POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: The impact of DVR viewership

A big look at the DVR viewership of the top wrestling programs, SmackDown over the holidays, former WWE creative head writing book & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**Rewind-A-Raw is live tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET with Wai and I reviewing WWE Raw from Memphis, Tennessee. We will also take your feedback and preview the coming week at POST Wrestling. The show will be live for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Tuesday, we are doing the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show with a lot of questions that have piled up since October. You can submit your own on the POST Wrestling Forum and the show will be available Tuesday night for Café members.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman have the NXT War Games POST Show available with their thoughts on the first major show of the NXT 2.0 era.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting [11:15 p.m. ET]
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington [10:15 p.m. on Twitch]
Tuesday: ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show [Patreon]
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite [10:15 p.m.]
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Benno & Andy Ogden
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from MTL [11:15 p.m. for all Patrons]
Saturday: The NWA Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson
Saturday: ROH Final Battle POST Show with John Pollock & Mike Murray [Patreon]
Saturday: UFC 269 POST Show with Phil Chertok & Eric Marcotte
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo


**On Sunday’s edition of Wrestlenomics Radio, hosts Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo analyzed DVR data for the major wrestling television programs throughout the year. Thurston obtained DVR data for 2021 and saw the percentage increases when factoring in the Live+7 viewership increases for P2+, 18-49, and 18-34.

It confirms the belief that AEW is hampered through Rampage’s Friday night slot on TNT where its younger-skewing audience is relying on DVRs rather than live viewing of the program. Rampage is the most DVR’d program of the programs monitored (Raw, SmackDown, NXT, Dynamite, Rampage & IMPACT). In its short existence, Rampage has never dropped below 24 percent in Live+7 increases per month and gone as high as 32 percent in October in P2+.

In 18-49, it’s marginally higher than the overall audience with the key demo jumping anywhere from 25-34 percent each month.

Dynamite saw its DVR viewing drop in April, coinciding when NXT moved to Tuesdays and likely made Dynamite more of a priority for those used to watching NXT live on Wednesday. The DVR stats jumped in May and June as high as 36 percent in 18-49 when the show was moved to Saturdays for several weeks due to the NBA playoffs. The DVR increases fell as low as 16 percent in September when its television figures were increasing a big rate due to the arrival of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Adam Cole and the big shows they ran that month. That suggests the newsworthy signings and big shows led to many people watching live that usually watch later in the week.

In P2+ for WWE, SmackDown is the lowest DVR’d show out of all the programs dropping as low as a 10 percent bump for the month of November. It tells you Friday night is hardly as detrimental for a WWE viewer as an AEW one. Raw was consistent all year hovering between 13-15 percent in P2+ and 14-18 percent increases in 18-49.

In November, the lowest was NXT 2.0 with a 9 percent increase in P2+ viewing, which was even lower than SmackDown. NXT 2.0 also has a very low DVR rate among its 18-34 audience that dropped to 3 percent last month and has not surpassed 9 percent during the 2.0 era.

DVR data is informative regarding the actual reach of a program beyond the Live/same-day metrics that are reported on Showbuzz Daily and that Thurston covers. It would be worth exploring how DVR viewership is being received by the ad community and if television networks are seeing an increased value with the fractured nature of TV. For the longest time, DVR viewership has been much less significant because it’s unlikely the viewer is sitting through commercials when watching that way and don’t have the engagement of a live viewer. This brought out the notion of more embedded advertising within programs where viewers would be subjected to ads that way and WWE has certainly made a major play in that direction, most recently with ‘Red Notice’.

For AEW, the question would be how to convert a DVR viewer to a live one and how important that conversion is in the modern landscape? In September, it showed that it could be done and correlated with the biggest month in the history of the promotion. Of course, getting someone to watch your live program on Wednesday night is one thing, staying home on a Friday night is another. The bright spot is that Rampage is reaching a lot more people than the live/same-day figures reflect and it’s enough of a priority for its fans to watch at their convenience. You can argue throwing more big matches or “events” on a Friday night, but what’s the point if the habits are engrained and then, you’re just hurting Dynamite by taking something of significance, placing it on the weaker night and you’re no further ahead on Rampage.

For a comprehensive breakdown of all the DVR stats for the major wrestling programs, Brandon Thurston has the data points on the Wrestlenomics Patreon.

**WWE Raw takes place from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee with several matches promoted in advance. Edge is back to continue the program with The Miz. Raw will be going against the New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills tonight. Below are the advertised matches and segments for tonight:
*Steel Cage, Non-title: Big E. vs. Kevin Owens
*Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (champion) vs. Liv Morgan
*Edge appears on Miz TV

**Over the weekend, Dave Meltzer reported on the Friday Night SmackDown schedule over the holidays, which POST Wrestling has also confirmed. WWE will be taping two editions of SmackDown on December 17th at the Allstate Arena in Chicago with the live episode that night as well as the episode for Christmas Eve. On New Year’s Eve, the show will be a taped ‘Best of’ show. They return on January 1st with the Day 1 event from State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Meltzer added that the 12/31 episode of SmackDown would air on FS1 instead of Fox.

**AEW appears to be taping new episodes of Rampage for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve on 12/24 and 12/31. They have Dynamite/Rampage tapings on December 22nd at the Greensboro Coliseum as well as December 29th at Daily’s Place with both episodes that final week of the year being billed as ‘New Year’s Smash’.

