The whole argument for being happy with 500,000 or 700,000 viewers, to me, is defeatist and kind of an admission that wrestling isn’t very good anymore.
No it's being a realist. Only someone completely out of touch with the world is expecting a brand new wrestling promotion to consistently do over a million views. Thing is wrestling isn't popular and hasn't been for a long time. WWE can get the numbers they get because of about 35 years of major spotlight. TNA numbers from the days of WWE getting closer to if not over 3s isn't a great measuring stick for what wrestling fans are left out there.
What do you see things labeled as when they debut? “New!” “Hot!” “Revolutionary!” That marketing works. There’s no reason age works against them. If anything, it should help them. I don’t get where this idea that you need time to get things cooking comes from. Six weeks is the number you hear from guys like Raven and Kevin Sullivan. Six weeks and you can get anything over. Hey, just in time for Christmas to buy your kids the AEW action figures, stickerbook and for you to get an AEW PPV pass.
A lot of people think of wrestling as “wrestling” too. It’s its own thing. That history of wrestling helps them without it having the stigma, hopefully, of a WWE or TNA. “The wrestling’s on!” “Hmm, I dunno, man. It’s not WWE with its 35 years of history and 7 hours of weekly content.” That’s not a conversation people are having.
Wrestling *isn’t* popular. That’s exactly the point. It’s still one of the most watched things on cable, even when it is ice-cold. Imagine what it could do if it were hot. Imagine what it could do if you promoted it seriously (the actual packages they are putting together achieve this). “Hey, I remember wrestling. That used to be cool. Let’s give this a try.” “Hey! This isn’t as stupid as WWE! This is kind of cool!” That is a conversation people *could* have.
Wrestling made itself unpopular. It’s still got way more presence than it arguably should, and that highlights a market for something that doesn’t insult the viewer. But instead we have guys who fight with their hands in their pockets, who talk about rigging chairs in their feud, shoot Hadouken and bickering librarians. “Oh, this is like WWE but...stupider.” Tune out.
The AEW guys, except for Chris Jericho, Dustin Rhodes and *maybe* Moxley are potentially about to be recognised by more people than have ever seen them before. That includes Omega and The Bucks. “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is a cliche for a reason.
Arguing about numbers right now is so useless. We don't know what current, old, and new fans are watching AEW. TNT is going to get them huge exposure and new eyes, non-wrestling eyes at that. It'll give so many more people the opportunity to flip the channel and see a different presentation, different set from WWE. We can't possibly predict growth or decline over time because we have ABSOLUTELY ZERO idea of how the live television product is going to look like.
Well, that’s not true. We’ve seen their shows. We know their technical team. We also know their philosophy. And we can look at the data we do have. 46% of All Out customers also watched Double or Nothing. That means 54% of people didn’t. That’s...spooky. I’m sorry, it is just a bad sign for your second show.
A 20% drop in buys is not the sky falling on its own. But 42% of that smaller buyrate, let’s be generous and say 63k, is 29k. 29,000 repeat customers is *not* a good sign.
It is irresponsible to not act on this data when you have it. If you have a concert and you sell 81k tickets, 10k of them VIP and your VIP section says “Yeah, yeah — it was awesome, we had a great time!” That’s good! When out of the 71k over 60%
say, for whatever reason, “I won’t be back.” That is NOT good. That’s closer to 2/3 than 1/2. And we know this number.
We don’t know what they will do on TV. We can guess and explain our reasoning. And we don’t know how that will affect Full Gear. But that will tell a story. But what we do know is that a lot of people aren’t watching wrestling when they used to be. And there’s a reason they’re not. We also know that this is a pretty hardcore audience, and they can’t justify it. These are things we know
For the record, my guess for TV, given the promotion and stuff, is 1.2 for the hardcore audience getting the PPVs. I think they will be able to grab the floating fan that is aware that wrestling is on, when, and tunes in when there’s something big. 2 million. I’m tempted to push it up even more for people who don’t care about WWE but want to give wrestling a try. But I’m thinking 3.2 million for that first show. With all its promotion. Counting DVR. I think they will keep 40% of this with their current presentation, settling in to 1.28, which, hey — is eerily close to the 1.26 of hardcore fans that ordered All Out.
That might be generous. But if I’m right, I’m right and you can all bow down later. 1.28 on TV and 64k on PPV as their sweet spot. And that will be their “at least they’re not quite TNA” spot. Conversely, my prediction for NXT is 1.6.
If I’m right, can you please stop saying I’m out of touch with reality, don’t know shit, can’t predict the future, etc. If they smash it out of the park, I’ll call that what it is. If they swing right under, I’ll call that too. I can admit when I’m wrong.
AEW: 3.2 first week, down to a 1.28 on the reg