There have been a lot of different professional wrestling organizations over the years that have tried to soar to the heights of the WWE. For a while, it seemed like WCW might be the company to do it. For 84 consecutive weeks, the WCW beat the WWE in ratings, but eventually McMahon was able to come out on top and buy them out. That was in 2001.
It wasn't until 2019, when AEW came into the picture, that pro-wrestling fans started enjoying some healthy competition, and AEW has now got the viewership, and the consistently growing ratings to prove that it means business. Sure, it helps that a few high-profile wrestlers from the WWE "jumped ship" to AEW and are putting on consistently great shows, but it looks like Tony Khan's business model is working. So, will that be the case for their Friday night Rampage programming?
What are the viewership ratings for AEW 'Rampage'?
If you've been following AEW, then you will probably know Dynamite has managed to consistently beat out the WWE's development brand, NXT, every Wednesday night for a very, very long time.
While many would state that's due to the fact Dynamite is AEW's "Tier 1" programming and NXT is basically "Division 3" for WWE pro-wrestlers, it's still a huge feat for an organization that first debuted in January of 2019.
AEW has managed to keep a consistently growing audience base even throughout the pandemic (a tall order for sports entertainment) to the point where they were able to expand to putting on shows two nights a week.
No one knew how fans would react to Rampage airing on Friday nights, at the same time as WWE's SmackDown programming, but the numbers are in and they are more than favorable.
Unlike Dynamite, which airs head-to-head against NXT, Rampage actually begins on TNT right after SmackDown wraps up on FOX. Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics reported that Rampage's debut show brought in a whopping 740,000 average total viewers, scoring a .30 rating in the core 18-49 demographic.
SmackDown fared better, but mind you, it's on network television and has already been established viewing on Friday nights. Plus, it's a more recognizable brand: On Aug. 13, 2021, it drew 2,084,000 pairs of eyeballs with 746,000 viewers in the 18-49 category.
At the inaugural Rampage show, viewers saw Christian Cage defeat Kenny Omega for the IMPACT World Championship, which is the first time Christian has been crowned champ since beating Randy Orton in 2011.
Who is the mystery guest appearing on AEW 'Rampage'?
There's been a lot of talk of a new wrestler joining the AEW ranks on Aug. 20, 2021, and everyone thinks that it's going to be CM Punk. The show will be held in Chicago, which just so happens to be Punk's hometown. And there have been plenty of little allusions that "The Best in the World" would be entering the AEW ring.
If Punk joins AEW's roster, that could mean big things for the organization. Punk was arguably one of the WWE's biggest stars and after two middling fights in the UFC, he may be looking to try something new in the world of pro-wrestling. It's not hard to imagine that he's a big fan of what AEW's been doing, either. So we'll just have to wait and see if all of the rumors are true.
Do you want to see Punk in the WWE's strongest pro-wrestling rival right now?