When AEW first announced a new weekly television show that would air on Saturday nights, it knew that the college football season would provide stiff competition.
But while the rating for AEW Collision‘s Sept. 23 episode — which went against Notre Dame vs. Ohio State — may have provided some optimism for the pro wrestling company, the show came crashing back down on Sept. 30 with a record-low of 327,000 viewers.
That number was down significantly from the 562,000 viewers the show drew a week prior, with a 0.18 rating in the 18 to 49 demo. That marked the TNT show’s highest total rating since July 29 — a show that opened with CM Punk and closed with a pay-per-view caliber main event featuring a tag team championship match between FTR and Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Adam Cole.
Perhaps most alarmingly, this past week’s episode of Collision drew just a 0.08 rating in the 18-49 demo, the lowest in the show’s history and the lowest of any first-run AEW program other than a May 13 episode of AEW Rampage that ran on Friday afternoon, according to the Wrestling Observer. While this week’s Collision faced plenty of competition — namely the Saturday night college football slate and the WWE NXT No Mercy premium live event on Peacock — AEW put on a relatively strong show featuring some of its top talent, including Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson.
That Collision held up so well against Notre Dame-Ohio State — which amassed record ratings in its own right — but fell a week later suggests that AEW’s biggest threat on Saturday nights isn’t college football, but rather, WWE. Thus far, Collision has had three shows that have gone against WWE premium live events (formerly known as pay-per-views), none of which has done better than a 0.13 rating in the key demo.
It will be interesting to see how AEW and especially Warner Bros. Discovery respond to the underwhelming Collision ratings, especially with AEW’s media rights deal with the company set to expire at the end of 2024. Thus far, the show has gotten off to a rocky start not only with the ratings but also the firing of its top star, CM Punk, although AEW does have some momentum with the recent signing of former WWE star Edge (now known by his real name, Adam Copeland).
With the announcement of a potential new rights deal perhaps not far away, the recent ratings provide an interesting wrench for both AEW and its broadcast partner. One thing that’s for certain, however, is that the competition won’t be slowing down soon, WWE is set to air its Fastlane show this coming Saturday.