The wrestling ratings war continued its constant battle as the calendar flipped to the first week of September. Except, as in weeks past where it has been a contest to see which company would win Wednesday night, it flipped to a rising tides lift all boats mentality.
Earlier in the week a rumor surfaced that World Wrestling Entertainment’s brand, “NXT” may be moving nights from Wednesday to Tuesday.
The brand saw a bump in ratings as they ran their “Super Tuesday” show that saw a four-man “Iron Man” match headline the night. The overnight rating came in at 849K and a .26 rating in the 18-49 male demo. The previous week, when the show ran uncontested due to All Elite Wrestling being preempted due to the NBA Playoffs, the show produced a total viewership of 824K and a .24 demo rating.
The rumor of moving to Tuesday Night permanently first came out from the Twitter handle @WrestlerVotes.
Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter had more news of a possible move from Wednesday to Tuesday adding: “Wrestling Observer Radio reports that Vince McMahon and the USA Network have the same mentality when it comes to AEW. They ultimately don’t want another wrestling company to succeed in attracting a fanbase like AEW has, especially considering that USA’s partnership with WWE is worth $265 million, while AEW and TNT are set at a $40 million deal.” (Wrestling INC.)
AEW’s go-home show before their “All Out” pay-per-view did one of the company’s best rating in their short time as a wrestling promotion. Headlined by the build to the pay-per-view’s main event, Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Title against challenger Maxwell Jacob Friedman, helped the show deliver total viewership of 928K and a .36 rating.
This number was even more impressive since AEW had to return to their normal time slot after previously bouncing around due to the NBA Playoffs. Over the prior two-weeks “Dynamite” had to move to Saturday, then Thursday. However, the promotion never saw a dip in their ratings as Saturday’s 8/22 show did 755K and Thursday’s broadcast did 813K.
On Monday night, WWE’s flagship show “RAW” saw a slight dip in their audience going from 2.02 million viewers to 1.89 million. However, the show still finished fourth for the night; only trailing the NBA playoffs.
RAW, compared to Dynamite and NXT, is a three hour show. Overall the program drew a high rating, however, the show saw a decrease in viewership throughout each hour.
Hour One: 2.10 million
Hour Two: 1.88 million
Hour Three: 1.70 million
Friday Night Smackdown airs tonight, therefore those ratings numbers won’t be available until next week. Last week’s episode which saw Roman Reigns confirm his heel turn and align with Paul Heyman produced an average of 2,181,000 viewers, including a peak during the first hour where 2,210,000 fans tuned in. The show received a 0.6 rating among the key 18-49 demographic.
Wrestling as a whole had a great week. RAW’s large audience on Monday night helped NXT have a solid lead in where viewers didn’t have to wait a day to watch WWE’s NXT show. The same goes for AEW not having to share its audience, helping them come close to eclipsing the one-million total viewer mark.
Wrestling fans love to romanticize about the “Monday Night Wars” where there were more people watching cable television back in 1997-99. However, with more viewers dropping cable for streaming services, the days of flipping the channel back and forth between WWE (back then WWF) and World Championship Wrestling are long gone.
It makes more sense to let each promotion have their own night on prime time cable television. Each company has their chance to captivate the wrestling audience without having to lose a small group of people to the other company.
Rising tides lift all ships, and in this case rising ratings lifts all wrestling promotions.
T.J. McAloon is a freelance writer, Texas High School football journalist, and avid follower of the professional wrestling business. He can be reached on Twitter @TJMcAloon or by email at TMcAloon18@gmail.com.
Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts
“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”
In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage.
Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.
“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.
“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”
Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion.
“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.”
When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone:
“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.”
AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive
“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”
Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.
While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.
A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.
After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.
The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.
“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”
You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket.
Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.
While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.