Even though CM Punk wasn’t entirely confirmed for last Friday’s AEW Rampage, the largest crowd in AEW history turned up expecting the Chicago native to appear at the United Center. AEW delivered and the “Best in the World” came back to pro wrestling after being away from the business since 2014.
For the second episode of Rampage, AEW averaged 1,129,000 viewers for the one-hour show. At its peak, when CM Punk led off the show, 1,341,000 viewers tuned in. Within the 18-49 demo, Rampage averaged 692,000 viewers which topped every Dynamite episode except for the debut in 2019.
The opening quarter-hour with the return of CM Punk was watched by 1,341,000 viewers on average and 842,000 in the demo (0.65).https://t.co/Z0rG5QbZu4
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) August 23, 2021
Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics had some interesting information on top of the Rampage numbers he provided. In addition to Rampage having a 65 percent increase on its 740,000 viewer premiere the week before, Thurston noted where AEW was positioned compared to WWE. WWE is certainly the behemoth and on Raw and SmackDown, they averaged about double the viewers of any of AEW’s shows but the 18-49 demo tells another story and AEW is a lot more competitive among younger people.
AEW might not be ahead of WWE but they certainly aren’t far behind in the 18-49 demo, which says something for a pro wrestling company that started in 2019 when compared to the undisputed pro wrestling leader that also benefits from being a publicly traded company.
Will Rampage maintain this viewership strength during the “Summer of Punk?” It’s not likely. Even with its strong momentum, most Rampage shows from this point forward will be taped and it’s impossible to expect AEW to have something amazing like they did with CM Punk every Friday night. Not to mention, expectations should be somewhat tempered when we’re talking about a show that airs at 10 pm Friday night when it’s a company that targets younger people. That being said, the AEW/Turner partnership is in its third year and it seems to be a happy relationship so if they’re both happy, that’s all that matters.