All Elite Wrestling's AEW Rampage premiered on TNT this past Friday, giving the Jacksonville-based promotion its second weekly televised series. The episode kicked off with Christian Cage beating Kenny Omega for the Impact World Championship, followed by TNT Champion Miro and AEW Women's World Champion Britt Baker both successfully retaining their respective titles. According to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics and ShowBuzz Daily, the show drew a 0.31 rating while an average of 740,000 viewers tuned in.
For context that's just 11,000 shy of what NXT drew last week, though it does beat the Black and Gold Brand's viewership from May 11 through Aug. 3. It also finished with the third-highest rating on cable for the night, losing only to the NFL Preseason. AEW president Tony Khan gave the episode a rave review while speaking with Sports Illustrated afterward.
AEW Rampage on Friday was watched by 740,000 viewers on average. 396,000 were aged 18-49 (0.30 rating).
Smackdown on Fox was watched by 2,084,000. In 18-49, 746,000 (0.58 rating) watched.
More details soon at https://t.co/1SscdBCpr8— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) August 16, 2021
"This was one of the biggest nights in the history of the company, and it was a great show. We went in with a tremendous card of three championship matches and a plan to deliver the best one-hour wrestling TV show anyone's seen in a very long time," Khan said. "We needed to hit a home run, and we did. Everyone across the board, including production and staff, did a tremendous job. ... We highlighted our people, and that led to great moments. Tonight was all about showing fans the top stars of AEW, ones that are becoming mainstream names in wrestling and even outside of it, too. This is the perfect time to launch Rampage, and I wanted to go in as hot as possible."
He also teased the heavily-rumored arrival of CM Punk, who is expected to debut on this coming week's Rampage at the United Center in Chicago — "Next week's Rampage is 'The First Dance', and I think everyone knows what to expect — and everyone is very excited. We built a foundation here for what you're going to see next week. This was a huge premiere, and there is tons of anticipation for next week in Chicago."
In an interview with ComicBook back in May, AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes talked about how Rampage's presence will also benefit AEW Dynamite on Wednesday nights. He explained, "The format for Dynamite is always fun to look at, unique, and the challenge of every week covering so many stories, determining the most important stories, appeasing the stories that do well with the audience itself, because we're a data company at heart. Chris Harrington and Tony Khan are looking at what moves the needle, and that's what's going to be out there, and that's what's going to be prioritized.
"I think having Rampage will help considerably," he added. "That way we can share the wealth. However, Dynamite's a very hard show to get on. The best wrestlers in the world are on Dynamite. We have a very full locker room, and on the way to the ring, you walk by a lot of people who are on the bench that week. I think you'll see a lot of that bench get unloaded for Rampage, and that's very, very exciting. And the two shows will have their own identities surrounding the AEW championships that kind of tether us all together. But other than the logo for Rampage, the details are all still forthcoming, other than I think it will be really great for our locker room."
The premiere of #AEWRampage placed No. 3 overall on cable last Friday and earned the No. 1 spot for non-NFL programming.
Pretty remarkable for the 10 p.m. ET time slot.August 16, 2021