AEW may have momentum following the debut of CM Punk, but it looks like Monday Night Raw may have something to say about that.
According to Nielsen ratings via Showbuzz Daily, the post-Summerslam version of Raw posted its highest ratings since the January 4 edition — which was Legends Night. The show posted 2.067 million viewers, which is up from the 1.857 million viewers the show generated just prior to the PPV.
The highly-coveted 18-49 demographic, Raw posted a 0.64 rating with 826,000 viewers, up from last week’s 0.55 rating. It was also the highest-rated show in that demographic since the post-WM 37 episode on April 12.
Both Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch made their surprising returns to the ring during Summerslam. Although both figure to be Smackdown superstars moving forward — with Lesnar feuding with Roman Reigns and Lynch feuding with Bianca Belair — the excitement certainly carried over the next night without either superstar appearing on Raw.
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While the actual episode was rather pedestrian — typical of a Monday Night Raw these days — the world’s dominant wrestling company carried over important momentum following one of the more eventful weekends in recent wrestling history.
Following Punk’s debut on the second episode of AEW Rampage, the show drew over one million viewers and a 0.53 rating in the 18-49 demographic. According to Variety, those were AEW’s best numbers since the debut episode of “Dynamite” back in October of 2019.
“Friday’s episode of ‘Rampage’ drew 1.129 million viewers, 692,000 of which were in the adults 18-49 demographic. That represents a 0.53 rating in the key demo, the largest rating for any AEW program since the premiere of ‘AEW: Dynamite’ in October 2019. It was also up 75% in the demo and 53% in total viewers compared to the debut episode of ‘Rampage.’”
Punk’s debut has also generated more than 6.6 million views on YouTube as of Tuesday night.
Not to be one-upped, WWE touted the record-breaking numbers for Summerslam.
* More people watched the 2021 Summerslam across Peacock and WWE Network than any other SummerSlam in the WWE’s history. The seven-figure global audience marked a 55 percent increase over 2020 and a 29 percent increase over 2019.
* The sell-out crowd of 51,326 broke SummerSlam records for indoor attendance and gate receipts.
* Merchandise saw an increase of 155 percent over 2019
* Brock Lesnar’s return became WWE’s most-watched Instagram video of all-time with more than four million views.
The main storyline during the latest edition of Raw was Matt Riddle matching up with A.J. Styles once again to continue the feud between RK-Bro and Styles/Omos for the tag team titles.
Meanwhile, WWE Champion Bobby Lashley has moved on to possible new opponents as they look to fill time before Saudi Arabia with the company’s next PPV Extreme Rules on September 26.
Lashley teamed up with Sheamus to face Damian Priest and Drew McIntyre to open Raw — the highest-rated part of the show was the first hour with 2.152 million viewers — before walking out on his partner in the middle of the match.
Lashley could match up with Sheamus, Priest and McIntyre in a possible four-way dance — or just match up against one of them. With one month to spare before the next PPV — and Goldberg clearly out of the picture before then — the possibilities are fresh.
It’s probably safe to assume that Raw numbers will probably dip back down to more of its normal range next week after the shine of Summerslam wears off.
Meanwhile, AEW is certainly generating tons of buzz as Punk debuts on “Dynamite” on Wednesday. That’s not even mentioning the rumored impending debuts of Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt.
The WWE is not in danger of going out of business anytime soon. Especially as they continue to make record profits globally and fans continue to flock to live events as the company returns to a full-time touring schedule for the first time in 16 months.
But it’s certainly clear that there’s a wave of momentum that AEW is riding right now. When combined with WWE’s own response following Punk’s debut, it’s becoming apparent that this is the best time to be a wrestling fan since the “Monday Night Wars” concluded 20 years ago.
Just don’t be surprised if WWE vs. AEW starts feeling more like a battleground as WWF vs. WCW once was.