POLLOCK’S UPDATE: WWE viewership stats for December

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**Our schedule over the next few days is altered due to SmackDown being a “Best of” show tonight. Wai Ting and I are back Saturday night with a show immediately following AEW Worlds End on the POST YouTube channel. Then, we are back to our regular schedule on Monday with Rewind-A-Raw after the Day 1 special from San Diego. Next week, we will have multiple shows on the POST Wrestling Café including a review of Wrestle Kingdom 18, the return of Rewind-A-SmackDown & Collision Course, MCU L8R with WH Park & Rich Fann, and a live stream of the “Best and Worst of 2023 Show” on Sunday, January 7.

**I wanted to thank everyone for listening or reading the Von Erich story that we released this week. Living with Grief: The Story of the Von Erichs & WCCW is available on the POST Wrestling feed, YouTube, and a written version is on the site.

**Rewind-A-Wai #146 covers WWE Backlash 2007 and was selected by Espresso Executive Producer Martin Minke covering John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship and a Last Man Standing Match between The Undertaker and Batista. On the show, we discuss the state of WWE coming off a successful WrestleMania, John Cena surpassing Randy Orton as the company’s top star for the future, the dark summer ahead involving Chris Benoit, how Mr. Kennedy’s trajectory was altered in the weeks to come, the fledgling ECW after Paul Heyman left, and the plans for elevating Bobby Lashley.


Data courtesy: Patreon.com/Wrestlenomics


Overall Viewership
December: 1,520,000*
November: 1,583,000
October: 1,484,000
December 2022: 1,571,000*

Adults 18-49
December: 626,000*
November: 674,000
October: 591,000
December 2022: 529,000*

Adults 18-34
December: 257,000*
November: 264,000
October: 232,000
December 2022: 186,000

*Excluding one “Best of” show

In December 2023, USA Network is in 71,059,000 homes (a decrease of 4.4% from one year ago) with Raw’s viewership down 3.2%, the 18-49 audience is up by 6% and 18-34 has increased by an astounding 34% year over year. This was a slight tapering off from November, but that month was aided by one big episode after Survivor Series featuring CM Punk and Randy Orton’s returns and a commercial-free hour. This is the most important show regarding performance as Raw is the lone property without its domestic rights deal settled. The 18-34 growth is evident across the board but strongest on Raw, which should only benefit in the ensuing months with the end of the NFL season (although, their toughest night of the year is coming up on January 15 against a Wild Card playoff game) and the promotional buildup for the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. It will be interesting to see how CM Punk and Cody Rhodes are utilized – if you assume each is challenging for one of the titles at ‘Mania, it would be natural that Rhodes would be figured into SmackDown rather than Raw. Dwayne Johnson is keeping the tease alive and could be a wild card in the ‘Mania lead-up.

WWE SmackDown

Overall Viewership
December: 2,194,000
November: 2,173,000**
October: 2,330,000**
December 2022: 2,376,000**

Adults 18-49
December: 764,000
November: 756,000**
October: 812,000**
December 2022: 745,000**

Adults 18-34
December: 285,000
November: 271,000**
October: 274,000**
December 2022: 256,000

**Excluding one episode that aired on FS1

Viewership dropped by 7.7% from last December but 18-49 grew by 2.5% and 18-34 increased by 11.3%. The October numbers were strengthened by John Cena, who was a key difference maker in his two months return throughout September and October, as well as the season premiere episode on October 13. The big episode in December was the Tribute to the Troops show featuring CM Punk which hit its largest 18-49 audience since September 15 for the episode with Dwayne Johnson’s appearance. One year ago, SmackDown was the “A” show but with CM Punk and Cody Rhodes anchoring Raw, and limited appearances by Roman Reigns, the perception is emphasis is more focused on Raw even though SmackDown reaches more viewers. The next nine months will be interesting because unlike USA, which is losing NXT but staying in business with WWE, Fox is no longer in the WWE business after September 30, 2024. How much promotion and cross-programming integration will Fox provide for a lame-duck program? As well, will Fox move SmackDown more frequently to FS 1 on Fridays where they have something else to showcase on the network? From WWE’s side, it’s still the show built around the top star in the company and Randy Orton’s return adds a major babyface star to the mix. In theory, if Cody Rhodes is facing Reigns at WrestleMania, he should be all over this show throughout the first quarter.  


