WWE’s Decline In Popularity Has Halted, AEW Continues To See Growth

WWE has seen its popularity decline for several years since the Attitude Era, but they’ve been able to stop the huge drop that they had been experiencing in recent years. WWE consistently dropped in popularity (TV ratings and attendance) from 2017 to 2021. However, that has largely halted.

Since launching in 2019, All Elite Wrestling has grown rapidly as they were able to secure a television deal with WarnerMedia just months after launching and have been able to draw over 100,000 PPV buys with every event they’ve presented thus far.

Dave Meltzer went into detail about how WWE is getting more interest than usual of late during today’s Wrestling Observer Radio.

“WWE being up was interesting to me. Almost across the board, whatever they are doing… another interesting thing about that is they’re up (and) one of their biggest drawing cards Roman Reigns is not even on these shows other than Nashville (SummerSlam), which is doing pretty well.

Whatever it is, there’s definitely an upswing in interest in the product, for whatever reason. So that was kind of an interesting thing to see. The ratings of WWE have been up… WWE is on an upswing right now, so they’re doing something right, whatever it is.”

Meltzer noted that although AEW’s TV ratings have been down over the last few months, he cited the mega-list of injuries they’re dealing with as several stars are out of action, including CM Punk and Bryan Danielson.

Brandon Thurston of WrestleNomics has posted an article looking at the key performance indicators for WWE and AEW and how they compare.

This report notes WWE still leads in nearly every category in terms of numbers (TV tapings and attendance). It was said, “AEW’s lower profile consistently grew in previous comparisons, and still is growing.”

For WWE, they have yet to reach popularity to the heights of the years following the launch of the WWE Network in 2014, but it was stated the Peacock deal for its Network rights had come at the same time they were seeing stabilization and improvement in multiple areas.

TV Ratings

  • Raw’s ranking among other programs on Monday remains strong and improved in the second quarter of 2022. SmackDown continues to remain among the most-watched shows on Fridays.
  • Dynamite’s key demo ranking is up strongly year-over-year, although the show is having its first negative year-over-year comparisons just slightly after several consecutive quarters of growth.


  • WWE averaged higher attendances for TV events than AEW through all four quarters since returning to touring in July 2021.
  • WWE also has the edge with premium live events/pay-per-views compared to AEW because they run stadium events.

Other metrics such as YouTube views and social media engagement can be found in the complete report here.

H/T to WrestleTalk for the transcription

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