Almost 1.2 million fans tuned into the first hour of NXT on the USA Network this week, but how does that number compare to Raw and SmackDown?
NXT's first live show has now been and gone and if you ask us, it was a huge success. We thoroughly enjoyed the show despite the fact we were forced to watch the second hour of it on the WWE Network. The only downside was that WWE didn't seem to anticipate exactly how many people would be firing up the Network for that second hour. Many fans were left watching that dreaded buffer wheel for the first part of that second hour.
So how many people were watching on USA? Well, the numbers are in, and we think Triple H will be happy with them. According to Showbuzz Daily, 1.179 million fans tuned into the show. That made NXT the fourth most-watched show on cable on Wednesday night. American Horror Story, Basketball Wives, and Black Ink Crew occupied the top three spots.
Two weeks from now we'll be comparing NXT's numbers with AEW's. FYI, TNT showed The Legend of Tarzan opposite NXT this week which drew a little more than half the viewership of the black and gold brand. While we wait for AEW Dynamite to arrive, we'll compare NXT to Raw and SmackDown. As expected, there's a fair bit of daylight between the shows.
To give you a little perspective, last week's episodes of Raw and SmackDown drew in 2.1 million and 2.0 million viewers respectively. So far in 2019, SmackDown hasn't dropped below the 1.8 million mark while Raw is yet to dip below two million viewers. Although much higher numbers than NXT, considering the circumstances, we think just shy of 1.2 million is a terrific starting point.
There are now arguments to be made for which direction NXT's rating heads. It could be argued that as more casual fans become aware of its presence on USA, and once both hours are on cable, its numbers will grow. However, some will argue that a chunk of the fans watching for these first two weeks will be stolen by AEW once Dynamite begins on October 2, 2019. Stay tuned folks, wrestling show ratings are about to mean more than they have done for almost 20 years.