Overall Viewership
December: 654,000
November: 695,000
October: 841,000
December 2022: 623,000

Adults 18-49
December: 241,000
November: 276,000
October: 316,000 (289,000 without Super Tuesday)
December 2022: 185,000

Adults 18-34
December: 102,000
November: 113,000
October: 123,000
December 2022: 83,000

NXT continues to look strong on paper when comparing yearly stats, but after several months it’s clear that there is a downward trend after peaking with the inclusion of Becky Lynch for her residency on the program. From last December, viewership is up by 5%, 18-49 increased by 30.3%, and 18-34 improved by 23%. October included the mammoth “Super Tuesday” episode with John Cena, Cody Rhodes, and The Undertaker but even comparing the numbers with November, there is a decrease. The show is now focused on Ilja Dragunov, Carmelo Hayes, Trick Williams, and Lyra Valkyria with Hayes and Williams representing the most compelling long-term story with the week-to-week saga. This is also the show that will inevitably have the most turbulence as talent makes its way to the main roster. It’s a growing list that would qualify as “ready” including Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, and Roxanne Perez and there are people in NXT super high on Trick Williams, who I would spend at least six months positioning as the top babyface on NXT before he moves up.


**Stardom held its Dream Queendom event earlier today and drew 3,063 to Sumo Hall with Maika and Suzu Suzuki headlining the show to determine the new World of Stardom champion after Tam Nakano was forced to vacate the belt. The attendance was down 21% from last year’s show where Giulia unseated Syuri for the World of Stardom title. Stardom’s momentum has been affected by several factors over the past months including several key injuries as a result of the 5 Star Grand Prix and the taxing schedule they’ve maintained. Karen Peterson will have a lengthy report with her analysis and rundown of the event coming to POST Wrestling.

**Jim Breaks, a major star in British wrestling history but whose legacy is marred by murdering his girlfriend several years ago, has died at the age of 83. He died last Saturday and had been suffering from dementia. In 2020, he was ruled “unfit” to stand trial over the murder of his former girlfriend Donna Cowley, who died in 2017 with Breaks accused of smashing a cup over her head and leaving the scene. Cowley called for help and made it to the hospital but ultimately, died from the injuries. Breaks debuted at the age of 18 with an amateur wrestling background and became a fixture on ITV during its heyday throughout his 33-year career. He became famous for his “Cry Baby” persona and throwing tantrums in the ring while becoming a multi-time British & European lightweight and welterweight champion among his 33 title reigns. His retirement match occurred in All-Star Promotions, losing to Johnny Saint. (Have a Good Week…Till Next Week by John Lister & Daily Mail)

**Stephen New continues his media rounds, appearing on Rumor & Innuendo with Nick Hausman and Robert Karpeles. New represented both CM Punk and Ace Steel following the incident at All Out 2022. Regarding Tony Khan’s public comment that his life was in danger regarding CM Punk during an incident at All In this past August, New told the show that, “He’s welcome to comment on however he felt about whatever.”  Earlier this week, New and Chris Jericho had a back-and-forth on X with Jericho stating he saw everything at All Out in 2022 and did not sign an NDA.

**The WWE’s holiday tour continues with shows in Toronto and Las Vegas tonight. Toronto is advertising Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Drew McIntyre and a steel cage match between Cody Rhodes and Damian Priest. Las Vegas features LA Knight vs. Jimmy Uso in a steel cage match and Kevin Owens vs. Solo Sikoa in a Last Man Standing match. Saturday night, they are running at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California with CM Punk vs. Dominik Mysterio. The latest update from WrestleTix lists the Kia Forum show at 12,900 tickets distributed.

