AEW’s Numbers Are Declining on TNT

Why are AEW's viewership numbers declining? ...

NXT picked up a decisive victory against AEW on Wednesday, registering 795,000 viewers on USA Network while AEW finished the night with 683,000 viewers on TNT.

The AEW number is down about 112,000 viewers from last week, which has to be a huge concern for Tony Khan and his crew, which debuted in October with more than 1 million viewers on TNT.

The decline for AEW comes at the same time the company is becoming more relaxed on what many believed to be their core beliefs. Rules and a sports-like presentation were big selling points for AEW before it debuted, and while the company does keep “records” of wins and losses, they’re also over-booking “hardcore” matches and some well-established wrestling rules — like tag teams tagging their partners — are sometimes ignored.

The outlandish storylines are partly to blame, but I think AEW’s reliance on being more “cutting edge” and extreme has fans wondering if they have a vision for the future. What’s so sports-like about a wrestler hitting another wrestler with a garbage can?

Ad – content continues below

Take last night’s main event as a perfect example. SCU and The Young Bucks wrestled a very athletic and fast-paced match for about 11 minutes. SCU retained the AEW Tag Team Championship in the match but after the pinfall, the Dark Order hit the ring. This cult-like group beat up the Young Bucks and all of their friends before giving Dark Order masks to two enhancement talents — Alex Reynolds and John Silver — and initiating them into the group.

That was AEW’s big hook to keep the audience engaged as the show heads into a one-week hiatus next week due to TNT running **_A Christmas Story_** nonstop for 24 hours.

Newsflash: it wasn’t good enough.

The Dark Order have been fringe characters at best since the television show debuted. They had gone weeks without appearing on TV and they’ve lost as many matches as they’ve won. The “creepers,” which follow Dark Order around, are wearing cheap-looking masks and black bodysuits.

It’s not a main-event angle. It’s not a main-event program, and AEW crowbarring them into that spot cheapens the rest of the show.

With angles like this, it should be no surprise that AEW’s viewership is dwindling. Unless they get back to focusing on what made them popular over the summer — i.e. good wrestling matches — this decline will continue.

Ad – content continues below