**What could be one of the most interesting wrestling books in a long time is set for a 2022 release. Mike Johnson reports that Brian Gewirtz is writing a book through Twelve Books (a subdivision of Hachette Book Group) on his WWE career that spanned over a decade beginning in 1999 and including his rise to head writer. Gewirtz has the rare experience of someone that came into the company prior to the advent of the large-scale writing staff, saw firsthand the movement towards a more scripted-promo base formula while also working closer than anyone with Dwayne Johnson, including present-day with Gewirtz’s role at Seven Bucks Entertainment. Gewirtz notoriously received a bad rap during his WWE tenure as someone that wasn’t a major fan and lent his style of writing toward more of the comedic tone that took the edge off a lot of characters and became a template for future top stars to follow, which may or may not have been fair to lay at the feet of Gewirtz.

He has not done many public interviews, although was interviewed for the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ series and came off very well and I suspect his book will open people’s perception of Gewirtz, who obviously understood the culture of the WWE creative process and working under Vince McMahon to last so long while butting heads with some along the way. On a funny trivia note, when Ariel Helwani was attending the journalism program at Syracuse University, Gewirtz spoke at the school during a time that no creative members did. Helwani knew who Gewirtz was from how closely he followed the industry, so he attended a pretty exclusive event that likely no one was aware of.

**In Canada, NXT War Games aired on both Sportsnet 360 and the WWE Network on Sunday night. On 360, War Games averaged 22,000 viewers.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s edition of AEW Dark: Elevation streaming at 7 p.m. ET on YouTube:
*Riho vs. Angelina Risk
*Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs. The Tate Twins
*QT Marshall, Anthony Ogogo, Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solo vs. Baron Black, Tory Vincita, Jo Munoz & Shawn Hoodrich – Ogogo’s first match back since June
*Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Serpentico
*Emi Sakura & The Bunny vs. Abadon & Ryo Mizunami
*The Acclaimed vs. Shawn Dean & Carlie Bravo
*Dustin Rhodes, Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson vs. JD Drake, Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon

**Ring of Honor has released a match between Jonathan Gresham and Dragon Lee days before Final Battle this Saturday.

**GRAPPL has hit 1 million ratings on its app and shared several stats throughout the history of the app, that monitors and organize users’ match ratings.
*The most-rated match is Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchida Okada from Dominion in June 2018
*The highest-rated is the same match with a 4.89 average (out of five)
*Kazuchika Okada has the most 4.5+ matches with 27
*The most ratings among a promotion is WWE with over 360,000
*The highest-rated tag match is Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue from June 9, 1995, with a 4.85 average

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has added a junior heavyweight championship match to its 1/1 show at Nippon Budokan. Champion HAYATA will defend the championship against Yoshinari Ogawa, which airs on Wrestle Universe that day. The card is headlined by Katsuhiko Nakajima defending the GHC heavyweight title against Go Shiozaki.

**Kevin Eck interviews Cary Silkin on the ROH Strong podcast to reflect on past Final Battle events and going into Saturday’s ‘End of an Era’ show.

**Big Time Wrestling has announced a tag match with FTR taking on the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express in Spartanburg, South Carolina on Saturday, January 22nd at the Memorial Auditorium.

**Adam Cole appears on Rasslin’ with Brandon Walker on Barstool Sports.

**Being the Elite Ep. 284: “BTE Is Back!”

**Greektown Wrestling is back with a show in Toronto on Thursday, December 23rd on the campus of Ryerson University at Kerr Hall West. The card is headlined by Eric Young vs. Channing Decker.

**This clip surfaced a few weeks of a young Cora Jade attending a UFC Q&A with CM Punk in 2015:


**Bellator revealed its plans for a Bantamweight World Grand Prix to begin in the first quarter of 2022 and will air on Showtime. The promotion announced that the year-long tournament will feature current 135-pound champion Sergio Pettis, recent challenger Kyoji Horiguchi, former champion Juan Archuleta, Raufeon Stots, Patchy Mix, Magomed Magomedov, Leandro Higo, and James Gallagher. The eight fighters will compete in five-round fights throughout the Grand Prix and the winner will be the recipient of $1 million and hold the bantamweight title which is defended throughout the Grand Prix.

**Jake Paul was a guest on Pat McAfee’s program to discuss the opponent switch for December 18th. Paul said he only learned about Tommy Fury being off the card over the past 24 hours with Tyron Woodley replacing him to fight on December 18th in Tampa, Florida. Fury issued a statement and stated he has a broken rib and a bacterial chest infection. Paul was skeptical about Fury’s reasoning for withdrawing from the card.

**Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports is reporting that former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (19-8-1) will come out of retirement next month for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC event in Miami, Florida. Iole states it will be a light heavyweight fight but there is no opponent yet. Evans is 42 years old and retired in 2018 and inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame the following year. After missing two years of action, Evans fought in October 2015 and proceeded to lose fight consecutive fights including moving down to middleweight for two fights. His last fight was a knockout loss to future title contender Anthony Smith in June 2018.


The finals of the Real-World Tag League in 1991 with Terry Gordy & Dr. Death Steve Williams defeating Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada to win the tournament and also the vacant tag titles:

A match that received five stars on this date in 1993 from the All Japan Women with Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki defending the 3WA tag titles against Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada:

Trish Stratus and Lita headline the December 6, 2004, episode of Raw from Charlotte, North Carolina with Lita winning the women’s championship. The show that week did a 3.86 rating and 4,380,000 viewers, although the Observer noted that week that the main event did lose 16,000 viewers from the previous quarter with the women’s match doing a 3.8 rating:

Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue win the Real-World Tag League in 1996 defeating Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama with the match receiving five stars. This capped off an incredible year for Taue, who won the Champion Carnival and Triple Crown the same year:

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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.