th. It’s worth noting that TNT, AEW’s broadcast partner, is available in around 10 million more households than FS1, which aired SmackDown on the night in question.

Telling for AEW is the fact that, per PWTorch, Rampage beat SmackDown during the 10 pm hour, when they were actually on at the same time, with AEW’s show grabbing 328,000 to WWE’s 285,000 in the 18-49 demo.

SmackDown’s total viewership on FS1 marks a 60 percent drop for the WWE product despite it being moved to a smaller network. Rampage, on the other hand, was up 15 percent. Smackdown’s 18-49 ratings saw a drop of 54 percent after garnering 0.52 in said demo last week on Fox. Rampage was up 29 percent following their drawing of 0.17 in the demographic last week.

New York and Chicago’s MyNetwork stations boost WWE by an estimated 89,000 viewers – 17,000 of those are in the important 18-49 demo. This means WWE’s total viewership could have reached 955,000, with 331,000 in the 18-49 demographic. SmackDown had a significantly higher viewership but the brands were nearly tied in the key demo.

SmackDown also beat Rampage in total viewership, per fast nationals overnight rating data, bringing in 793,000 to the latter’s 549,000. The show was moved to FS1 on Friday night because of the MLB playoffs and will return to Fox next week. The change could see future counter-programming for WWE when they’re on FS1 again. Normally, SmackDown has to be off the air by 10 PM EST due to local news but since there’s none of that on FS1, WWE chairman Vince McMahon was able to hit AEW with a two-and-a-half-hour show on Friday.

The MLB World Series will be broadcast exclusively by Fox – Game 3 will be aired on October 29, which is a Friday. WWE has already announced that Talking Smack will be on for an hour, which means it will go head-to-head with Rampage when it returns to FS1.

The extra half hour pegged onto the show last Friday saw SD go head-to-head with a highly-anticipated AEW bout featuring CM Punk and Matt Sydal. WWE’s half-hour featured big names in Becky Lynch, who had a contract signing with Sasha Banks, while Roman Reigns had the same with Brock Lesnar. The superstars will face each other in Thursday’s Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia and, where wrestling is concerned, we imagine that Reigns vs. Lesnar is the favorite on most betting sites.

SmackDown purposely went commercial-free for those last 30 minutes. AEW did the same while Punk and Sydal were on.

Prior to the show, AEW boss Tony Khan indicated he could go commercial-free too since that was how WWE wanted to play it, however, he wouldn’t despite having more money than the older, rival brand.

“We can take the commercials out of it,” Khan said. “If you want to take the commercials out of it, I can do that too. It doesn’t seem very civil, but I have more money than they do, so I can afford to do that longer than they can. But that’s how we make money at the end of the day, so I was surprised when they took those out.”

A counter-move employed by AEW was their one-hour Buy In show that gave fans a great fight between Minoru Suzuki and Bryan Danielson. Unfortunately, since there was no buildup to the match, only hardcore fans must have tuned in. It wasn’t able to top 100,000 live viewers but was at 951,565 views at the time of writing, which means most fans decided to watch after it aired.

All in all, though, it would seem that WWE’s attempt to upstage AEW has only resulted in them looking a bit silly. Rampage did beat them in the 18-49 male viewer demographic at 0.34 to their 0.32 and people aged 18-34 by 0.17 to 0.15.

As you can imagine, Khan was pretty happy.

“LET’S GO WADE!!!!!!!! I guess that’s why *those* numbers didn’t leak over the weekend!!!!” he tweeted on Monday. “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 10pm-10:30pm, 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.”