While it comes with a massive asterisk, All Elite Wrestling can proudly say that the Oct. 23 episode of AEW Dynamite beat WWE's Friday Night SmackDown in the ratings for the first time in the show's young history. The Oct. 25 episode fo SmackDown was bumped from FOX to Fox Sports 1 due to the MLB World Series, and as a result the show posted a 0.27 rating with 888,000 viewers. Not only is that the lowest-rated episode in the history of the Blue Brand, but it also fell short of Dynamite's 0.45 rating and 963,000 viewers from two night's before.
The SmackDown episode featured appearances from Hulk Hogan & Ric Flair, a six-man tag match main event featuring Roman Reigns, Ali, Shorty G, Shinsuke Nakamura, King Corbin and Cesaro and matches involving New Day, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Lacey Evans, Kalisto and Drew Gulak. Meanwhile Dynamite featured two semifinal matches in the AEW World Tag Team Tournament, Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela and Jon Moxley vs. PAC.
AEW executive vice president and star Cody Rhodes recently wrote about how AEW's ratings have been performing on Twitter while responding to accusations made by Vince Russo that the show would need an overhaul within three months.
"We are happy and our partner is happy," Rhodes wrote. "We overshot projections and set a record for a WM debut. This is the era of cord cutting, simulcast and dvr bumps. We are proud of how incredible the numbers have been and know we need to work hard now more than ever."
Prior to Dynamite's premiere on TNT, Rhodes posted a heartfelt message on social media where he asked fans to give as much feedback as possible, whether it be positive or negative.
"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."
So far AEW has three matches booked for the upcoming Full Gear pay-per-view on Nov. 9 — Rhodes vs. Chris Jericho for the latter's AEW World Championship, Omega vs. Moxley and The Young Bucks vs. Santana & Ortiz. WWE returns to pay-per-view this Thursday with the Crown Jewel event.