**Friday Night SmackDown is billed as “The Absolute Best of 2023” and promotes highlights from major matches and special interviews airing at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

**AEW Rampage airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET with the following matches taped in Orlando this week and airing on TNT:
*ROH Pure Championship: Wheeler Yuta © vs. Matt Sydal
*Ruby Soho vs. Marina Shafir
*Orange Cassidy, Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta vs. Action Andretti & Top Flight
*Chris Jericho to speak

**The Countdown to AEW Worlds End special airs on TNT tonight at 11 p.m. ET immediately after Rampage.

**Tony Khan held his regular call with members of the media on Thursday to promote Worlds End. Brandon Thurston noted the decline in Dynamite’s viewership from the fourth quarter of 2022 to this past quarter. Khan responded by focusing on its P2+ viewership being down 10% and compared it with Raw being down 8% (covering October through December) and that both products are down similar numbers but expect both to get big rights deals next year. The drop in 18-49 is more pronounced for Dynamite with a 10% drop in Q4 2023 from the same quarter last year and a 15% drop overall. In the key demo, Raw is up 9% in Q4 2023 and increased 11% overall, per Wrestlenomics.

Overall, Khan was very satisfied with Collision’s performance and the Continental Classic and very little time was spent addressing “The Devil” storyline, which has been the most promoted story leading into Worlds End. Khan noted Riho has been a boost to television numbers, which is noteworthy as she often reappears as a quick “challenger of the month” without a regular presence on the show with Khan also putting over Toni Storm’s work as the film noir character. While the delay in delivering the Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee has been a running joke for months, Khan thought it was done perfectly and wouldn’t change a thing. He said it was always a bullet he had stored in the chamber and could use it when needed. He said Swerve’s rise has been organic and an indicator of listening to the audience. Khan wouldn’t share any concrete details on replacements for the outgoing Kevin Sullivan, Dana Massie, QT Marshall, and Rafael Morffi but said he has some big plans to announce. Anyone put into those positions is going to be more significant behind the scenes rather than names that fans will be excited by, but they are all key roles that need to be filled either from outside or within.

**The latest card for the AEW Worlds End pay-per-view from Long Island has the following:
*AEW Championship: MJF © vs. Samoa Joe
*Continental Classic – Final: Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston
*AEW Women’s Championship: Toni Storm © vs. Riho
*No DQ Match for the TNT Championship: Christian Cage © vs. Adam Copeland
*TBS Championship: Julia Hart © vs. Abadon
*Ricky Starks, Big Bill, Konosuke Takeshita & Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Sting, Darby Allin, Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara
*Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee
*Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, Daniel Garcia & Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal, Jay White, Rush & Brody King
*Andrade El Idolo vs. Miro
*FTW Championship: Hook © vs. Wheeler Yuta (pre-show)
*20-Man Battle Royal for TNT title shot (pre-show)

**Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite averaged 144,000 viewers and 78,000 in the 25-54 demographic on TSN 2 in Canada. It would be Dynamite’s largest audience in Canada since March 29, so both Dynamite & NXT posted very strong numbers for the Canadian market on consecutive nights this week.

**IMPACT Wrestling has posted the full match between Will Ospreay and Speedball Mike Bailey from Bound for Glory. The match was voted the promotion’s Match of the Year with some believing it might be the best match in company history.

**Denise Salcedo has an interview with Claudio Castagnoli before Worlds End.

**Demand Lucha in Toronto has announced dates for 2024. The company starts its year on January 13 in Niagara Falls and will be running its regular venue Parkdale Hall on January 18 (with Mustafa Ali), March 21, May 23, July 18, October 17, and December 19. They are also doing a September card and teasing an inter-promotional theme at a venue to be announced later.

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About John Pollock 5574 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.