The first night of the "Wednesday Night Wars" took place on Wednesday night as AEW Dynamite premiered on TNT at the same time as NXT's first two-hour live show on the USA Network. And now the ratings results for both shows are in via ShowBuzz Daily — AEW finished with 1.4 million viewers, beating NXT's 891,000 viewers. The new promotion also had the advantage in the 18-49 target demographic with a 0.68 rating compared to NXT's 0.32. WWE released a statement congratulating AEW on a successful first week hours before the ratings results dropped.
"Congratulations to AEW on a successful premiere," the statement read. "The real winners of last night's head-to-head telecasts of NXT on USA Network & AEW on TNT are the fans, who can expect Wednesday nights to be a competitive & wild ride as this is a marathon, not a one-night sprint."
Television ratings don't hold nearly the same value that the did back in the "Monday Night Wars" from 1995-2001, but it is a great sign for AEW that, when given the choice, more fans chose to watch its show live rather than a WWE product.
Dynamite's premiere was highlighted by a number of solid matches, including Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara and PAC's impressive win over "Hangman" Adam Page. The show closed out with a six-man tag match between Chris Jericho, Santana and Ortiz vs. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, though the latter team was at a sever disadvantage when Jon Moxly jumped Omega early in the match and drove him through a glass table in a VIP area. The heel trio won, and were joined by Guevara and a debuting Jake Hager (Jack Swagger from his WWE days) in beating down The Bucks, Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes.
Meanwhile, NXT featured three championship matches in which Adam Cole, Shayna Baszler and The Undisputed Era all retained their gold. The show also saw the surprise return of both Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa to the brand.
As for next week, NXT has announced a Cruiserweight Championship match between Drew Gulak and Lio Rush along with a grudge match between Walter and Kushida. Dynamite's episode will feature Moxley vs. Shawn Spears and the first match in the AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament between The Young Bucks and Private Party.
Days before Dynamite's premiere, Rhodes posted a heartfelt message on social media asking fans to give as much feedback as possible every week.0comments
"I would ask you this one favor as we move forward: speak to me," Rhodes wrote. "John Cena once told me that when the fans clap their hands or stomp their feet or give a visceral indicator that they want something, you need to DO something. Otherwise, they will stop making noise Please share your feedback with me I want all of it. Good, bad, ugly. What we did right, what we did wrong, and why. Let me help create and tailor a product for you."
"I know what's on the other side of the hill," he concluded. "A billion-dollar publicly traded behemoth with 70 years of experience and an expansive network of divisions and subsidiaries, which has ultimately become a monopoly in wrestling. Yeah, I'm a bit nervous. I'm a little scared, too. But I'm saddling up in DC anyway along with the best partners and wrestlers on the planet. I'm with AEW because AEW is for everybody, and I hope everybody tunes in and gives us a chance to shine for you. Thank you!"